Senior civil servant Chee Hong Tat, 41, resigns from the civil service

Second Permanent Secretary for Trade & Industry Chee Hong Tat has resigned from the civil service. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Second Permanent Secretary for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat, 41, has resigned from the civil service, a sign that he is likely to enter politics in the upcoming election.

Mr Chee submitted his resignation and his last day of service is Aug 11, the Public Service Division (PSD) of the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement on Tuesday.

Public servants must resign before they can enter politics, and are therefore traditionally last to be unveiled as election candidates by political parties.

Mr Chee has recently been attending community events with Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Hri Kumar Nair, who is expected to retire from politics at the upcoming polls.

The senior civil servant accompanied Mr Nair at a durian-themed party last Saturday,where he shook hands with Thomson-Toa Payoh residents.

Mr Chee also attended the Thomson-Toa Payoh National Day dinner on the same weekend.

Mr Chee joined the Administrative Service in 1998.

He held various appointments in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Education, before being appointed as Principal Private Secretary to then-Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in 2008.

He was chief executive of the Energy Market Authority from 2011 to April 2014.

Said PSD: "Under his leadership, consumers benefitted from EMA's initiatives to improve Singapore's energy security and enhance market competition, while maintaining a reliable and resilient power system. He worked closely with the industry and unions to strengthen the energy sector's capabilities through long-term infrastructure planning, energy R&D and manpower development. Mr Chee also spearheaded the review of EMA's rules and requirements to support the deployment of solar energy in Singapore, and to reduce regulatory costs and improve flexibility for businesses and consumers."

He was appointed as the Second Permanent Secretary for Trade and Industry in 2014.

While in MTI, his areas of responsibilities include international trade policies, tourism, industrial land, competition policy, entrepreneurship and enterprise development.

"He was active in promoting a business-friendly environment and helping SMEs to raise their competitiveness through innovation, market access and capability development. He led the review of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act and proposed enhanced measures to protect consumers against errant retailers. As Deputy Chairman of the Pro-Enterprise Panel, Mr Chee regularly engaged trade associations and companies to get their feedback on improving government rules and regulations," said PSD.

Mr Chee was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 2010 for his significant contributions to the public sector.

Correction: An earlier version of the story said that Mr Chee was chief executive of the Energy Market Authority from 2011 to April 2015. It should be April 2014. We are sorry for the error.

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