Seven new PAP MPs to take up political appointments

(Clockwise from top left) Dr Tan See Leng, Ms Gan Siow Huang, Mr Alvin Tan, Mr Desmond Tan, Mr Tan Kiat How, Mr Eric Chua and Mr Mohd Fahmi Aliman will take up appointments in the new Cabinet. PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM, ST FILE, PEOPLE'S ACTION PARTY

Seven PAP fresh faces who were elected to Parliament in the general election earlier this month will take up new political appointments, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced yesterday as he revealed his new Cabinet line-up.

The seven are Dr Tan See Leng (Marine Parade GRC), Ms Gan Siow Huang (Marymount), Mr Alvin Tan (Tanjong Pagar GRC), Mr Desmond Tan (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC), Mr Tan Kiat How (East Coast GRC), Mr Eric Chua (Tanjong Pagar GRC), and Mr Mohd Fahmi Aliman (Marine Parade GRC).

Dr Tan, 55, will take on three portfolios: Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Second Minister for Manpower, and Second Minister for Trade and Industry.

The former medical doctor who was chief executive of the Malaysian-Singaporean private healthcare group IHH Healthcare said he saw his appointment to the Cabinet as an "affirmation for the importance of the private sector".

He added that Singapore is facing a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that will require the support and partnership of everyone in the country.

He also said that he hopes to be a bridge between the Government and the private sector.

Ms Gan, 45, a former brigadier-general, will be appointed Minister of State for Education and Manpower. She said she felt honoured and privileged to join the Cabinet and hoped to improve the lives of Singaporeans.

Said Ms Gan: "I've had a lot of experience working with people from all walks of life in the SAF and also more recently as part of the labour movement.

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"I've seen how livelihoods could be affected, and government policies and schemes and implementation can make a real difference."

Mr Desmond Tan, 50, will be Minister of State for Home Affairs, and Sustainability and Environment, which was previously called the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

Mr Chua, 41, will be appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), and the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

Mr Tan Kiat How, 43, will be Minister of State for the PMO and National Development.

He will also be the new chairman of government feedback unit Reach, taking over from Mr Sam Tan, who has retired from politics.

Mr Fahmi, 47, will become Mayor of South East District, taking over from Dr Maliki Osman, who is promoted to full minister.

These appointments will take effect tomorrow.

Mr Alvin Tan, 40, will take on the role of Minister of State for MCCY and Trade and Industry from Sept 1.

PM Lee said the appointment of the new MPs to Cabinet positions and promoting junior office-holders and backbenchers who have performed well are all part of efforts to ensure leadership renewal.

He added that they will reinforce his team and offer new ideas and perspectives.

Asked what qualities he looked for in the new MPs that made them suitable as political office-holders, he cited commitment, leadership, ability and experience.

Said PM Lee: "I have looked very hard to find people who have experience with grassroots operations, with community outreach, with some policy work, and also with private sector experience."

He added that he has often spoken about bringing in more people from the private sector but has not found it easy to do so.

He said: "We're looking for that combination and we are hoping that they come into this responsibility, they will grow in their job and develop and become good ministers of state and ministers in due course."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 26, 2020, with the headline Seven new PAP MPs to take up political appointments. Subscribe