Cabinet reshuffle sees Masagos promoted to full minister, four others given new roles

SINGAPORE - A reshuffling of roles within the Cabinet has resulted in a new labour chief, a new minister and three other ministers being given new appointments, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong renews his leadership bench ahead of the next general election.

Mr Masagos Zulkifli, 51, will be promoted to a full minister from Thursday, making it the first time the Cabinet will have two full ministers from the Malay/Muslim community.

He will become Minister in the Prime Minister's Office as well as Second Minister for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Mr Chan Chun Sing, 45, will step down as Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Defence from Thursday.

Succeeding him as Minister for Social and Family Development is Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, 46, who will also remain Manpower Minister until May 4.

Mr Chan will become secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) with effect from May 4.

Mr Chan, who joined the labour movement in January and is now NTUC deputy secretary-general, will take over the top labour role from Mr Lim Swee Say, 60, who said in a surprise announcement on Wednesday that he will resign from NTUC on May 4.

Mr Lim will take over from Mr Tan as Minister for Manpower on the same day.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, 53, will assume a concurrent appointment as Second Minister for Defence effective Thursday.

The Cabinet changes have been on the cards since January, when it was announced that Mr Chan would join NTUC, in a move seen as a precursor to him taking over as labour chief.

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