Cabinet reshuffle will give younger 4G ministers 'more responsibility': A closer look at 10 of them

Clockwise from top left: Chan Chun Sing, Grace Fu, Heng Swee Keat, S. Iswaran, Desmond Lee, Lawrence Wong, Josephine Teo, Ong Ye Kung, Ng Chee Meng and Masagos Zulkifli.
Clockwise from top left: Chan Chun Sing, Grace Fu, Heng Swee Keat, S. Iswaran, Desmond Lee, Lawrence Wong, Josephine Teo, Ong Ye Kung, Ng Chee Meng and Masagos Zulkifli.PHOTOS: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A Cabinet reshuffle will give the younger fourth-generation ministers more exposure and responsibility, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday. The changes would take place after Parliament prorogues.

"This way, my successor will be supported by a stronger and more experienced team, committed to leading Singapore to a better and brighter future," said PM Lee in a Facebook post. He added that the 4G ministers will be drafting the Government's agenda for the President's address. "It will give Singaporeans a better sense of them and their thoughts."

Who are the 4G ministers? Here is a snapshot.

1. Chan Chun Sing, 48, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office

He joined politics in 2011, after 24 years in the Singapore Armed Forces where he rose to become Chief of Army. He was elected an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC in the May 2011 General Election, and was immediately appointed Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, and concurrently, Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts.

In September 2013, he was promoted to full minister, making his rise among the swiftest in the group which entered politics in the 2011 election.

He was appointed Singapore's labour chief in 2015, taking over from Mr Lim Swee Say.

He is also party whip, ensuring that the People's Action Party MPs all vote according to the party line.

2. Grace Fu, 53, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth

Ms Fu entered politics in 2006, when she was one of three catapulted into minister of state positions, alongside peers Lui Tuck Yew and Lee Yi Shyan.

 
 

Ms Fu was appointed Minister of State for National Development.

In 2008, the Jurong GRC MP was promoted to Senior Minister of State, and given a concurrent appointment in the Ministry of Education.

She was appointed to her current position as Minister for Culture, Community and Youth on Oct 1, 2015, when she was also appointed Leader of the House, who is responsible for arranging government business in Parliament. This includes advising the House on what action to take if a difficulty arises, such as when an MP breaks certain rules.

Before politics, Ms Fu worked in corporate planning, finance and marketing with companies such as the Overseas Union Bank, the Haw Par Group and PSA Corporation.

3. Heng Swee Keat, 56, Minister for Finance

Mr Heng joined politics in 2011. He achieved the rare feat of being made a full minister immediately after being elected as a new MP.

Such a promotion has happened only once before - to former finance minister Richard Hu.

Mr Heng was Minister for Education from 2011 to 2015, when he became Finance Minister. He has been an MP for Tampines GRC since the 2011 General Election.

Before entering politics, he was the managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and principal private secretary to then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew from 1997 to 2000.

4. S. Iswaran, 55, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry)

Mr Iswaran is the most politically experienced in the 4G team, having been elected as an MP in five general elections since January 1997.

In 2006, the West Coast GRC MP was appointed Minister of State in the Trade and Industry Ministry in 2006.

Prior to that, he was the Deputy Speaker of Parliament from Sept 2004 to June 2006.

Under his current portfolio, he also oversees the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Energy Market Authority, International Enterprise Singapore, Singapore Tourism Board, Sentosa Development Corporation and Spring Singapore.

Before this, he held several roles in the private sector, including managing director at Temasek Holdings and director for strategic development at Singapore Technologies.

5. Desmond Lee, 41, Minister for Social and Family Development

Mr Lee is the youngest member of the current Cabinet.

He entered politics in 2011, when he was elected an MP for Jurong GRC. Two years later, he was appointed Minister of State for National Development, and in 2015 was made Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development.

Last year, he was appointed Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and National Development.

Before politics, Mr Lee, who is the son of former Cabinet minister Lee Yock Suan, spent two years at the Legal Policy Division of the Ministry of Law.

6. Masagos Zulkifli, 54, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources

Mr Masagos entered politics in 2006, when he was elected an MP for Tampines GRC.

Mr Masagos, who is trained as an electrical engineer, was appointed Senior Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education in 2006, and was promoted to Minister of State for Education and Home Affairs in 2010.

After the 2011 General Election, he was appointed Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs, and was appointed Minister in the Prime Minister's Office in April 2015.

He received his current appointment as Minister for the Environment and Water Resources on Oct 1, 2015.

Before politics, he worked for SingTel, from 1988. As president of the Singapore Adult Religious Association (Perdaus), he also helped set up humanitarian organisation Mercy Relief.

7. Ng Chee Meng, 49, Minister for Education (Schools)

Mr Ng is one of the newest in the team, having entered politics in 2015.

The former Chief of Defence Force was appointed Acting Minister for Education (Schools) soon after the election, and was promoted to full minister just over a year later, in 2016.

The Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP was also appointed Senior Minister of State for Transport.

Before politics, he served in the Singapore Armed Forces for 29 years, and was also on the boards of several public organisations such as the Defence Science and Technology Agency and JTC Corporation.

8. Ong Ye Kung, 48, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills)

Mr Ong joined the Cabinet one electoral cycle later than intended, having been part of the People's Action Party team in Aljunied GRC in 2011 that lost to the Workers' Party team.

In 2015, he was elected an MP for Sembawang GRC, and like Mr Ng, was appointed Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) that year.

He was promoted to full minister the next year, and was made concurrently Second Minister for Defence.

Before this, he was director of group strategy at Keppel Corporation and NTUC deputy secretary-general.

He was the principal private secretary to PM Lee from 2003 to 2005, and was his press secretary before that, from 1997 to 2003.

9. Josephine Teo, 49, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office

Mrs Josephine Teo was elected an MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC in 2006.

She was appointed Minister of State for Finance and Transport following the 2011 General Election.

She was promoted to Minister in the Prime Minister's Office on May 1 last year, overseeing the National Population and Talent Division. She is concurrently Second Minister for Manpower and Home Affairs.

Mrs Teo was formerly an assistant secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress.

10. Lawrence Wong, 45, Minister for National Development

Mr Wong entered politics in 2011. He was an MP for West Coast GRC from 2011 to 2015 and now represents Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC as an MP.

He was initially made Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth in November 2012, and was promoted to full minister later in May 2014.

After the 2015 General Election, Mr Wong was appointed the Minister for National Development and the Second Minister for Finance. He is also co-chairman of the Singapore-Tianjin Economic and Trade Council.

He was previously a high flier in the civil service, having worked closely with PM Lee as his principal private secretary before moving on to head the Energy Market Authority.