Cabinet reshuffle: 'I am honoured by PM's trust and will do my very best,' says Heng Swee Keat

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will become Deputy Prime Minister from May 1, 2019. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who will assume the mantle of Deputy Prime Minister from next month, has said he is honoured by the trust placed in him by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"I am honoured by PM's trust and will do my very best, together with my colleagues, to fulfil our responsibility to serve Singapore and Singaporeans," Mr Heng said in a Facebook post on Tuesday evening (April 23).

"I am grateful that DPMs Teo and Tharman will stay on as Senior Ministers to share their wisdom," he added, referring to Mr Teo Chee Hean and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Both DPMs will relinquish their appointments but will remain in Cabinet as Senior Ministers, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) announced in a statement on Tuesday.

"We have a strong and united team in place - not only in the Cabinet but as a whole Singapore society," Mr Heng said.

"In my time in public service, I have gained and learnt much from partners from all parts of industry and society. I am also constantly inspired and encouraged by my residents in Tampines and, of course, by Singaporeans here and abroad."

He added: "All of us in this team are excited to work together and forge ahead for you. We look forward to partnering with all Singaporeans for Singapore, and to strengthening our relations with our partners in Asean and around the world."

Mr Heng, 57, will remain Finance Minister, and continue chairing the Future Economy Council and National Research Foundation. He will be appointed Acting Prime Minister in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's absence.

Mr Teo, 64, will continue as Coordinating Minister for National Security while Mr Tharman, 62, will be redesignated as Coordinating Minister for Social Policies. He will continue to advise the Prime Minister on economic policies, said the PMO.

In a Facebook post, PM Lee, 67, said the changes are part of the ongoing leadership renewal.

He wrote: "The next generation leadership is taking shape, and progressively taking over from me and my older colleagues. The team is working closely together, building up public trust and confidence in their leadership."

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