After 30 years of public service, Senior Minister of State Lee Yi Shyan has chosen to return to the backbench following a minor stroke that prompted him to "change gear".
"Many of my friends have asked about my health and it is true that I was hospitalised for a mini-stroke in May this year," Mr Lee, 53, said yesterday - his last day as Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development.
He said he took their advice to "change gear a little bit" by deciding to "step back and serve in a different way".
Mr Lee, who spoke to reporters at the opening of the Manufacturing Solutions Expo, said the move will give him more time to attend to the needs of residents in his Kampong Chai Chee ward in East Coast GRC, although he will not be a full-time MP.
"I also hope to find something to do in the day time," he said.
Yesterday was a busy day for Mr Lee in his role as Senior Minister of State as he shuttled between industry events, including speaking at the World Liquefied Petroleum Gas Forum.
He was all smiles and said he was proud to have given the best part of his working life to serving the nation.
"By the end of this five-year term, I would have spent 35 years in public service, right out from university. A good part of it was in the civil service (and) close to 10 years of political service."
He urged Singaporeans to give their fullest support to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his new Cabinet, which will be sworn in today.
He also called on them to be active in nation-building: "All of us will have to play an active role in some stage of our life, and then when the new generation is ready, it's also our responsibility to groom them."
PM Lee said on Monday that he reluctantly agreed when Mr Lee asked to step down after the Sept 11 General Election.
"He has done good work in his ministries - in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, opening markets and developing business links with the region, especially in China; and in the Ministry of National Development overseeing town council matters," PM Lee said.
"Previously, he was also in the Ministry of Manpower, where he developed our system of Continuing Education and Training and worked closely with industry associations to drive productivity improvements."