Reshuffle an opportunity for 4G ministers to work together in new capacities: PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the latest round of changes will allow the 4G ministers to gain new experience and exposure. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The Cabinet reshuffle will allow the fourth-generation (4G) ministers to work together in new capacities, and strengthen their cohesion as a team, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"This will make the new team readier to take over from me and my older colleagues," he said at a virtual press conference on Friday (April 23) to announce the new line-up.

Mr Lee noted that most of the 4G ministers have already accumulated experience in a wide range of portfolios, and said the latest round of changes will allow them to gain new experience and exposure.

"They have to get to work quickly, because although our Covid-19 situation is stabler now, we are still in the midst of a public health and economic crisis," he added.

Asked about his expectations for the team, he replied: "I expect all of them to work closely together and cooperate to make sure that the policies are well coordinated and nothing slips through the cracks."

The Cabinet has to work as a team, covering for one another, he added.

"People must know that you're working, doing this as part of a team, and you're doing your part," Mr Lee said.

"But at the same time you're covering for one another so that when a problem comes up, we deal with the problem holistically - not just each person tackling his piece and leaving gaps in between or overlaps and conflicts between the different ministries."

The new configuration will see seven of the 15 ministries helmed by new ministers from May 15.

The changes include Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing moving to the Education Ministry, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung taking over the Health Ministry, and Education Minister Lawrence Wong succeeding Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat as Finance Minister.

Mr Lee was also asked why most 3G leaders were not affected by the reshuffle, with the exception of Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who will move to head the Trade and Industry Ministry.

"The ministers who needed to be moved have been moved, and the numbers are not small," he replied.

He added that the decision was not a matter of moving the 4G ministers while keeping the 3G ministers stationary.

"It's a matter of who I need to fill which slot most urgently."

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