Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has reshuffled the portfolios of his cabinet ministers two weeks after former premiere-in-waiting Heng Swee Keat decided to step aside. 

Succeeding Heng as finance minister – deemed a key portfolio to becoming Singapore’s next leader – will be Lawrence Wong, according to local media. Lee has also picked Chan Chun Sing as the man to replace Wong as Education Minister, and Gan Kim Yong to replace Chan as Trade and Industry Minister. 

Changes to the cabinet will be effective May 15 and affect seven of the 15 ministries. 

“Today I am announcing my new line-up. It will be a more extensive reshuffle than is usual this early in the term of government,” Lee was quoted as saying. “Two reasons: One, the Minister for Finance is changing. Following Budget 2021, DPM Heng is relinquishing the Finance portfolio. Finance is a key ministry, so when the Finance Minister changes, it has many repercussions.”

Ong Ye Kung will replace Gan as Health Minister and take over his spot to run the country’s COVID-19 multi-ministry task force together with Wong. 

Political newbie Tan See Leng will take over the manpower portfolio from Josephine Teo, who has been chosen to helm the Communications and Information Ministry and replace S Iswaran. 

It’s a fast promotion for Tan, who officially joined the government after last year’s election, during which he contested the Marine Parade constituency in place of his pal Goh Chok Tong, who retired after 44 years of service. 

Iswaran will become Transport Minister. 

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