Gan Kim Yong promoted to Deputy Prime Minister in new Cabinet line-up as incoming PM Lawrence Wong seeks ‘continuity and stability’ 

Heng Swee Keat's Facebook

Singapore’s next Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on Monday (May 13) announced his Cabinet with Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong to be promoted to Deputy Prime Minister on May 15.    

Deputy Prime Minister Wong, 51, who will be sworn in as Singapore’s fourth Prime Minister on May 15, will continue as Finance Minister, a role he has taken on since May 2021. 

65-year-old Mr Gan will continue as Minister for Trade and Industry, a position he has filled since May 2021. He will be the Acting PM in the PM’s absence, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a separate statement. Mr Gan will also assume responsibility for the strategy group within the PMO.  

The PMO also announced that Mr Gan will replace DPM Wong as Chairman of the Monetary of Authority of Singapore.  

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, 63, who was appointed to the role in 2019, will remain in the role.

The Cabinet has had two Deputy Prime Ministers since the 1980s, except for a short period in the 1990s when PM Lee was Singapore’s sole Deputy Prime Minister and from May 2019 to June 2022 when DPM Heng was the only one holding the post. 

Outgoing PM Lee Hsien Loong will remain in the new Cabinet as Senior Minister, together with current Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.   

Aside from the new appointments, there were few changes to the existing Cabinet line-up.  

In announcing the changes, Mr Wong said that continuity and stability were among the key considerations in assembling his Cabinet given that the current government is approaching the end of its term.    

The next General Election must be called by November 2025.  

“All the Ministers already have a full plate of work to see through and some have also just rolled out new programmes in their ministries. To avoid any disruptions, I have decided to keep them in their present roles until the end of the term,” he said.  

Describing both Mr Gan and Mr Heng as experienced ministers, DPM Wong said they will “provide a steady hand” in this initial transition period and help to mentor younger political officeholders.  

“I am glad they will be supporting me as my deputies,” he added.  

Three office holders promoted 

Low Yen Ling, Desmond Tan and Rahayu Mahzam are promoted. 

Besides Mr Gan’s promotion, two Ministers of State – Low Yen Ling, 49, and Desmond Tan, 54 – are to be promoted to Senior Ministers of State. They will serve the new roles in their existing portfolios, under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and the Ministry Trade and Industry for Ms Low, and under the PMO for Mr Tan. Mr Tan is Deputy Secretary-General of the National Trade Union Congress. 

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Law Rahayu Mahzam, 43, will be promoted to Minister of State.  She will remain at the Ministry of Health and take up a new appointment in the Ministry of Communications and Information, and relinquish her law portfolio. 

Murali Pillai and Shawn Huang brought in to strengthen the Cabinet

Backbenchers MP for Bukit Batok SMC Murali Pillai, 56, and Jurong GRC MP Shawn Huang, 41, who was a Director at Temasek Holdings have been brought in to strengthen the team.  

Mr Pillai will be Minister of State for Law and Transport. He is a Partner with Rajah & Tann. Shawn Huang, a 2020 General Election alumnus, will be Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Finance.  

The appointment holders will be sworn in on May 15, with the exception of Mr Murali who will be appointed and sworn in on July 1, and the senior parliamentary secretaries who will be sworn in on May 24. 

Mr Wong on Monday said that if his government is re-elected, he plans “to rotate the 4G (fourth generation) ministers with different portfolios” and give them wider exposure and experience. 

At the same time, more fresh blood is needed as some of the older ministers are likely to retire at the end of the current term or shortly after, he added. 

“I aim to further renew and strengthen the team with new members, especially men and women in their 30s and 40s. There is no higher priority for me (than) to form the best possible team to serve Singapore and Singaporeans.” 

Aside from the portfolio changes, PMO announced on Monday that the Ministry of Communications and Information will be renamed as the Ministry of Digital Development and Information. 

“The new name reflects the ministry’s role in driving our national digital agenda,” said the PMO in a statement. 

An exchange of letters between PM Lee Hsien Loong and President Tharman Sharmugaratnam on the new Government

20240513 – Letter from PM Lee to President Tharman (pdf, 36.02KB)

20240513 – Letter from President Tharman to PM Lee (pdf, 78.18KB)

An exchange of letters between Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong and President Tharman Shanmugaratnam on 13 May 2024, whereby DPM Wong accepted the appointment to the office of Prime Minister of Singapore.

20240513 – Letter from DPM Wong to President Tharman (pdf, 1,198.40KB)

20240513 – Letter from President Tharman to DPM Wong (pdf, 41.34KB)