Skip to main content



Lawrence Wong appointed as Finance Minister, as education and transport portfolios also change hands in ‘extensive’ Cabinet reshuffle

SINGAPORE — The leadership of two ministries, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Transport, are switching hands after less than a year as several changes were made in the latest Cabinet reshuffle announced on Friday (April 23).

Education Minister Lawrence Wong (pictured) has been assisting outgoing Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat as Second Minister for Finance since 2016.

Education Minister Lawrence Wong (pictured) has been assisting outgoing Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat as Second Minister for Finance since 2016.

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.
  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced a slew of leadership changes at key ministries including those at the frontline of the Covid-19 response
  • He named Education Minister Lawrence Wong as the new Finance Minister 
  • Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing will be the new Education Minister
  • Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung will be Health Minister 
  • Mr Ong will also be the new co-chair of the Government’s Covid-19 task force, alongside Mr Wong


SINGAPORE — The leadership of two ministries, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Transport, are switching hands after less than a year as several changes were made in the latest Cabinet reshuffle announced on Friday (April 23).

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at a virtual press conference: “It will be a more extensive reshuffle than is usual this early in the term of government.” 

The changes will take effect from May 15 after the next Parliament sitting — less than 10 months after the last round of changes were implemented in July last year. 

The latest reshuffle sees Education Minister Lawrence Wong being named the new Finance Minister, an appointment that has been  keenly watched since Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s said two weeks ago that he was  stepping down from the role.

Mr Lee said that Mr Wong has been assisting Mr Heng as Second Minister for Finance since 2016, so “he has the experience, and is a natural fit for the job”.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing will take over Mr Wong’s position as Education Minister, while Mr Chan’s post will be taken up by current Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

On Mr Chan’s new appointment, Mr Lee remarked that nurturing people is “quite different from growing the economy or mobilising unions”, adding: “I look forward to Chun Sing taking on this fresh responsibility and broadening his experience.”

Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, will take over Mr Chan as deputy chairman of the People’s Association.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung will head the Ministry of Health (MOH). With that appointment, he is also replacing Mr Gan as a co-chair of the multi-ministry task force that is handling Singapore’s response to Covid-19, alongside Mr Wong.

Mr Lee said that Mr Ong will continue to build on the strong foundation that Mr Gan had laid in healthcare, as he pointed out that issues such as ageing, healthcare infrastructure and healthcare finance “need our unremitting efforts spanning many health ministers”.

Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, will take over Mr Ong’s transport portfolio, as Manpower Minister Josephine Teo steps in to take Mr Iswaran's place.

Mr Iswaran will continue as Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations in the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Mrs Teo will hand over her manpower portfolio to Second Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng, who will keep his concurrent appointment as the Second Minister for Trade and Industry.

Dr Tan will relinquish his position as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, a post that continues to be filled by Ms Indranee Rajah, also Second Minister for Finance and National Development, and Dr Maliki Osman, also Second Minister for Education and Foreign Affairs.

Mrs Teo will also be placed as Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative and Minister-in-charge of the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore. She takes over the posts from Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Mr Iswaran respectively. 

She will also keep her appointment as Second Minister for Home Affairs.

Explaining why the latest Cabinet reshuffle is more extensive than usual, Mr Lee said the finance portfolio that Mr Heng had helmed is a “key ministry”. Mr Heng stays on as Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies. 

“Once you move the Minister for Finance, you're moving a major piece on the chessboard, and you have to make many consequential redeployments,” he added.

He also said that he is moving the ministers for health, manpower, and trade and industry because these are “frontline ministries dealing with Covid-19 and its consequences”.

He had considered making these changes following last July’s General Election (GE), but the plans did not materialise as Singapore was still in the thick of the pandemic. 

“I decided that we needed to let the ministers concentrate on fighting Covid-19 at that point. Now that the Covid-19 situation is more stable, although by no means over, I am able to make these changes.” 

He added that the post-GE appointments were an “interim set of changes” and the latest reshuffle reflects “the full set of changes”.


Apart from the ministers, there were several rotations and new appointments for other political office-holders:

  • Dr Koh Poh Koon, who is the Senior Minister of State for Health, will take on an extra post as Senior Minister of State for Manpower. PM Lee has asked the Central Committee of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) for Dr Koh to return from his secondment as its deputy secretary-general and focus on his political portfolios.

  • Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Foreign Affairs, will replace Dr Koh at NTUC. Mr Chee will relinquish his appointment at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) while staying put at the Ministry of Transport.

  • At MFA, Mr Chee will be replaced by Ms Sim Ann, who is now Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information as well as National Development. She will relinquish her portfolio at the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

  • Mr Tan Kiat How, a political newcomer who was the former chief executive officer of the Infocomm Media Development Authority, will fill Ms Sim’s shoes as Minister of State for Communications and Information. He will give up his appointment as Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, but will continue in his role as Minister of State at the Ministry of National Development.

  • Parliamentary Secretary for Health Rahayu Mahzam will take on another appointment at MCI.

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }



After the announcement, several Cabinet ministers commented via Facebook posts on the changes.

Mr Heng said that the reshuffle will allow the fourth-generation leadership team to “work even more closely” in their new capacities. 

In particular, he said that Mr Wong will have “the big task of continuing to invest for the long term, while maintaining fiscal discipline”, and he looks forward to working with Mr Chan in his new education portfolio as “jobs and skills will be a key part of our economic agenda”.

Mr Wong said one of the things he enjoyed most in the Education Ministry was visiting schools and he leaves "with some sadness that I will not be able to continue with these visits".

He added he is "mindful of the responsibilities" he will shoulder in his new appointment, and will strive to build on the "good work" that DPM Heng has done.

Even as the economy remains weak and many businesses and individuals require support, there are opportunities in the midst of crisis to build a better Singapore that is “more fair and just; greener and more sustainable; and more inclusive and united”, he added on Facebook.

“Finance is a key enabler to seize these opportunities and to advance the well-being of Singapore and Singaporeans.”

Mr Chan said that he will build on the internationally recognised and renowned education system forged by his predecessors to “enable every generation of Singaporeans to realise their aspirations, whatever their starting circumstances and stations in life”.

Pointing out that he was a beneficiary of this system, he said: “Given my family circumstances, I managed to pursue what would otherwise be just a dream — getting a good education.”

Mr Chan was raised by a single parent — his mother who worked two jobs to support the family — and lived in a three-room public housing unit with his grandparents, mother and older sister for 30 years.

Mr Ong said that his time at the Ministry of Transport was brief, but “as public servants, we go where we are needed”. 

He added: “Mr Gan Kim Yong left big shoes to be filled at MOH. The ministry is leading the effort to fight Covid-19, and in the long term, we need to ensure that even as our population ages, we will deliver quality and affordable healthcare to Singaporeans.”

Related topics

Cabinet reshuffle Lee Hsien Loong Lawrence Wong Covid-19 Parliament Politics

Read more of the latest in




Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.