Familiar faces retain key positions in reshuffled Singapore government

Bangkok, Jul 25 (efe-epa).- Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, on Saturday presented his reshuffled cabinet of ministers two weeks after his People’s Action Party won legislative elections.

Many of the party veterans have retained important roles.

Deputy prime minister, Heng Swee Keat, who is also the finance minister, will hold on to his portfolios and will also take over an additional role as coordinator of economic policy.

The current foreign affairs minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, first appointed in 2015, and defence minister NG Eng Hen, appointed in 2011, will also stay put.

Among the few tweaks to the cabinet are new appointees for the ministries of transport, national development and education.

The number of women ministers remains unchanged at three of a total of 20 cabinet members, although there are six with minor government roles such as secretaries and vice-secretaries of state, a slight rise compared to the previous executive.

The cabinet unveiled by the prime minister has the heady task of facing off the worst economic crisis to afflict the city-state since it gained independence.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore’s economy is already in recession and the country’s GDP is poised to contract between four and seven percent this year.

Lee Sien Loong, 68, who promised to retire by 70, declined to say whether his tenure would now depend on how the coronavirus situation is tackled.

He has been prime minister since 2004.

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