Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday announced a post-election Cabinet, assigning several key portfolios to leaders of the ethnic Indian minority and the Chinese majority.

Reflecting the retirement of two former Prime Ministers, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, the new line-up features two Deputy Prime Ministers, Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

The retiring Mr. Lee would now be Senior Adviser to GIC, a Singapore-owned sovereign wealth fund. Mr. Goh would become Senior Adviser to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and hold the unusual title of Emeritus Senior Minister.

The new line-up, to be sworn in Saturday, was described by Prime Minister Lee as a “fresh” team chosen to start on a “clean slate” for the future in the context of the people's message in the May 7 general election.

Elevated as Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Shanmugaratnam would retain Finance and assume charge as Manpower Minister and MAS Chairman.

Vivian Balakrishnan was assigned Environment and Water Resources as his new portfolios. K. Shanmugam, while being shifted from Home to Foreign Affairs, would retain Law.

On being promoted as a full-fledged Cabinet Minister and inducted into the Prime Minister's Office, S. Iswaran would also function as Second Minister for Home as also for Trade and Industry.

Political salience

While another ethnic Indian leader, S. Jayakumar, had served as Deputy Prime Minister and also the higher-level Senior Minister in previous Cabinets, Mr. Shanmugaratnam's current elevation has political salience of its own.

Besides Finance, a major portfolio in the City-State with a global economic presence, he is now being entrusted with Manpower, a domain that includes the sensitive issues concerning the intake of foreign talent.

Mr. Shanmugam has been given the same combination of portfolios – Law and Foreign Affairs – which Mr. Jayakumar, who did not contest the recent election, had held at one stage.

Among the leaders of Malay ethnic minority, Yaacob Ibrahim gets Information, Communications, and the Arts in a political climate dominated by the new media.

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