Youth react to Singapore’s Cabinet reshuffle
The extensive Cabinet reshuffle received mixed reactions from youth.
On Apr 23, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the new Cabinet line-up.
The Cabinet reshuffle, which takes effect from May 15, sees seven ministries getting new ministers.
The changes include Lawrence Wong taking over Heng Swee Keat’s role as the new Finance Minister; Ong Ye Kung as the new Health Minister; Chan Chung Sing regaining his previous role of the Education Minister; and Gan Kim Yong switching to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
We spoke to some youths to find out how they felt the reshuffling of ministers will affect them, and what changes they would like to see in the future.
Excited to see how the new ministers will perform
“Gan Kim Yong relinquishing his duties as Health Minister is definitely concerning as he has been at the helm for a long time. Despite it being a concerning decision, I have faith that Ong Ye Kung will be able to fill his shoes. He has proven himself as a capable minister and politician time and time again, hence I have no doubt that he will excel in this role.
“Lawrence Wong has definitely proved himself during the COVID-19 crisis as one of the most calm and composed leaders. His leadership definitely gave Singaporeans comfort and I am excited to see how he will perform in one of the most important ministries in Singapore. If all goes well, I could definitely see him as the next man to helm Singapore in the future.
“Josephine Teo definitely does not have the best reputation with Singapore after the COVID-19 breakout in the dormitories. It would be interesting to see how she juggles her new roles, and if she is able to gain back the trust and support from her fellow Singaporeans.” – Justin Thong, 24, Production assistant
New Prime Minister will have to prove himself
“New leadership means change is on the way. Whether structurally within the ministries or across statutory boards, new initiatives to benefit society would be something to look forward to. Of course, the talk of who’s to be the next Prime Minister is the new buzz in town.
“While precedents have shown that both Goh Chok Tong and Lee Hsien Loong were both Finance Ministers before, there have also been cases where Finance Ministers do not end up being in the running for the hot seat.
“I have faith that whoever makes the seat will have a huge shoe to fill, but will definitely exemplify the required dedication to meeting expectations.” – Darren Soh, 29, Strategy manager
Mixed feelings about the reshuffle
“I’m most excited about. Lawrence Wong taking over Heng Swee Keat as the Minister of Finance as he has been serving as an MP in my area in Yew Tee, and has been doing a great job so far. I’m quite excited to see how he manages Singapore’s financial affairs when the reshuffle takes place.
“I think it’s alright for him to gain knowledge and experience through the reshuffling of the ministry roles. If he’s really capable enough to show Singaporeans that he can be the potential prime minister in the future, I think Singaporeans will be more accepting of him.
“I’m concerned about Ong Ye Kung taking over as the new Minister of Health, as I can’t predict what he would impose or change in the health industry when we are still battling COVID-19. Mr Ong has not had any experience in this field, and I would rather he work alongside Mr Gan for a probation period. When it all cools down, he can have full control.” – Alicia Wong, 28, Financial consultant
Concerns over the new line-up of ministers
“I don’t understand much about the reshuffling of the ministers, but what I do feel is it might be risky. What would the new ministers know about running an entirely new ministry? On the other hand, I understand that the government would not do anything to compromise our nation’s well-being and safety.
“Mr Chan Chun Sing is now the Education Minister. If I recall correctly, his leadership skills were questioned by many when he mocked people who were panic-buying during COVID-19. He was also involved in a petition where people were against him running for the Prime Minister position. This makes me wonder if he should be in charge of the Ministry of Education, and by extension, all students in Singapore.” – Genie Lim, 20, Freelancer
Risky decision to change ministers in the middle of COVID-19
“I think there is no question that everyone would prioritise COVID-19, be it Mr Lawrence Wong or Ong Ye Kung. The defining factor is if Mr Ong Ye Kung can manage the situation with the same effectiveness or better than his predecessor with new ideas and solutions.
“As witnessed, Singapore was one of the countries that managed the pandemic quickly and effectively under the previous leadership. At this point, it’s relatively under control with the occasional community cases. Should the newly appointed minister not be on the ball, Singapore risks a new wave of cases.
“I don’t necessarily think the change of ministers will be detrimental, however, it is a risk that might be deemed unnecessary in the future should things take a wrong turn. The newly appointed minister already has the framework set for him. He just has to continue it and improve it while getting up to speed with other ongoing health concerns of Singapore. – Wein Lee, 24, Dance coach
Reshuffling the Cabinet was not necessary
“It’s good to switch things up as newer ideas can be put in place. Newer people in the position may have better or different ways of understanding problems, and getting everyone’s point of view might be the key to finding the perfect solution.
“However, since the Cabinet is doing well right now, why should we change it? If there is no need to, why not stick with the same people? They obviously know how to run a country and are doing it right.
“It will affect us as whoever takes up the role is essentially responsible for our future. I am at the age where sooner or later I’ll have to vote, so I hope with the reshuffle Singapore can get things similar to the standard the previous ministers handled our tiny red dot.” – Haziq Idraki, 18, Student
Written by Celeste Lim, Suci Khalisa, Shanice Sitoh