Singapore's incoming PM makes minor cabinet reshuffle, seeks 'continuity and stability'

By Xinghui Kok

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore's incoming prime minister Lawrence Wong appointed a new deputy premier in a minor reshuffle of the cabinet on Monday, as he gears up to become the city-state's fourth leader since its independence six decades ago.

Trade Minister Gan Kim Yong was given the additional role of deputy prime minister, one of two in Wong's cabinet, according to the prime minister's office. Gan, 65, will also take Wong's job as chair of the board of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the central bank said.

Wong will retain the finance portfolio and takes over on Wednesday from 72-year-old Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Lee, the son of the founding father of modern Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, will remain in cabinet as senior minister, in accordance with tradition.

"Continuity and stability are key considerations, especially as we are approaching the end of this term of government," Wong told a press conference attended by local media.

The reshuffle was minor and included the promotion of several junior ministers plus the appointed of two parliamentary backbenchers to junior ministerial positions.

Singapore must hold its next general election by November 2025, at which Wong will lead the People's Action Party (PAP), which has ruled the wealthy city-state since 1959.

Wong is among 15 senior PAP members referred to locally as 4G leaders, a fourth generation that was hand-picked to succeed Lee and his cabinet for a carefully calibrated transition of power in the Asian financial hub.

Wong has said he would make bigger changes to his cabinet after the election.

Major cabinet reshuffles are infrequent in Singapore. The last significant shakeup came in April 2021, after Lee's anointed successor Heng Swee Keat ruled himself out of Singapore's top job.

Wong took over in the finance portfolio and other key next-generation leaders were also given fresh portfolios.

Heng, who has been deputy prime minister since 2019, will remain in the post serving under Wong.

(Reporting by Xinghui Kok; Editing by Martin Petty)