Changes announced among Singapore’s most senior civil servants
The head of Singapore’s civil service Peter Ong will relinquish his appointments as permanent secretary, special duties at the prime minister’s office (PMO), and as finance permanent secretary, and take up the leadership of a new group within the PMO.
The PMO Strategy Group was created last July to support the prime minister and his Cabinet in establishing priorities and strengthening strategic alignment across government. From 1 May, Ong, 54, who has previously led defence, transport, trade and industry and national security security departments, will be permanent secretary, strategy, at the PMO. He will remain head of Singapore’s civil service.
Current health permanent secretary Mrs Tan Ching Yee will replace Ong as PMO permanent secretary, special duties, and finance permanent secretary.
Yee, 51, who has led the health department since 2012, has previously worked as permanent secretary and second permanent secretary at the education department, and held various senior roles at the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the InfoComm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), which is responsible for the development and growth of Singapore’s information technology and telecommunications sector.
Yee’s health role will be filled by Mr Chan Heng Kee, 47, who has been permanent secretary at the Ministry of Social and Family Development since 2012. Before this, Kee led the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports and the Workforce Development Agency, which falls under the Ministry of Manpower and seeks to help Singapore’s workforce remain competitive.
Kee’s post at the Ministry of Social and Family Development will be filled by Mr Chew Hock Yong, who is currently second permanent secretary at the Ministry of National Development and permanent secretary in charge of the Municipal Services Office (MSO), which works with government agencies to improve overall coordination and delivery of public services.
Mrs Ow Foong Pheng, currently permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, will take over the leadership of the MSO whilst also being appointed permanent secretary at the Ministry of National Development. Pheng, 52, has held her current role since 2011, after working as second permanent secretary in the same department for two years. She previously worked as deputy secretary at the Ministry of Manpower and deputy secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Pheng will be succeeded at the Ministry of Trade and Industry by Mr Loh Khum Yean, who will give up his current role of permanent secretary at the Ministry of Manpower which he has held since 2009. Yean, 51, has held various appointments in the former Ministry of Communications; the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Public Service Division at the PMO before being appointed deputy secretary at the Ministry of Finance in 2002.
Yean’s successor at the manpower department, which is responsible for labour policies, will be Mr Aubeck Kam, who will take up the post in addition to his job as permanent secretary at the Ministry of Communications and Information. Kam, 45, has previously served at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Manpower before his appointment as chief executive officer, at the Media Development Authority in 2010.
Another change at the top of Singapore’s civil service announced yesterday by the Public Service Division, includes the appointment of Mr Gabriel Lim, CEO of the Media Development Authority (MDA), who will become second permanent secretary (Communications and Information).
In preparation for the establishment of the Infocomm Media Development Authority, which will absorb the IDA and the Media Development Authority of Singapore, later this year, Lim will concurrently be designate co-managing director of the IDA with effect from 1 April, and co-managing director from 27 May.
Lim, 40, held various appointments in the Ministry of Defence, Public Service Division and Civil Service College and Ministry of Health before his appointment as the principal private secretary to the prime minister in 2011.
Another change in Singapore’s senior civil service is the retirement of Mr Benny Lim, permanent secretary of the Ministry of National Development, PMO and National Security & Intelligence Coordination. He is stepping down from his role on 30 April after 37 years in the public service.
Lim, 59, served in Singapore’s police force where he rose to the rank of deputy police commissioner and held various appointments including director of the internal security department.
He was appointed second permanent secretary at the home affairs ministry in 2004 and promoted to permanent secretary a year later. He assumed his current roles in 2011 and also chaired the National Security Coordination Committee and the Intelligence Coordination Committee which focus on developing strategic competencies and capabilities to address national security needs and interests.
He was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 2002 and the Meritorious Service Medal in 2010 for his contributions to the public service.
Part of Lim’s portfolio will be taken on by Mr Leo Yip, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, who will concurrently be appointed as permanent secretary (Prime Minister’s Office) and permanent secretary (National Security and Intelligence Coordination), while Lim’s role at the Ministry of National Development will be filled by Pheng (see above).
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