Singapore

IMDA CEO resigns, set to enter politics

He is one of several senior public servants who have quit and are expected to take part in the next general election

Mr Tan Kiat How, 43, will step down from his post as chief executive of the Infocommunications Media Development Authority (IMDA)on Saturday.

He is the latest of several senior public servants to leave their posts. Party sources say they are set to enter politics under the banner of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) in the upcoming general election.

Mr Tan is tipped to be fielded in East Coast GRC, which was contested by the Workers' Party in previous elections. Two incumbent MPs are expected to leave - Mr Lim Swee Say and Mr Lee Yi Shyan.

Mr Tan was a guest speaker at a webinar on digitalisation with East Coast GRC MPs and residents last Saturday. He also took part in a webinar on job opportunities and digital skills hosted by Mr Lee earlier this month.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) said Mr Tan will be succeeded by current deputy chief executive Lew Chuen Hong, a former chief of navy, as part of leadership renewal.

The other public servants who have recently stepped down are Mr Yip Hon Weng, former group chief of the Silver Generation Office under the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), and Ms Ng Ling Ling, who was chief of future primary care and director of community engagement at the Health Ministry's Office for Healthcare Transformation (MOHT) until end-March.

Mr Yip, 43, left the public service on Friday "to pursue other career opportunities in line with his professional goals and interests", said the AIC in a statement yesterday.

Ms Ng, 48, is now an independent senior consultant at MOHT.

When approached, Mr Tan said his plans are still being firmed up, and "it would be premature to share them now". He added that he will be taking a break to prepare for the arrival of his first child in August.

The PAP's line-up of new faces for each election has typically included a mix of senior public servants and Singapore Armed Forces officers.

Mr Desmond Tan, 49, a former brigadier-general, left his post as chief executive of the People's Association yesterday.

He did not indicate his next move but had told The Straits Times this month that he hopes to continue to serve the community "in other capacities".

Former air force brigadier-general Gan Siow Huang, 45, who is now deputy chief executive of the National Trades Union Congress' (NTUC) Employment and Employability Institute, is also tipped to be a PAP candidate, as is former army colonel Mohd Fahmi Aliman.

Mr Fahmi, 47, stepped down as deputy chief executive of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore in March and is now with NTUC.

Mr Tan was appointed chief executive of IMDA in 2017. In its statement, MCI said that under his leadership, the organisation took steps to build up Singapore's connectivity infrastructure, such as the roll-out of the country's fourth telco, and the awarding of 5G licences.

Mr Tan also set up the SG Digital Office, building up a network of ambassadors to help the less digitally savvy acquire needed skills.

Singapore Politics