Singapore

PM Lee honours first Cabinet

He writes of 'deep debt of gratitude to pride of lions who took office 60 years ago'

Sixty years ago from Wednesday, the first Cabinet after Singapore became self-governing was sworn in at City Hall.

Describing it as one of the milestones that made possible the country's independence and all that has followed, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post: "We owe a deep debt of gratitude to this pride of lions who took office 60 years ago, and to the people they led.

"As I told my colleagues, the fight continues. The dream of an ever better Singapore is alive and well. Our pledge to be one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, endures."

PM Lee also shared two photos taken six decades apart - one of the first Cabinet and one of the current 14th Cabinet.

The People's Action Party (PAP) formed the first fully-elected government of Singapore, after it won 43 of the 51 seats in the general election of 1959.

The election, held on May 30, was to bring into effect Singapore's own Constitution, which would give it its own head of state as well as control over its legislative assembly.

After the election, Singapore, then a British colony, gained internal self-rule on June 3, though the colonial government retained control of defence and foreign affairs.

The nine-member Cabinet sworn in on June 5, 1959, comprised:

  • Prime minister Lee Kuan Yew
  • Deputy prime minister Toh Chin Chye
  • Minister for national development Ong Eng Guan
  • Minister for finance Goh Keng Swee
  • Minister for home affairs Ong Pang Boon
  • Minister for labour and law K.M. Byrne
  • Minister for health Ahmad Ibrahim
  • Minister for education Yong Nyuk Lin and
  • Minister for culture S. Rajaratnam.

Yesterday, the 14th Cabinet took a photograph at its weekly meeting - postponed from Wednesday because it was Hari Raya Puasa - to mark the 60th anniversary of the swearing in of the first Cabinet.

NEW PARTY WHIP

The PAP also appointed a new party whip yesterday.

Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Transport as well as Communications and Information, takes over the role from Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, who has been party whip since September 2015.

He will be assisted by two deputies: Ms Sim Ann and Mr Zaqy Mohamad.

Singapore Politics