Minister for MCI Yaacob Ibrahim retires, trade minister S Iswaran takes over

Following the recent cabinet shuffles, Yaacob Ibrahim (pictured left) will step down as Minister for Communications and Information (MCI). Taking over is S Iswaran (pictured right), who will continue in the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) but be redesignated minister‐in‐charge of trade relations.

Yaacob Ibrahim first took on the ministerial role in 2011 as Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts following elections. In November 2012, with the restructuring of ministries, he became the Minister for Communications and Information. He was then appointed the minister in charge of Cyber Security in April 2015.

Following the 2015 elections, Yaacob Ibrahim was re-appointed as the communications minister once again, while continuing to be in charge of Muslim affairs and cyber security. Before MCI, Yaacob Ibrahim held stints ministries such as the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and was also a Minister for Community Development and Sports.

Prior to the appointment, Iswaran was Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), focusing on economic restructuring, productivity growth, and creating a vibrant domestic economy and enterprise ecosystem. He also oversaw the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Energy Market Authority, International Enterprise Singapore, Singapore Tourism Board, Sentosa Development Corporation and SPRING Singapore, his website description read.

He joined the Singapore Administrative Service in 1987 and served in the Ministries of Home Affairs and Education. He was seconded to the National Trade Union Congress, and later to the Singapore Indian Development Association as its first CEO. He was also a director for International Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry in the lead up to Singapore’s hosting of the WTO Ministerial Conference in 1996.

He then joined the private sector, as director for strategic development at Singapore Technologies, and later as managing director at Temasek Holdings, where he undertook investments, takeover, buy-out and merger transactions. This was in industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotech, hi-tech manufacturing, and transport and logistics sectors.

MCI will also see the appointment of Sim Ann as senior minister of state. She will continue in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth but will relinquish her appointment in the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Meanwhile, Chee Hong Tat will be relinquishing his appointments in the Ministry of Communications and Information and the Ministry of Health. He will be appointed senior minister of state in the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Education.

Janil Puthucheary will also continue in the Ministry of Communications and Information but will relinquish his appointment in the Ministry of Education. This comes as he is appointed senior minister of state in the Ministry of Transport.

"MCI is an interesting new challenge as the ministry’s policy scope is wide and quite diverse. The telecommunications, IT and media industries are converging and changing rapidly, and are critical to our efforts to build a strong digital economy. The information and media space is vital to effective communications yet subject to profound disruptive forces," Iswaran said in a Facebook post.