Rumors are abound about the possible appointment of former Health Minister and current Minister for National Development, Khaw Boon Wan, to the position of Transport Minister. However, the talk has intensified one week before Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is set to announce his new Cabinet following cryptic hints given by the Khaw himself.
Khaw’s first hint came last Friday when he announced that the Cabinet shuffle would see his position being affected. He added that his new position was one that “bookies” were clear about.
According to The New Paper, its sources suggest that Mr Khaw is viewed as a “steady hand” who has done “well” in handling health and housing portfolios. During his tenure as health minister, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) crisis struck Singapore and the public reeled in horror as the National Kidney Foundation scandal rocked the nation’s trust in public charities.
Following GE2011, he then volunteered to helm the Ministry of National Development, where he has taken measures to cool property prices in both public and private housing. Admittedly, his efforts have resulted in more HDB flats being made available for singles and couples.
But if appointed, it remains to be seen whether “Minister Fix-It” as pro-government supporters call him, will be able to handle the challenges of the Transport Ministry. The position has seen 3 ministers in the last 9 years come and go, with none of them being able to deal with rocketing COE prices, unhappy commuters and failing public transportation infrastructure.