Permanent Secretary Retirements and Appointment - 1 June 2018

01 June 2018

Ms Yeoh Chee Yan, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), will retire on 1 July 2018, after 33 years of distinguished service in the Singapore Public Service. Ms Tan Gee Keow, Deputy Secretary, Strategy Group, Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) will be appointed Permanent Secretary of MCCY on the same date. 

Mr Neo Kian Hong, Permanent Secretary (Defence Development) of the Ministry of Defence, will retire on 1 August 2018, after 35 years of distinguished service in the Singapore Armed Forces and Administrative

Thanking Ms Yeoh and Mr Neo, Minister-in-charge of the Public Service, Mr Chan Chun Sing said, “I would like to thank Chee Yan and Kian Hong for their dedicated service. They have served with distinction in their careers, and I would like to express our appreciation to them for their leadership and outstanding contributions to the Public Service.”


Ms Yeoh Chee Yan (杨紫燕)

Ms Yeoh Chee Yan, 58, began her public service career in 1985, and served in various appointments across several ministries.

In 1999 she was appointed Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Community Development where she played a key role in reviewing social policy issues including the introduction of new pro family measures. 

In 2004, Ms Yeoh was appointed Deputy Secretary (Development) of the Public Service Division and concurrently Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/Dean, Civil Service College. At PSD, she strengthened scenario and strategic planning capabilities across the public service and managed the “Public Service for the 21st Century” programme. As CEO of the Civil Service College, she refocused the College on milestone programmes for leadership development, enhanced international relations and delivered new programmes to strengthen capability development in the public sector.

Ms Yeoh was appointed Deputy Secretary (Policy), Ministry of Defence in 2006, where she oversaw defence policy, defence relations and information management. 

In 2008, she was appointed Second Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and was later re-designated Permanent Secretary (Education Development). Her key contributions at MOE included strengthening the leadership succession pipeline and talent development for the Education Service. In addition, Ms Yeoh also initiated the establishment of the Academy of Singapore Teachers to drive professional and teaching excellence in the Education Service as well as the English Language Institute of Singapore, to raise English Language proficiency in schools. She also played a key role in the Primary Education Review and Implementation committee, which introduced measures to support a more holistic education and moved all primary schools to single session.

In 2012, Ms Yeoh was appointed Permanent Secretary of the new Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. She was instrumental in building up the team and establishing the mission and directions for the new Ministry.

At MCCY, Ms Yeoh aligned the work of the Ministry and its statutoryboards to its mission of strengthening social cohesion and national identity. Through its programmes and partnerships, the Ministry worked to raise social participation and inspire the Singapore spirit through culture and sports, strengthen racial and religious harmony and promote volunteerism and philanthropy. Under her leadership, the Ministry and its statutory boards embarked on new strategic plans for sports, heritage and the arts. MCCY also championed capability building in citizen engagement across the Public Service. She also led the Ministry in several successful national initiatives, including the coordination of the SG50 celebrations, the establishment of the National Gallery, the inscription of Singapore Botanic Gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the successful hosting of the 28th SEA Games.

Ms Yeoh was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 1999 and the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 2005 for her outstanding contributions to the Public Service.

Mr Neo Kian Hong (梁建鸿)

Mr Neo Kian Hong, 54, an SAF Overseas Scholar, started his career in the SAF in 1983. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant-General (LG) and held various command and staff appointments in the course of his military career, including Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, Singapore Guards; Commander 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade; Assistant Chief of the General Staff (Personnel); Assistant Chief of the General Staff (Operations); Commander 9th Division; Commander, Army Training and Doctrine Command and Chief of Staff – Joint Staff. He was the Chief of Army from 2007 to 2010 and was the Chief of Defence Force from 2010 to 2013. As Chief of Defence Force, he played a significant role to transform the SAF into a 3rd Generation fighting force. He enhanced the SAF’s information and intelligence networks and introduced new systems and structures to improve its capabilities and ensured that the SAF was more responsive to a changing environment.

Mr Neo was appointed Permanent Secretary (Education Development) in July 2013 and remained in this position till 2017. As Permanent Secretary (Education), he helped to formulate and implement education policies, and oversee the organisation, administration and resource management of the Ministry and schools. In particular, he played a key role in the development of MOE’s Outdoor Education Masterplan to support holistic education and MOE’s Digital Plan to exploit technology to improve effectiveness in teaching and learning such as through the Student Learning Space (e-platform).

As Chairman of the Excel Committee under the PS21 (Public Service for the 21st Century) Movement, Mr Neo focused on nurturing a culture of innovation in the Public Service, building capacity in the civil service for continual improvement and building new capabilities to work as an integrated government to better serve the public.

Mr Neo was appointed Permanent Secretary (Defence Development) and Chairman, Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and DSO National Laboratories in June 2017. In these roles, he oversaw defence research and technology, capability development and acquisitions, as well as defence manpower, administration and governance. Importantly, Mr Neo instituted a framework for digital transformation to enhance warfighting capabilities and NSF/NSmen experience in the Next-Generation SAF.

Mr Neo was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Gold)(Military) in 2007 and the Meritorious Service Medal (Military) in 2012 for his outstanding contributions to the SAF.

Ms Tan Gee Keow (陈义娇)

Ms Tan, 42, held various appointments in the Ministry of Finance, Public Service Commission Secretariat, People’s Association, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Education before her appointment as Deputy Secretary (Policy), Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources in 2012. She has been Deputy Secretary, Strategy Group, Prime Minister’s Office since July 2015.