Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong promised to continue devoting himself to Singapore after he took part in the 2020 Parliament Swearing-in Ceremony, this week.
The eldest son of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Lee joined the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in 1971, and rose quickly through the ranks in the Singapore Army, becoming the youngest brigadier-general in Singaporean history after his promotion in July 1983.
He left the army in 1984 to pursue civilian politics and was elected to Parliament in that year’s election. His father appointed him Minister of State right after the election and the younger Mr Lee became a full minister just two years later, in 1986.
When his father was succeeded by Goh Chok Tong, Mr Lee was made one of Cabinet’s deputy prime ministers. In 2004, 20 years after he was first elected to Parliament, Mr Lee was made Prime Minister.
After the 2015 General Election, PM Lee revealed his intention to hand the Prime Ministership over to his successor sometime after the subsequent election. He, however, revealed that he has decided to stay on at the helm of the nation and the ruling party for sometime longer after the 2020 election.
PM Lee suggested that he is staying on to hand over the nation in good order given the health and economic crises ahead but some observers feel that he has chosen to stay on given the outcome of the recent election.
The ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) drew its second-worst result in history in the 2020 General Election. Although it won 83 out of 93 seats in Parliament, the PAP saw sizeable swings against it in almost all constituencies.
Not only was it was unable to wrest Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC away from the Workers’ Party (WP), the PAP also lost another GRC – the four-member Sengkang GRC – to the opposition party. Three political office-holders, including a Cabinet Minister, were ousted by a young opposition team.
Perhaps the biggest blow was the performance of PM Lee’s presumptive successor Heng Swee Keat, whose seasoned team was barely returned to Parliament with a vote of about 53 per cent in the contest at East Coast GRC against a team of WP newbies.
Despite the election outcome, PM Lee said that his team has a “clear mandate” from Singaporeans. In a Facebook post published on Tuesday (27 July), PM Lee promised that his team are humbled by Singaporeans’ support and that they will do their best for the nation.
He wrote: “My team and I are humbled that Singaporeans have entrusted us with this heavy responsibility. We will continue to do our best for Singapore. With your mandate, I have formed the strongest Cabinet I could, to take Singapore through this crisis and beyond. We will use our mandate to act on your behalf, to deal with the challenges ahead, and lead Singapore out of the crisis.”
Referring to his new succession plan, he added: “I have spent my entire adult life in public service and I will continue to devote myself to Singapore. My aim is to see through this crisis, and hand over Singapore, into good hands who can take the country further forward.
“Let us now all come together as one Singapore, unite and focus our energies on the major challenges ahead. Keep improving our lives, securing our future and building a nation we can all be proud to call home.”
Was sworn-in together with my new Cabinet at the Istana and Parliament House yesterday. This is the first time the…