Ong Ye Kung sides with PM Lee; needs more time than 6-9 months to decide on new PM


Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and the Second Minister for Defence, Ong Ye Kung, was the first of the three frontrunners widely tipped to succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to agree with his comments that it could take longer than 6-9 months to select the new head of government.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed last Friday that he would like to hand over the prime ministership to his successor only after the next General Election.

He further said that it could take “a bit longer” for the nation’s fourth generation leaders to pick a leader among themselves and added that while the designation of his successor would not be “imminent,” political transition would be done in “good time.”

PM Lee’s predecessor, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong had said last month that he hoped the next head of government would be identified in the next 6-9 months. His comments sparked fresh discussion on leadership transition and appeared to be the catalyst for 16 members of the 4G leadership to note the urgency and agree to “settle on a leader from amongst us in good time,” in a joint statement.

PM Lee responded to ESM Goh’s comments and said that the ESM is speaking “with the privilege of watching things, rather than being responsible to make it happen”.

Ong echoed the PM’s comments and rejected the “artificial deadline” of 6-9 months to choose the new leader:

“PM has said that it will need a while longer. I think it’s useful. As our younger-generation ministers have said, we would select somebody to be the leader among us in good time… So I think it’s good not to be constrained by six or nine months. We still need time to work together, know each other well and, among us, I’m sure a leader will emerge.
“I think the PM has made it quite clear. Don’t get constrained by an artificial deadline. We will work amongst ourselves and someone will emerge in good time.”

Earlier this month, Ong indicated that he is still mulling over who the reins of government should be handed to: “I am shaping up in my mind someone who can be the leader amongst us. I am sure my colleagues are thinking of the same issue too.”

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing are widely speculated to be in the running to succeed PM Lee, alongside Ong.

PM Lee would like to hand over to his successor only after the next General Election


  1. He wants to be in the running. Ridiculous that a person who just became an MP can be considered for this post! LHL run out of subservient candidates or what? Another yes-man. But I guess being a dishonourable son, suits LHL fine because they are similar at least in one respect.

  2. Pinkie not in a hurry to step down, imagine suddenly he is impt again in the eyes of those who want his post. All the tripod and curry favors and everyone is sucking up to him again. Must be feeling like a god now!! Why step down now? He is not aware that his rating is at all time low.

  3. Actually, even after 12 months I am not sure who ! Each has a bit of the ideal candidate. But no one has more than 50 % of the ideal. One is likeable, another ambitious but hopefully not greedy, another look like a small kid, then there is a maverick. None of them has battled opponents like LKY. Also none of them has the fiery passion like the old man. More than that, none of them is gutsy like him. Worst, none of them is as visionary like old man. So Singaporeans have that high yardstick who built the nation to what it is today. If LKY represent 90 marks, I think these guys would have failed.

  4. Let me share a story with all here, it may not be related to this article. When the dog owner ask the dog to bark it will bark, when ask to sit than sit. When ask to shake your tail you shake your tail. Than the dog will get a pat on the head and the owner will said to the dog “ good boy” the owner will than feed him with food. That’s how’s a dog life is. What else can the dog ask for. At the end of the day as Long as you behave you will still be rewarded.

  5. It does’nt make a damn difference at the end of the day. The only difference is that the successor will get a hefty jump in salary and a chance to place his/her spouse as CEO of Temasek!!!! They all think and sing from the same song book lah!!! Maybe a few exceptions who will be moved into the shadows!!!!

  6. OYK, don’t be a parrot leh. At the very least share your thoughts about the qualities of a good PM and your aspirations for SG. Better still, volunteer to take over transport ministry from KBW and show your capabilities. Try to get out of being perceived as a brownnoser.

    • Totally agree. Ong is just showing everyone what a good Boy Scout he is. Good Boy Scouts get ahead in Lee’s books but will not have the moral authority to lead the country.

      But since Lee appears to only care about himself while covering his self serving decisions in a cloak of public interests, we know how it’s gonna turn out if the decision was left to him. Also don’t be surprise to see some innovations in the SM’s role once he stepped down.

  7. Nonsense charade between Goh and PM Lee. Not sure if there really is a division between them or they’re manufacturing one to show that PAP has diversity in views.

    PM Lee’s “I have to see through to it and you only have to watch” comeback was pretty petty though. If it’s a charade, it’s a damn good one. Keep it up!

  8. All time lines are artificial. There is no “natural” timeline. If there are term limits for PM, then that is a natural timeline. Maybe he doesn’t want to use the word “arbitrary” to describe the 6-9 months timeline to give some face to Goh.

    But 6-9 months isn’t arbitrary per se. It is the timeline for the next PM to assume office heading into the next elections.

    Maybe Lee is also dragging it out so that he could use the, “vote for them or lose them” tactic he’d used for Aljunied GRC to terrible effect.

    But according to his timeline, the next PM might only emerge in another 5 years or so. He also hadn’t placed any of them as DPM for a tutelage period yet so 5 years is a bit optimistic.

  9. The person who is most likely to get the job, is basically a Por Lampa / YES MAN / bench warmer who is willing to give up the role when Lee junior is “ready” to ascend the throne in maybe 10 years’ time…

    The 6-9 months’ timeline that was recently commented (and prompty slapped down) is obviously not sufficient, given the complexity of said task…


  10. Aiyohh, the PAP has evolved into an inner circle of Yes men who will defend their exclusivity to the end. 4G,5G.6G..all will be spineless tow the line professional politicians. That only for the money. Clearly, their hearts are in the right place..their pockets.

  11. I am puzzled why we all are waiting for PM to announce his successor especially since we know most of the candidates are not up to mark. The PM had the priviledge to take his time and decide but isnt it us who eventually give them the power to decide. Does that not me we still can decide and if we dont feel anyone capable we can decide not to empower them? So whos the actual decision maker ? Us