Home News Featured News 69% of Singaporeans want Tharman to succeed PM Lee but Heng says...

69% of Singaporeans want Tharman to succeed PM Lee but Heng says older Singaporeans not ready for non-Chinese leader

This was in response to Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam being the popular choice for the top post




- Advertisement -

While it is a good sign that people in Singapore today are “comfortable” having someone  non-Chinese as their prime minister, such a view is not reflective of the entire country, this according to Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is expected to succeed Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong. According to the finance minister, the older generation prefers a Chinese person to lead them.

Such statements were said in response to the view that Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is a popular choice to take on the top job.

The following are stories related to this theme:

More than 80 percent want to see Tharman as Singapore’s next PM 

- Advertisement -

Ex-GIC chief economist joins chorus of Singaporeans asking why “people’s choice” Tharman dropped out of PM race 

Why doesn’t Tharman Shanmugaratnam want to be PM? 

Assistant Professor Walid Jumblatt Abdullah of NTU’s School of Social Sciences’ public policy and global affairs programme, also stressed Mr Tharman’s popularity as unmistakable in his constituency’s elections results.

Blackbox, a market research consultancy, conducted a survey in 2016 which revealed that Mr. Tharman was the top choice among Singaporeans to succeed Mr. Lee, with 69% of almost 900 respondents who said that they would support Tharman to be the candidate for prime minister.

As a retort to Mr. Heng’s ‘non-readiness’ of Singapore for a non-Chinese PM, Asst. Prof Walid asked, “Is it Singapore who is not ready for a non-Chinese prime minister, or is it the PAP (the ruling People’s Action Party) who is not ready for a non-Chinese prime minister?”

“My own experience in walking the ground, in working with different people from all walks of life, is that the views — if you go by age and by life experience — would be very different,” the finance minister said.

Obviously, Mr. Heng cleverly took the apparent popularity of Tharman among today’s generation of Singaporeans to point out the effectiveness of the government’s thrust and efforts in its campaign for unity among Singaporeans as a people “regardless of race, language or religion,” and that government initiatives towards this goal has “borne fruit,” Mr. Heng added.

Related story:

“Steady and capable leaders” for Singapore’s progress and prosperity: PM Lee 

Adding to his inquiries, Asst. Prof Walid asked if the Government was hurling conflicting messages by declaring during the 2017 Presidential Election that it is reserving a place for candidates from the Malay community but now it is stating that Singapore is not ready for a prime minister from a minority race.

In responding to this query, Mr. Heng made it clear that there was no conflict.

“It is precisely because we need to place this emphasis institutionally that we recognise that we have not arrived. It is important for us to ensure that we have that safeguard.”

Pointing to what he saw when he took part in the elections as “an observer” and not a candidate, he said: “I can tell you that it is not easy because it triggers all the feelings about race, which are not obvious. But when it comes to an election, it becomes an issue.”

In conclusion, the finance minister underscored in his message during the March 28 NTU forum that “The more open we are, the more international we are in our outlook, the better it is for Singapore (and) the world. Because you don’t want a world where people build walls around themselves,” Mr. Heng added.

So, isn’t not wanting to have a non-Chinese PM, an act of building a wall?

Send in your scoop to news@theindependent.sg 

- Advertisement -

Man attacks teen, calls him a virus, damages his phone

Singapore—A sudden attack took a teen by surprise when one man started yelling at him, physically harming him, and throwing his phone into a nearby drain at around 10.30pm on Tuesday (Feb 23) on a section of the road near the...

3 migrant workers die after 10 injured in Tuas industrial building blast

Singapore – Three of the 10 workers injured in an explosion at an industrial building in Tuas on Wednesday (Feb 24) died on Thursday. The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) responded to a fire at No. 32E Tuas Avenue 11 at around...

Film producer says Myanmar maid called her family, wanting to go home, two weeks before she died

A video producer who visited the family of Piang Ngaih Don, the Myanmar maid beaten and starved to death by her employers in 2016, says Ms Piang somehow managed to call her family just two weeks before she died. She told...

Send in your scoop to news@theindependent.sg