THUMBS-UP for the People’s Action Party (PAP) as Singapore’s fourth generation (4G) leaders took a stronger hold of the leading positions after elections held at the Singapore Expo on Sunday.
Notably, in a dominant changing of the guards, several senior leaders have also stepped down to make way for refreshing younger blood.
The most eye-catching selections were the three 4G leaders identified as potential successors to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong when he steps down – Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat. They were all among 12 members who were voted in by PAP cadres.
In a clear sign of a continuing safe ship, heading on over at least the next two years, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam as well as Health Minister Gan Kim Yong were among the more senior members remaining in the CEC (Central Executive Committee).
PM Lee is likely to remain secretary-general and lead the party through the next General Election, which must be called by April 2021. He has been the PAP’s secretary-general since 2004, a position held by Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Mr Lee Kuan Yew when they were Prime Ministers.
Immediate feedback to the PAP changes have been positive with former PAP stalwart Maidin Packer and former Editor of Berita Harian hailing it as “Singapore having a stable continuity of trained and tested leaders”.
The former Senior Parliamentary Secretary said: “The PAP leaders have again done what is good for the country. The more senior and established leaders are making way for a younger set. These are not selfish acts. Many could have stayed on. But they are all doing it for the good of the country.”
Mr Packer admitted that it has “always been difficult for the PAP or any political party here to get a team of capable and committed people of talent to serve the country”. He added: “I have seen and met talented citizens who were successful in their respective fields but were not willing to come forward and serve. Our talent pool is so small. And only a small number is willing. It has never been easy to give up their privacy, go public and face the music – so to say.”
Bukit Batok activisit Raymond Leong says a “very creditable bunch of energetic younger leaders have come to the fold and it surely spells exciting times for Singapore”. This is despite the “rising number of people who are more and more critical and he is worried that “social media as been filled with fake news, unfair and unhelpful remarks, comments”.
Nee Soon East branch activist J. Jeyagopi said the PAP has taken a “significant step forward in our political renewal”. He added: “Our PAP cadres have elected a strong and credible (4G) Team of leaders, along with experienced members from the (3G) Team, to lead both Party and Singapore through the next chapter of our continuing progress as a nation.”
Kallang PAP activisit Rahman Salleh reminded of the need for top-class future leaders, pointing out that “we should never forget that we are a country without natural resources”. He explained: “We need hyper-active new leaders as we need to plan well and execute the policies and programmes to the best benefit of our nation and the people.”
Other 4G leaders elected by cadres to the CEC, the party’s highest decision-making body were: Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu; Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli; Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan; Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ng Chee Meng; Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah and Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin.
Notably, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo were co-opted into the CEC.
Graciously giving way were Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, as did assistant secretaries-general Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. The three will continue to serve in Prime Minister Lee’s Cabinet.
The election for the party’s highest decision-making body was conducted at the Singapore Expo by around 2,000 of the party’s cadres.
Prominently, Mr Lee said in his speech to the party conference that the PAP was taking a “major step in political renewal”.
He said following the elections, the new CEC would meet within “a couple of weeks” to elect a new slate of office holders. That’s certainly a positive step for the ruling party.Follow us on Social Media
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