Sources have said that the highest decision-making body of the People’s Action Party (PAP) met on Wednesday night to agree on the party’s most crucial posts. The final decision for who will be first assistant secretary-general is expected to be announced today, 23 November.
PAP’s central executive committee (CEC) has also made its decisions concerning its other new officers.
The Straits Times reported that it understands that PAP will be having separate meetings with branch secretaries and the party’s MPs today to let them know concerning the final line-up.
The party’s first assistant secretary-general is most likely to be the candidate to succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
It is unlikely that the Prime Minister will attend the announcement to the media concerning PAP’s line-up since he wishes for the attention to be given to the 4G leaders. PM Lee announced that he will be handing over leadership by 2022 when he turns 70. However, before this happens, the Prime Minister said that whoever succeeds him should play a crucial part in PAP’s transition to the next GE, which must be held by April 2021 but could occur as early as 2019, according to sources.
As has been widely reported, there are two strong contenders for PAP’s first assistant secretary-general, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing. Heng and Chan became part of PAP’s CEC a fortnight ago, when five senior members of the party stepped down to make way for younger leadership, including Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Teo Chee Hean, the Deputy Prime Ministers, which has allowed Heng and Chan to take their places.
Furthermore, Heng and Chan are among the seven leaders who have also been nominated by the outgoing CEC to be part of PAP’s highest committee.
However, older party leaders such as Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam may still be crucial in PAP’s next steps. Shanmugam may be appointed as PAP’s next chairman.
Along with Heng and Chan, the other five of the seven 4G leaders in the CEC will also be important in the party’s decision making, namely, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo; Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu; Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin; Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli; Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah; Education Minister Ong Ye Kung; and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ng Chee Meng.