Singapore—Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung don’t get along, reports Yahoo! News, quoting a “well-placed source”.
The Apr 14 report on Yahoo! Singapore has also been published on Yahoo’s Canada and UK pages.
Mr Chan and Mr Ong, both 51, are seen as contenders to be the next Prime Minister following Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s decision on Apr 8 to step down as leader of the ruling People’s Action Party’s fourth-generation (4G) team.
The Yahoo report, entitled “Singapore’s 4G leadership race: Will it be Ong, Wong or Chan?,” narrowed down the front runners to lead the 4G team to three — Mr Ong, Mr Chung and Education Minister Lawrence Wong, 48.
How long it will take to name a successor is anyone’s guess.
While analysts have said that a quick succession plan would best safeguard Singapore’s economy, both Mr Chan and Mr Ong have said that this will take time.
The Trade and Industry Minister has said the 4G team should be given the chance to “to relook the question of succession holistically,” while the Transport Minister asked “for some time to regroup”.
According to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, determining a successor would take “more than a few months” but “should not take more than a couple of years”.
Online polls have favoured Messrs Ong and Wong, with Mr Chan trailing in third place.
Yahoo spoke with former PAP MP Inderjit Singh, who said that choosing a successor has been complicated by the fact that there is no “clear superstar candidate”.
Therefore, “a cohesive and strong team” is needed, rather than just one strong individual.
“I believe the cadres will want to see the decision made on who replaces Mr Heng as soon as possible. It is important that the PAP continues to look strong and organised. If we take too long, we risk looking like we are in disarray,” Mr Singh told Yahoo!
The report added that within PAP’s rank and file, the race is perceived to be between Messrs Chan and Ong, who, apparently, are not the best of friends.
“By all accounts, the two men don’t get along. One would not be happy to be subordinate to the other. The two of them are neither that brilliant nor objectionable. They are about the same. The 4G are just a very uninspiring lot,” said the “well-placed” source.
The Independent Singapore has reached out to the PAP for comments or clarification on the quote.
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