Singapore – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on behalf of the ruling People’s Action Party that it is still looking for more candidates, including those potential ministers, for the next general election.
During a 45-minute fireside chat at the annual Business China awards ceremony held at the Marina Bay Sands on June 7 (Friday), PM Lee disclosed that the administration has interviewed many people and is “still always looking for people who have potential to be ministers, and even the potential to be more than ministers.”
He mentioned that they have quite a wide range of candidates, coming from traditional and unconventional backgrounds, different age groups, and includes a good number of women and young people.
“We are working very hard, but we still have to get a few more,” said the Prime Minister.
According to PM Lee, unconventional candidates are those “who have gone up different paths; they may not have done well in school, they may have gone and pursued careers, worked in NGOs, they have passions there; they may have spent time overseas, learned about the world, come back and then became more grateful for Singapore after that.”
“You must wait until we unveil them,” he added.
In response to Mr Robin Hu, head of sustainability and stewardship at Temasek International, who moderated the fireside chat, PM Lee also responded to questions related to China, trade tensions, the global economic outlook, and the next General Elections.
While the Prime Minister did not give a definite date on the next GE which is scheduled to happen before April 2021, he touched on past examples.
“There have been general elections called less than four years into the term,” he said, which was during the three-year-old government of former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.
“On that count, we are already overdue,” he said on a light note.
“There have also been occasions when we have stretched it to the utmost limit, and we went to five years and a little bit beyond because you start counting from the time when Parliament sits and not from the time when the previous general election was held,” he added.
“So, it could be anything in between. And if we haven’t started getting excited then either it’s not about to come, or we haven’t heard the news yet,” said PM Lee.
On the 4G leadership
Regarding the fourth-generation (4G) leadership spearheaded by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and supported by Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, the prime minister acknowledged the progress they have made.
“I think that is a good and stable core around which the younger ministers can form a team.
More and more, I am leaving things to them to do, not just speeches, but also responsibilities and more delicate issues to handle. And I think they will gain the experience and the touch and the confidence of the people as they go along,” he said.
“I think it is a work in progress still, but we are making progress, and we can see,” added the Prime Minister.
PM Lee mentioned the importance of “continually reinforcing the team” as they “have some journey to go yet.”
“They are the 4G team, but you must look for the people beyond them – now.”
Watch the fireside chat here: