SINGAPORE: Ruling party heavyweight Teo Chee Hean has extolled the Senior Minister role that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is set to take on next week, after he steps down as Singapore premier. His comments come amid a spate of Facebook posts in which the Prime Minister reminded Singaporeans, more than once, that he is not retiring and will serve as an MP and Cabinet member.

Asserting that the incoming Senior Minister role will help Mr Lee contribute towards ensuring a smooth and stable change of Singapore’s political leadership, Mr Teo said that the position is similar to that of an advisor and should be cherished and valued.

Singapore will usher in its third transfer of power next week. Commenting on the upcoming handover, Mr Teo said that complex national affairs cannot be handled by one person, and the Senior Minister’s responsibility is to assist the Prime Minister in solving problems.

Mr Teo, himself, has served as Senior Minister over the past few years. It is unclear whether he will stay on in that role alongside Mr Lee as incoming PM Lawrence Wong takes over, although Mr Wong has said that he does not intend to shake up the Cabinet until after the next election.

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On the role Senior Ministers play, 8World quoted Mr Teo as saying, “When a problem arises, or an issue arises that involves several departments, we try to understand each department’s perspective, and different departments may have different considerations, and we try to address those,” he said.

Noting that the transition from PM to Senior Minister is in line with the tradition former prime ministers have set by remaining in the cabinet, Mr Teo added that PM Lee’s rich experience, wisdom, and connections can still contribute to Singapore while ensuring a smooth transfer of power.

He reportedly said: “When political changes occur in other countries, the political situation usually experiences turmoil and loses continuity and stability. At the same time, it is very likely that the experience of the previous leaders will be lost.”

Mr Teo added that each Senior Minister plays a different role based on his own experience and knowledge, and it is up to the Mr Wong to decide what role his predecessor will play.