Singapore—In a piece for Singapore Matters, author Daniel Rui makes the case for having confidence in Mr Chan Chun Sing.
Mr Chan, who will cease to be Trade and Industry Minister and become Education Minister on May 15, is seen as one of the three key contenders to be the next leader of the People’s Action Party’s fourth-generation (4G) team and thus a possible successor to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Mr Lawrence Wong, who will become Finance Minister leaving the Education Ministry on May 15, and Mr Ong Ye Kung, who will move from Transport to Health on the same day, are also believed to be in the race.
Mr Rui’s essay, entitled, “4G Leadership: why you can put your confidence in Chan Chun Sing,” opens with a June 2020 quote from Mr Chan, containing a commitment to “take care of every Singaporean.”
When Singapore was still coming to terms with the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the minister said, “We will not let widespread unemployment erode the confidence and dignity of our people.”
Mr Rui mentioned the minister’s humble beginnings as the son of a machine operator, as well as the fact that he “drives a Toyota Prius and wears a Casio watch he had from army days”.
He also notes Mr Chan’s achievements as a President’s Scholar from Raffles Junior College, Chief of Army, promotion to full minister, and labour chief.
Mr Rui’s main point is this: “A common thread running through Chan Chun Sing’s speeches is the expressed determination to ensure a successful and enduring Singapore for many generations to come.”
His piece is peppered with quotes from Mr Chan assuring that he will take care of Singaporeans—“all working people, whether you call them PMETs or rank-and-file and so forth”.
Additionally, for the author, Mr Chan is someone to be trusted because of the following reasons
- When the pandemic broke out, he made sure food supplies to the country remained undisrupted, which was no mean feat when Malaysia closed its borders.
- Also during the pandemic, Mr Chan upheld the country’s “reputation as a trusted hub for investments and business” .
- In spite of the country’s worst recession since independence, global investments have poured in, which has meant the creation of thousands of jobs.
Mr Rui also mentioned other factors that he believes adds to Mr Chan’s trustworthiness, including the fact that he took a posting in what was then “chaotic” Indonesia a month after his eldest child was born, becoming the weekend father to a newborn daughter.
Due to this posting, he also learned Bahasa Indonesia well enough to speak it in meetings “to discuss geopolitics and economics with the Indonesian counterpart”.
The minister, also, apparently, earned the loyalty of his “brother” soldiers, who have said they will “chiong” with him and for him.
Mr Rui also listed other achievements of Mr Chan, such as being given the Master Strategist Award 1998 by the US Army Command and Staff College, and being inducted into the hall of fame of the United States Army Command and General Staff College.
He also added that Mr Chan is “friendly and approachable” and is “someone you can identify with,” who holds fast to the unchanging values of service, integrity, and excellence.
Mr Rui included this quote from Mr Chan, “I have one very simple vision, and that is for Singapore to defy the odds of history, to survive and thrive as a small city-state without a natural hinterland. To survive and thrive where we may not have a common ancestry, race, language and religion. That we can define our identity based on a forward-looking set of values of multiculturalism, meritocracy, incorruptibility. That we will define a future where the future is in our hands, and we are not beholden to others nor held ransom by others.”
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