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TISG EXCLUSIVE: Lee Hsien Yang weighs in on Heng Swee Keat’s departure and on the next PM

He isn't surprised Heng is no longer in the running

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Singapore — Mr Lee Hsien Yang is not surprised Deputy Prime Minister Heng  Swee Keat has ruled himself out of the running to be the next Prime Minister by stepping aside as the leader of the fourth-generation People’s Action Party (PAP) leadership team.

In an exclusive interview with TISG, Mr Lee, the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said: “I am not at all surprised that Heng Swee Keat is no longer in the running though his stepping back now is shocking”.

His comments come after an announcement by Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Heng on Thursday (Apr 8) evening to step aside “so that a younger leader who will have a longer runway can take over”. Mr Heng, who will be turning 60 this year, will remain as Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies but will step down as Minister of Finance at the next Cabinet reshuffle, which will take place in about two weeks.

Meanwhile, speculation was rife on Friday (Apr 9) on who would replace PM Lee as Prime Minister. The Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Education Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee, Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and even Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam were among the leaders mentioned.

There were many online polls asking Singaporeans who they thought would be PM Lee’s successor. We showed them to the younger Mr Lee and asked for his opinion on who the next Prime Minister should be, and who it would likely be.

He said: “Who the next PM will be is unfortunately going to be decided by a few party insiders, and not by the people of Singapore”.

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It was announced on Thursday (Apr 8) that the Acting Prime Minister in PM Lee’s absence will be Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean. /TISG

Read related: Heng Swee Keat steps aside as leader of the PAP’s 4G team after doubts over ‘am I the right person?’

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