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4G team 'need a little longer' to pick leader, but PM Lee confident of decision 'well before' next GE

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s fourth-generation (4G) leaders will need more time to decide who will be the country’s future leader, said Mr Lee Hsien Loong, the secretary-general of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).

4G team 'need a little longer' to pick leader, but PM Lee confident of decision 'well before' next GE

The trio widely considered to be in the running for the top job are (from left) Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong and Education Minister Chan Chun Sing.

  • PAP's secretary-general Lee Hsien Loong said that the 4G team will need more time to decide on their leader
  • He is confident the matter will be settled before the next general election
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has delayed his succession plans

 

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s fourth-generation (4G) leaders will need more time to decide who will be the country’s future leader, said Mr Lee Hsien Loong, the secretary-general of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).

Speaking at the party’s convention on Sunday (Nov 28), Mr Lee, who is also Singapore’s Prime Minister, said that the Covid-19 pandemic has delayed his succession plans, but it is a matter that cannot be put off indefinitely.

“The 4G team will need a little longer to make the decision. But I am confident they will settle it well before the next general election comes around,” said Mr Lee.

“We haven’t decided on the date of the next general election yet but I am confident that they will settle it in good time.”

A spanner was thrown in PAP’s succession plans in April when Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat took himself out of the running for the top job, two-and-a-half years after emerging as the frontrunner to succeed Mr Lee.

Mr Heng said then that he would have too short of a runway — given that he would be near his mid-60s when he takes over as prime minister after the Covid-19 crisis is over.

Three years ago, Mr Heng was chosen to be the party’s first assistant secretary-general, an appointment that would set the stage for him to take the helm.

The 4G team has been relooking the issue of succession since Mr Heng’s decision to step aside, said Mr Lee on Sunday.

He said that the Covid-19 pandemic has been a “stern test for the 4G” and “tested their resolve, both individually and collectively”.

“The whole 4G team deserves a lot of credit for managing the Covid-19 situation. This is a leadership team that Singapore can depend on and trust, in good times and tough times. I ask all party members to give them your full support, to work with you to take our nation through the next bound.”

Mr Lee added that besides settling the issue of succession, PAP’s party machinery can be strengthened by improving the capabilities of the party branch, updating party communications and outreach as well as renewing and reinforcing its party membership.

Mr Lee said every PAP activist in every party branch should be fully equipped to do their best as ambassadors of the party.

While political training at the headquarters has been conducted, Mr Lee said this will be scaled up and shared across the branches.

“Strengthening branches will make us more effective on the ground. Our activists need to be visible, and be seen wearing party whites from time to time, not just during elections. You must be active in engaging residents, and win the support and trust of residents, because they will see you as the face of the PAP anyway,” he said.

As for updating party communications and outreach, Mr Lee said that PAP needs to improve its outreach and use digital platforms more effectively.

“We need to meet the electorate where they are, whether they are on social media or other platforms. This is especially critical during a general election campaign,” he said.

Hence, PAP launched Petir.sg, a new socio-political website of the party.

To renew and reinforce its party membership, Mr Lee said the party is always on the lookout for new members who share the same goals and values.

“In particular, we continue to work with people of diverse backgrounds, so that we can better serve residents and voters who are also getting more diverse,” he added.

Mr Lee also said that PAP needs to be renewed with members with fresh ideas and youthful vigour, but also with the staying power, commitment and conviction of their older party members.

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Related topics

Singapore politics 4G leadership PAP Lee Hsien Loong Lawrence Wong Ong Ye Kung Chan Chun Sing

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