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Choice of next PM will be made by fourth generation leaders themselves: PM Lee

TOKYO — It is up to the younger Cabinet ministers to decide who the next Prime Minister will be, as they will be the ones who have to support him, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday (Sept 29).

Choice of next PM will be made by fourth generation leaders themselves: PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks at the International Conference on The Future of Asia in Tokyo, Japan, September 29, 2016. Photo: Reuters

TOKYO — It is up to the younger Cabinet ministers to decide who the next Prime Minister will be, as they will be the ones who have to support him, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday (Sept 29).

“They have to decide, because they have to ... help to make the system, make the team work,” said Mr Lee. 

“I think amongst my ministers, the young ones, they will work together, they will get to know one another, they will assess one another and I think in good time, they will work out among themselves who fits into which role best and who can be the next leader.” 

A consensus will develop among the younger Ministers as to who the next leader will be, “in good time”, he added. 

Mr Lee was responding to a question on leadership succession from Nikkei Asian Review editor-in-chief Sonoko Watanabe, who was moderating a dialogue session at the Nikkei International Conference in Tokyo. 

Mr Lee’s comments came a day after Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam reiterated that he has no ambition to become Prime Minister, the second time he brushed aside such chatter in just over a year.

A recent poll commissioned by Yahoo News Singapore had showed that Mr Tharman was the most popular choice among respondents to be Prime Minister — ahead of Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing. 

Suggesting that the next Prime Minister will come from the fourth-generation leaders, Mr Tharman also said that the focus is on building up and enabling the younger leaders — a roster that includes Mr Heng, Mr Chan, Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, and Acting Education Ministers Ng Chee Meng and Ong Ye Kung — and enabling them to take over during the next term of government.

Mr Lee, speaking at the Nikkei dialogue, reiterated that Singaporeans want people who are able, good and committed, as their leaders. 

“People who can connect with the population, people who can lead Singapore, people who are prepared to fight, fight for what they believe in and fight for what they can do together,” he said.

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