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4G leaders back Heng Swee Keat as their leader ‘in absolute unity’: Vivian Balakrishnan

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s fourth-generation (4G) leaders are fully backing Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat as their leader, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Sunday (July 26).

4G leaders back Heng Swee Keat as their leader ‘in absolute unity’: Vivian Balakrishnan

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat at the announcement of the new Cabinet line-up on July 25, 2020. He is taking on another appointment as Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies.

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s fourth-generation (4G) leaders are fully backing Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat as their leader, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Sunday (July 26).

“We are — all of us, in complete unity — behind the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, so there is no need for any discussions or questions on that. We are in absolute unity under his lead,” Dr Balakrishnan said, stressing that he was speaking on behalf of the 4G leaders.

Dr Balakrishnan made the remark a day after the announcement of the new Cabinet line-up, which saw Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, taking on one more appointment as Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies.

During Saturday’s press conference to unveil the new line-up, a question was posed about whether the 4G leaders had discussed or reviewed their position on backing Mr Heng as leader.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing took the question at Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s prompt and said: “We are entirely focused on helping our country overcome the economic challenges and saving the jobs at this point in time.

“We have no plans to do otherwise and we have no plans, no discussion on any changing (of the) plan.”

Mr Heng was expected to succeed Mr Lee as premier, after he was appointed first assistant secretary-general of the People's Action Party (PAP) in 2018. Mr Heng, in turn, had asked Mr Chan to be his deputy, and the latter was appointed second assistant secretary-general.

However, there had been talk on whether the leadership succession should be relooked after a team led by Mr Heng won East Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC) by 53.4 per cent — down from 2015, when PAP won by 60.7 per cent.

Dr Balakrishnan was speaking to reporters at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority building in Woodlands after meeting his Malaysian counterpart Hishammuddin Hussein to finalise the reciprocal green lane deal and Periodic Commuting Arrangement.

Asked about the implications of the Cabinet reshuffle on leadership renewal, Dr Balakrishnan reiterated Mr Lee’s answer to a similar question on Saturday.

“This is a Cabinet reshuffle that reflects the need for continuity, the need for rotation and the need for renewal. And if you look carefully at the composition and at the moves that the prime minister has made, it reflects all these three priorities,” he said.

Mr Lee had said on Saturday that the question of whether he can still hand over the reins to his successor by the time he turns 70 in 2022, as he had hoped, will now depend on how quickly the Covid-19 pandemic can be brought under control.

Related topics

Cabinet reshuffle Singapore General Election SGVotes2020 Heng Swee Keat East Coast GRC

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