Catching up on his race for the next Prime Minister role, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat openly praised Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as a “very good leader and example” at the Singapore Perspectives 2018 conference yesterday (Jan 22):
“Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has set a very good example on this front, leading a very cohesive team that discusses issues every week across a whole range of topics of import to the country. I am happy that Singaporeans believed good political leadership was important for the country. In many other countries, people have lost confidence in their leaders and often mock them, creating an environment that makes it hard to govern.”
The PAP Minister drew reference to the recent US government shutdown but he deliberately omitted the fact that US is a two-party democracy while Singapore is a single-party dictatorship like Vietnam and China:
“Political contest has also exacerbated the problem, leading to deadlock and the government shutting down in some cases.”
Currently only three ministers are running for the next PM’s role – Minister Chan Chun Sing, Minister Heng Swee Keat and Minister Ong Ye Kung. None of the three agree to give up their bid, resulting in a deadlock which many including former PM Goh Chok Tong criticised as “too late” to have a PM already.
Former army general Chan Chun Sing is currently leading the race as he is more likely to carry the Lee family legacy, by reserving his seat for Lee Hsien Loong’s son, Li Hongyi who is now a senior civil servant director at the propaganda ministry.
According to sources close to the ruling party, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat is preferred by the party members due to his economic expertise and experience as former head of Monetary Authority of Singapore. Minister Chan Chun Sing is however frowned upon on because he lacks real-world experience due to him being a military man throughout his life.