Photo of Lee Hsien Loong and Goh Chok Tong from SPH

Speaking to reporters yesterday (Jan 26), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong did not hide his contempt for his predecessor Goh Chok Tong, saying that the former PM is just watching:

“ESM Goh is speaking with the privilege of watching things rather than being responsible to make it happen. I think we know it’s a very serious matter.”

Holding the position of Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM), Goh Chok Tong had earlier last month complained that Lee Hsien Loong is taking too long to choose his successor. ESM Goh Chok Tong had also told state media reporters that Lee Hsien Loong would retire by 70 years old, which the Prime Minister had never commented to the public when he intend to retire.

The infighting between the two PAP leaders have a long history. The above slap from Lee Hsien Loong is the second public appearance with the first during GE2011, where Goh Chok Tong expressed his unhappiness with Lee Hsien Loong-allocated MP Tin Pei Ling sitting in his Marine Parade GRC. Tin Pei Ling was then removed from the GRC in GE 2015.

According to sources close with the Prime Minister, Marine Parade GRC’s Tan Chuan Jin was demoted from his ministerial position because he was too “pro-Goh Chok Tong”. The handful of “pro-Goh Chok Tong” MPs are mostly dissatisfied with the current administration of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, but are too fearful to speak out. Many of these MPs want Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat to be the next Prime Minister, but Lee Hsien Loong prefers former army general Chan Chun Sing as the latter is more obedient.

There has been an ongoing infighting between Heng Swee Keat and Chan Chun Sing for the PM position, as both refused to give up their claim. Although Chan Chun Sing’s MP supporters are outnumbered 3-to-1 against Heng Swee Keat’s MP supporters, most of them heavyweight ministers like Grace Fu, Lawrence Wong, K Shanmugam, Khaw Boon Wan and Indranee Rajah.