State media Straits Times today (Feb 2) published an article calling for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to “serve” until 80 years old like British’s former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill:
“If called on by circumstances to do so, one hopes PM Lee would not refuse to stay on for perhaps a few more years after 70. Is a 70-year-old too old to run a country? Mr Ronald Reagan was days short of his 78th birthday when he left the White House. Sir Winston Churchill stepped down as Britain’s PM at 80. Both were elected by their electorates well after they were 70, and stayed effective. Will his health allow it? PM Lee has had health scares in recent years but appears to have recovered fully and has shown no public signs of ill health since. Of course, if health becomes an issue, the transition can be brought forward.Having PM Lee lead beyond 70 presents a neat solution to the succession dilemma. It gives enough time for the changing of the guard to happen smoothly and uneventfully… If he does so, the fourth-generation younger leaders will have more time to pick a successor.”
The state media wrote that there is not enough time for the PM’s successor to prepare, and the solution is for the 66-year-old dictator to continue as PM past 70 years old.
PM Lee’s father, Lee Kuan Yew, retired at 67 years old while former PM Goh Chok Tong stepped down at 63 years old. Lee Hsien Loong would be Singapore’s oldest Prime Minister by 2020.
Both critics and supporters have been calling for Lee Hsien Loong to retire as his administration is by far the worst-performing in both PAP and Singapore history. The PM however is hesitant to give up on power, revealing that he “needs a little more time” in an interview last week.
A hidden but ferocious infighting is currently waging at the PAP camp, with most PAP MPs supporting Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat because of his wealth of monetary management experience as former head of Monetary Authority of Singapore. However, the PM prefers former army general Chan Chun Sing as he believe the latter is loyal enough to appoint his son Li Hongyi as future PM.