The People’s Action Party (PAP) will be featuring 6 new faces who are hailed as the next generation of Ministers and somehow, believing them to be the solutions Singaporeans needed. Broken down into three typical profiles, here are the analysis of their profile type:
Ng Chee Meng, 47, Chief Defence Force, MINDEF
Lai Chung Han, 42, Chief of Navy, MINDEF
Melvyn Ong Su Kiat, 40, Chief Guards Officer, MINDEF
Ng Chee Meng, Lai Chung Han and Melvyn Ong are printed from the templates of current Labour Chief and Minister-without-portfolio Chan Chun Sing and Minister of Social Development Tan Chuan Jin. As the highest ranking officers of the Army and Navy, the three elites have never spent a day in the private sector. They will not fit in as an intellectual, but if the Opposition MPs need some talking down, they will be useful considering how their organization treat lower ranked soldiers.
The trio are also incapable of filling technocrat spots like a minister in Finance, Law, Trade, National Development, Transport, Manpower, Immigration and Environment. We know what happened when we put a general in Transport (Rear-Admiral Lui Tuck Yew) and Manpower (Tan Chuan Jin, who is quickly demoted to handle an easier ministry like Social and Family Development).
The three soldiers will however be very useful as seat warmers, consolidating the support of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who himself is a Brigadier General. Having more army officers in Parliament also signifies a shift from a technocratic government that focus on pragmatic solutions for the country, to one that agrees with the dogma and authoritarianism of a military junta. Singaporeans can also expect more defamation suits and talking down if these soldiers become MPs.
2) CEOs of Government-linked Companies (GLCs)
Lee Seow Hiang, 45, CEO, Changi Airport Group
Ong Ye Kung, 45, Director of Group Strategy, Keppel Corporation
The two directors follow the footsteps of Lawrence Wong, who was the Chief Executive Officer of the Energy Market Authority. The CEOs of GLCs are infamous for being out of touch with the general populace. Like former SMRT CEO Saw Phaik Hwa, you can expect elitist comments like “the train is not crowded, people just doesn’t want to get in”. Senior Management of GLCs are widely known to be sheltered and know nothing about the operations of the organization they are heading because the organizations are large enough with ample layers of department heads to steer the organization.
Ong Ye Kung exemplifies such free-riding mentality. When he couldn’t win the voters’ hearts in Aljunied GRC, he gave up and have now chosen to campaign with Minister Khaw Boon Wan in Sembawang GRC – which is poised to be an easy win for the PAP because of Sembawang residents.
Yet again, people will be under the false impression that the two will make good Ministers in Transport and Trade, when they are as clueless as any Opposition member with no prior experience in the two ministries. They will do what they have been doing best – riding on the coat tail of the ship and collecting credits.
3) Civil Servants
Chee Hong Tat is a copy of Khaw Boon Wan who was a permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). Civil servants like Chee Hong Tat tend to have specialized knowledge about the ministries they are working for and they are often well-positioned enough to be Ministers, which in this case the MTI.
To be fair, the MTI is one of the decent ministries like Finance and Foreign Affairs under Tharman Shamugaratnam and K Shanmugam respectively. Over the past few decades, the ruling party traditionally harvest their candidates from the civil service, especially the top performers. Unfortunately today, PAP candidates like Chee Hong Tat are getting fewer which essentially resulted in the slew of failed policies formulated by unqualified and inexperienced (usually like the two profiles above) Ministers who have no clue what they are up to. If there can only be one candidate among the six I give the benefit of the doubt, it will be Chee Hong Tat.
There are also speculations that members of the PAP youth wing, the Young PAP, will be selected to be PAP candidates. This is often not true because the YPAP members are usually used as suicide squad like Victor Lye Thiam Fatt in the Workers’ Party stronghold Aljunied GRC. YPAP members also have very bad reputation and according to party insiders, rank below the members of the government-controlled union NTUC