State media Straits Times shortlisted 6 Ministers for the new Prime Minister role and it appears none of them are qualified for the position. Here is why:
1) Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat
Initially in the front-running position given that current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was also Finance Minister before, Heng Swee Keat’s chances blew away after he suffered a stroke. While he gained popularity from the successful government propaganda as someone who works too hard, his health problems will remain the major obstacle to the position even though he is recognised as the most suitable candidate among the 6. Unlike other Ministers, he is a minority who is not from the Singapore army.
2) Minister without portfolio Chan Chun Sing
Currently also NTUC chief, Minister Chan Chun Sing is second-in-line due to his army general position. Even though he has been sidelined to the likes of Minister Lim Swee Say, his hopes rekindled after Heng Swee Keat suffered a stroke. Minister Chan Chun Sing has the most number of public gaffes, just above Minister Tan Chuan Jin, and both are often slammed for being out-of-touch with their insensitive statements. Both army generals have never worked anywhere other than the Singapore army since they enlisted. However, the only difference is that Minister Chan Chun Sing is a distant relative of Lee Kuan Yew, and that the Minister is like a younger brother to Lee Hsien Loong.
3) Education Minister Ong Ye Kung
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s favourite apparently. Ong Ye Kung was failed to brought in during the 2011 batch under the Aljunied GRC ticket, but went backdoor successfully again under Tampines GRC. Minister Ong Ye Kung is however inexperienced and currently sharing his education minister position with Ng Chee Meng.
4) Education Minister Ng Chee Meng
The former army general is a selective yes-man, who has been very careful with his words and has seen no gaffes so far. Again, the Minister is unlikely called up for the position because of his inexperience. The Education Ministry is an easy portfolio because maintaining status quo is sufficient to preserve the existing quality of education. Minor tweaks like PSLE changes are needed and recommended by the education ministry.
5) Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong
Minister Lawrence Wong is the cookie cutter-made elite, who often publicly display his displeasure to criticisms and speeches by Opposition MPs. Again, the National Development portfolio is also an “easy” ministry like Education. There has been zero policies proposed by Lawrence Wong since he took position in 2015.
6) Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan Jin
The army general is a hardliner on political power. Minister Tan Chuan Jin supports censorship and often slam criticisms as lies. His support took a tank when he denies the elderly poverty problem by claiming that elderly people who collect and sell cardboard are merely doing so for exercise. A Tan Chuan Jin Prime Minister would catapult Singapore back to hardline dictatorship, with none of the economic benefits.
Surprisingly, unlike the President position, there is no mention of minority races among the PM candidates or the lack of diversity given that Singapore has never had a non-Chinese Prime Minister before.