Despite being silent on the slew of train breakdowns, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan today (Sep 4) chided the state media Straits Times editor, Han Fook Kwang, for publishing an article saying that the selection process of a Prime Minister is not transparent.
“I am surprised by Mr Han Fook Kwang’s article (“Relooking leadership renewal in Singapore”, Aug 28). He, of all people, should know that the process by which we choose prime ministers is anything but “opaque”.”
You may view his letter to the state media here.
According to the Transport Minister, the Prime Minister position is chosen by the Ministers of respective ministries through an internal election process. Given the single party majority domination with only 9 Opposition members in Parliament, the selection lies solely in the hands of the ruling party PAP. Minister Khaw then pointed to Australia’s political system, mocking them for changing 5 prime ministers in five years.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was guaranteed the Prime Minister position because of his dictator father Lee Kuan Yew who selected only his supporters as MPs. Lee Hsien Loong has been in power for the third term and in his 13 years. There is no constitution on the limit of the number of years a Prime Minister can serve like other democracies, where a leader can only serve two terms maximum.
The recent fainting episode during the National Day Rally speech suggested that Lee Hsien Loong’s health is weakening. The 64-year-old could barely give a 3 hour-long speech even though he is still below the retirement age of 67, unlike other elderly in their 70s who are working manual labour with long hours. The likely candidates for the next Prime Minister are Chan Chun Sing, Tan Chuan Jin, Heng Swee Keat.