According to a source close with the ruling party PAP, a fierce behind-closed-doors infighting is the real reason why the next Prime Minister is not yet decided. Two of the three front runners, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Minister of State Chan Chun Sing refused to give up their bids for the next PM post, while Education Minister Ong Ye Kung is just a distraction added by the state media to cover up the intense infighting between the two.
A key reason infighting between the 2 Ministers is over Minister Chan Chun Sing’s military profile. Most PAP cadres prefer Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat to be the next Prime Minister due to his better credentials over Chan Chun Sing, but PM Lee Hsien Loong personally prefers Minister Chan Chun Sing. Many PAP members object to Chan Chun Sing because they are worried that the country may be perceived as a military junta, considering the number of army generals holding key appointments like Education Minister Ng Chee Meng and Speaker Tan Chuan Jin.
Chan Chun Sing is Lee Hsien Loong’s favourite as Minister Heng Swee Keat does not agree as readily as the military yes-man. During Cabinet meetings, the Finance Minister has expressed reservations over “mega-projects” costing billions in spendings like Project Jewel and Airport Terminal 5 – dampening the mood of the dictator Prime Minister. Minister Heng Swee Keat also did not “perform” as well as Minister Chan Chun Sing, when the latter poured praises for the Prime Minister during the earlier Oxley Road saga saying “this shows nobody is above the law”. Minister Heng Swee Keat merely commented “let’s go back to serving the people”, much to the disapproval of Lee Hsien Loong.
Lee Hsien Loong is also worried that Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat may dismantle his Lee family’s legacy and not pave the way for his son Li Hongyi, who is currently a director with the propaganda ministry, Ministry of Communications and Information. Minister Chan Chun Sing, who used to serve Lee Kuan Yew in the same constituency, is “more loyal” compared to Heng Swee Keat.
According to state media, the next PM should be announced by September this year 2018.