Photo of Ong Ye Kung from Straits Times

Distancing himself from Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung yesterday (Jan 28) told state media reporters that he support Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s comments to give more time to select a new PM. Minister Ong Ye Kung, who has been in the Cabinet for the past 2 years, echoed the PM saying that the ministers need more time to know each other:

“It is good that Singapore leaders are not constrained by an artificial deadline when choosing the next prime minister from among the country’s younger ministers. PM has said that it will need a while longer. I think it’s useful. As our younger-generation ministers have said, we would select somebody to be the leader among us in good time. So I think it’s good not to be constrained by six or nine months. We still need time to work together, know each other well and, among us, I’m sure a leader will emerge.”

Minister Ong Ye Kung, who shares half the Education Ministry with Education Minister Ng Chee Meng, is one of the three short-listed candidates alongside Minister Chan Chun Sing and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

There is currently an infighting between former army general Chan Chun Sing and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, where both refused to give up their claims resulting in an impasse. Despite having only spent his entire career in the army, PM Lee prefers Minister Chan Chun Sing as the ex-military man is more obedient and more likely to hand over the premiership to his son Li Hongyi. However, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat is popular with most PAP MPs due to his capabilities and experience as former managing director of Monetary Authority of Singapore.