Speaking to state media reporters at a government event, Law Minister K Shanmugam admitted that the current PAP administration has still not decided who to be the next Prime Minister. The S$1.1 million-a-year minister said that although they have a shortlist, the group is unable to come to consensus who would be the next world’s most well-paid politician – at S$2.2 million a year.
Despite having being in office for nearly 8 years since 2011, Minister K Shanmugam said the team is still inexperienced and needed more time:
“The phase we are at now internally is that a team has been formed. That team has been put through its paces, has held a variety of ministerial portfolios. They still need a little bit more time with Singaporeans so that Singaporeans can see them and assess them for themselves.
there is a “small group” of young ministers who meet regularly every week. In fact many of the policies are now being thought through, discussed, even designed by a younger group of ministers who meet without the PM or the senior ministers present. Every week. And then they put it to the entire Cabinet. And we look at it. So that gives them a sense of each other, a sense of assessing each other, how they can work with each other. And then we have told them, you go and choose who amongst you is going to be the primus inter pares.”
The Law Minister told his supporters to make their own speculations by scrutinising the ruling party’s internal election held this year:
“There has got to be a general election before that and some sort of indication to the public as to what the slate looks like in terms of the top leadership well before the GE. So look out for the CEC, look out for changes next year that should indicate to you how things are working out.”
Dictator Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong currently holds the secretary general position, while his Deputy Prime Ministers – Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Teo Chee Hean – hold the two assistant secretary general positions.
The state media had earlier shortlisted three Ministers, namely Trade Minister Chan Chun Sing, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung. There has been strong public opposition to Chan Chun Sing as he is a former army general who has never worked a day in the private sector, however, he remains Lee Hsien Loong’s favourite due to his dogged loyalty to the Lee family.
Chan Chun Sing is also seen as the most probable candidate to pass the premiership over to Lee Hsien Loong’s son, Li Hongyi, who is now currently a senior director at the propaganda Ministry of Communications and Information. At age 31, Li Hongyi is currently perceived as too young to inherit his father’s premiership.
In 2003, Lee Hsien Loong was made Prime Minister by his father Lee Kuan Yew in similar legalised corruption fashion, through an “interim” Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong. Without his father backing him, Lee Hsien Loong is not qualified to be PM as the country’s affairs become more chaotic by the years under his regime.