4G leaders take stronger hold of PAP’s Central Executive Committee; senior members step aside

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s fourth generation (4G) leaders have taken a stronger hold of the People’s Action Party (PAP) Central Executive Committee (CEC) following the party’s internal elections held on Sunday morning (Nov 11), with several senior leaders stepping down. 

The three 4G leaders identified as potential successors to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong when he steps down – Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat – were all among 12 members who were voted in by PAP cadres. 

PAP CEC 35

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam as well as Health Minister Gan Kim Yong were among the more senior members remaining in the CEC.

Other 4G leaders elected by cadres to the CEC, the party’s highest decision-making body were:

Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu;

Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli;

Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan;

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ng Chee Meng;

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah and,

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo were co-opted into the CEC.

PAP CEC 43Minister K Shanmugam, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and Ministers Chan Chun Sing and Gan Kim Yong at the PAP Conference and Awards Ceremony at Singapore Expo on Nov 11, 2018. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

PM Lee is likely to remain secretary-general and lead the party through the next General Election, which must be called by April 2021.

READ: DPMs Tharman, Teo Chee Hean among 5 senior PAP members to step down from Central Executive Committee

He has been the PAP’s secretary-general since 2004, a position held by Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Mr Lee Kuan Yew when they were Prime Ministers.

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Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan stepped down from the CEC, as did assistant secretaries-general Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. The three will continue to serve in Prime Minister Lee’s Cabinet.

Former Cabinet ministers Lim Swee Say and Yaacob Ibrahim also stepped down from the CEC.

President Halimah Yacob, who was a member of the previously-elected CEC, had in August 2017 resigned from the party to stand as a candidate for the Elected Presidency.

The election for the party’s highest decision-making body was conducted at the Singapore Expo by around 2,000 of the party’s cadres.

With the CEC election on Sunday, Mr Lee said in his speech to the party conference that the PAP was taking a “major step in political renewal”. He said following the elections, the new CEC would meet within “a couple of weeks” to elect a new slate of office holders.

All eyes will especially be on the two vacated assistant secretary-general posts, for hints as to who Singapore’s next Prime Minister will be.