ESM Goh: I want to make sure there’s a strong 5G team after 4G

Speaking at a dialogue held during a book festival yesterday (22 Dec), Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong told the media that he wants to make sure there is a strong 5G team to lead Singapore after the 4G team.

“The last bit that I want to do is make sure that there is a strong 5G team to lead Singapore over the next 20, 30 years. After that, I won’t be around,” he said.

“I’m a strong believer in managed political succession,” he added. He hopes to help current leaders bring in new blood before he retires.

ESM Goh’s comment came after Heng Swee Keat and Chan Chun Sing have been officially named by PAP to be their 4G leaders. Heng has been appointed PAP’s first assistant secretary-general while Chan the second.

During the dialogue, Goh said that countries, like companies, need to plan for new leaders. Political succession cannot be left to elections, which he likened to “a throw of dice”.

“Our lives are being governed by that throw… I believe each time we throw the dice, it must come up with ‘6’ (the highest number on a dice), which means that political succession is very important for us,” he said.

Li Hongyi named by his uncle and aunt

So far, the People’s Action Party (PAP) has not named any potential candidates for its 5G leaders but last year, during the Oxley House squabble, PM Lee’s siblings, Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang, did mention their nephew’s name, Li Hongyi.

In a public statement made on 14 Jun last year, Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang said, “We have observed that Hsien Loong and Ho Ching want to milk Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy for their own political purposes. We also believe, based on our interactions, that they harbour political ambitions for their son, Li Hongyi.”

The next day (15 Jun), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong issued a public statement denying this. Such a claim is “absurd”, he said in a statement responding to his siblings’ claim.

“I am deeply saddened by the unfortunate allegations that they have made. Ho Ching and I deny these allegations, especially the absurd claim that I have political ambitions for my son,” said PM Lee.

On the same day, Li Hongyi also came out to say he is not interested in politics. In a brief Facebook post, he said, “For what it is worth, I really have no interest in politics.”

Li Sheng Wu, grandson of LKY who works as an economist at Havard University at Cambridge and currently in self-imposed exile due to the ongoing charges for contempt of court filed by the Singapore government, was earlier interviewed by International news agency, Al Jazeera for a 25-minute documentary film, “Singapore: The House That Lee Built” that talks about the control of powers and fear of citizens in Singapore which came under the rule of late Lee Kuan Yew.

Speaking on Li Hongyi’s Facebook post that he is not interested in politics in the documentary, he said: “The thing about being not interested is that it can remain uninterested till you become interested. If he didn’t want to be in politics, he could have said things a lot more clearly and in a way that would be at least a little bit difficult to walk back.”

In the lead up to the upcoming election which is pretty much confirmed to be next year, Li Hongyi seems to be stepping out into the limelight with his project at GovTech being featured during the National Day Rally and making speeches at government events.

Would Li Hongyi eventually become Singapore’s 5G leaders? Only time will tell.

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