Tharman: Heng Swee Keat and the 4G team must carve their own way as leaders

Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam recently posted on Facebook regarding “a major step in leadership succession” taken today (23 April) for Singapore’s future.

In an earlier announcement by the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Heng Swee Keat will be promoted to Deputy Prime Minister with effect from 1 May 2019. It said that Mr Heng will remain as Minister for Finance, and continue chairing the Future Economy Council and National Research Foundation. It was also announced that Mr Teo Chee Hean, 64, and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, 62, will relinquish their positions as DPMs.

“Swee Keat is the best person to move up to become DPM and take over as PM during the next term of government. He has exceptional ability, mettle and the confidence of the 4G team,” he wrote in the post.

On the leadership transition, he said: “We have avoided sudden change. It may be unexciting and predictable, but it works for Singapore.”

While senior members of the Cabinet will continue to provide support to the 4G team as it takes over, he noted: “But renewal there must be, not just with a new generation of leaders but with the changing times.”

Tharman continued in his post: “Swee Keat and the 4G team must carve their own way as leaders, individually and as a team, and progressively leave their own imprint.”

Singaporeans’ views and aspirations are changing, and they will be quite different 10 years from now, he said. “Our 4G leadership will have to keep their ears close to the ground, stay open to new ideas and initiatives, and keep evolving our strategies to keep our society inclusive and vibrant. So that they retain the trust of Singaporeans and lead the country with confidence.”

He added that he looks forward in continuing to serve his Jurong constituents in the years to come.

“Our system of political renewal in government only succeeds if we complement each other and play as a team, work with Singaporeans, and never let success get to our heads or assume that all that worked in the past will work in the future. It is how the Singapore story keeps going,” he finalised.

Mr Tharman is a GIC director since May 2004 and chairman of the Investment Strategies Committee since July 2011, as well as the chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

It was also announced in the statement that Mr Tharman will be appointed deputy chairman for GIC starting from 1 May. He will be assisting chairman PM Lee to lead the board in overseeing GIC’s long-term asset allocation and portfolio performance.