Progress Singapore Party (PSP) voices its concern over the stepping down of Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat as designated successor to the Singapore Prime Minister.
In a short statement issued by the newly appointed PSP Secretary-General Francis Yuen, the party notes that DPM Heng’s decision does not augur well for Singapore in a time of major economic challenges to the country.
The party is concerned that will shake the confidence of Singaporeans and foreign investors.
Just yesterday, DPM Heng announced that he will not be running for the Prime Minister position, and will also be relinquishing his role as the Finance Minister due to his age and fear that he cannot fulfil the exceptional demand of the job.
In a letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday, DPM Heng, who turns 60 this year, noted that he would have “too short of a runway” to become the next Prime Minister as he would be in his mid-60s when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
“But when I also consider the ages at which our first three prime ministers took on the job, I would have too short a runway should I become the next prime minister then.
“We need a leader who will not only rebuild Singapore post-COVID-19, but also lead the next phase of our nation-building effort,” he wrote.
In his reply to DPM Heng, PM Lee who is currently 69, said he understood and respected Mr Heng’s decision, and was glad that he has agreed to stay in the Cabinet.
Separately, the next generation of leaders — the fourth-generation (4G) leadership — said in a statement that they would “need more time to select another leader from among us” given their priority to handle the country’s pressing immediate challenges and ensure that Singapore emerges stronger from the COVID-19 crisis.
“We have therefore requested PM Lee Hsien Loong to stay on as Prime Minister until such time when a new successor is chosen by the team and is ready to take over. We are grateful that PM has agreed to our request,” it noted.
In the press conference held yesterday, PM Lee said: “They (the 4G team) and I are very conscious that succession remains an urgent task and cannot be put off indefinitely.”
Speaking at the same press conference, DPM Heng said: “Singapore politics is not about self but what is good for Singapore, and I have been constantly thinking of what is in the best interest of Singapore and Singaporeans.”
DPM Heng will remain as Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies.