It has been a whirlwind for Singapore in recent days as attention turns to the upcoming cabinet reshuffle.
The reshuffle was announced at the same time Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said that he would be stepping aside as the frontman of the ruling party’s 4G leadership.
He has also chosen to relinquish his Finance Minister portfolio.
Mr Heng was previously poised to take over the country’s Prime Minister post, succeeding PM Lee Hsien Loong, who said he would stay on until the pandemic ends.
On 9 April, national news outlet The Straits Times published a piece highlighting four potential replacements as Mr Heng’s successors: Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung; Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing; Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung; and National Development Minister Desmond Lee.
A couple of hours later on the same day, the publication also released a collection of interviews conducted by its executive editor, Sumiko Tan with four People’s Action Party (PAP) 4G leaders – notably, however, Mr Chan was missing in the lineup. In his place was Mr Heng.
Though the interview pieces did not directly address the issue of PM Lee’s potential successor, it appears that the public’s response to the article is heavily tinted with such a perspective.
Several netizens on ST’s Facebook page opined that none of the four men highlighted had the “calibre” or “steel” to lead the country as Prime Minister.
One person questioned why Mr Desmond Lee was included in this lineup, given that he was “never in the running” for the role as PM.
Others questioned the lack of diversity in the potential candidates for future PM — both in terms of race and gender.
A couple of netizens said that Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam would be a better fit for the premiership post.
Another two said that the 4G leadership is not up to par with the standards of leadership required to take Singapore forward.
“We need a 5G and not a 4G,” said one commenter.
A couple of netizens questioned why the responsibility of choosing the future PM is unilaterally decided by the PAP.
“Must the PM candidate (be) from the same party? Isn’t (the) PM role to serve the Country (and) not just the Party,” said one commenter.