4G team will need a little longer to decide on leader, says PM Lee at PAP convention

SINGAPORE – The issue of choosing the next prime minister is an important matter that cannot be put off indefinitely as the Covid-19 situation stabilises, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday (Nov 28).

“The 4G team will need a little longer to make a decision. But I am confident they will settle it well before the next general election comes around,” he said.

“I am sure that they will make a wise choice, and that in due course I will be able to hand over the nation into good hands,” he added in a speech at the annual gathering of People’s Action Party (PAP) cadres and activists.

The next general election must be held by November 2025.

Covid-19 has been a stern test for the team, testing their resolve both individually and collectively, said PM Lee. “The whole 4G team deserves a lot of credit for managing the Covid-19 situation.”

This team is one that Singapore can depend on, and can trust in good times and tough times, he said to applause from the audience.

“I ask all party members to give them your full support, to work with you and to take the nation through the next bound.”

PM Lee, who is PAP secretary-general, was speaking on the issue of leadership renewal in his speech, including identifying promising people to field as candidates in future elections.

The party is already expanding its touchpoints and starting its recruitment process, he said.

“We have many tea sessions lined up, which is an encouraging sign because it shows strong interest in the party, in the platform, and more importantly, that many Singaporeans are willing to step forward to serve the country, and to fight for the Singapore which they believe in,” he said.

Renewal is needed not only for MPs and branch secretaries, but ministers as well as the prime minister, said Mr Lee.

He said that the pandemic has delayed his succession plans.

Separately, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Heng Swee Keat announced in April he would be stepping aside as the leader of the 4G team.

PM Lee said that as DPM, Mr Heng – who is the PAP’s first assistant secretary-general – remains a key member of the 4G team, carrying heavy responsibilities, especially for the economy.

The 4G ministers have since relooked at the issue of succession, he said.

“They have said this before, and I repeat what they say: It is not about selecting a ‘boss’ or the winner of a ‘race’.

“It’s not a reality show; it’s deadly serious, life-and-death decisions for Singaporeans. It is about developing a strong team and settling among themselves a primus inter pares – first among equals, one who can bring others together and bring out the best of every member of the team.”

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