SINGAPORE — Finance Minister Lawrence Wong has been selected to be the leader of the People's Action Party (PAP) fourth-generation (4G) team, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a statement on Thursday (14 April).
This paves the way for Wong to become Singapore's next prime minister.
Cabinet ministers had affirmed their choice of Wong as the leader of the 4G team on Thursday, Lee said, adding that the decision was endorsed by all government Members of Parliament (MPs) in a party caucus on the same evening.
When Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat stepped aside as the leader of the 4G in April last year, the 4G team requested time to reach a consensus as to who should lead them as they had to focus then on the COVID-19 pandemic, Lee said.
During the past two years of the pandemic, the 4G team have worked closely together and had the opportunity to better understand each other's strengths. With the pandemic situation stabilised, they are now able to relook the issue of succession, Lee added.
After consulting the ministers, Lee said he asked former minister and People's Action Party Chairman Khaw Boon Wan to start a process involving the ministers, as well as Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin and NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng.
Khaw met them individually to sound out their views in confidence and to facilitate a new consensus on a 4G leader.
"The views of the Prime Minister and the two Senior Ministers were not sought," Lee said.
Khaw found that the overwhelming majority of those consulted supported Wong as their leader, Lee added. Earlier Friday, Khaw briefed the ministers, as well as Tan and Ng on his findings, and all endorsed the decision for Wong to lead the team. This decision was subsequently presented to and endorsed by PAP MPs this evening.
With this decision, Lee said he will make adjustments to Cabinet appointments and will announce the changes in due course.
Lee said the decision on succession is a "crucial one" for Singapore and will ensure the continuity and stability of leadership.
"The ministers recognise that the right to lead cannot be inherited. Mr Lawrence Wong and his younger team will continue to give their best to Singaporeans, and justify their trust and support."
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