New leader to ‘certainly’ emerge before next General Election: PM Lee Hsien Loong

Nicholas Yong
Assistant News Editor
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hosting an Asean working dinner in Singapore last month. (PHOTO: Reuters / Asean 2018 Organising Committee)

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Wednesday (16 May) that the pick for his successor will “certainly” emerge before the next general election, in his clearest comment to date on the timeline for a succession plan.

Speaking in Parliament, Lee said, “I know everyone is anxious to know who the next PM will be.”

He added, “The leader must command the respect and loyalty of his whole team. He must enjoy the support and confidence of the broad mass of Singaporeans. And these things take time. They cannot be forced.”

Lee added, however, that he does not believe the government is ready to settle on the choice of the next prime minister just yet. “Nor is it helpful to treat this either a horse race, or a campaign to lobby support for one or the other candidate. This is a team game, we want a strong cohesive team, so that Team Singapore is the winner.”

The 66-year-old noted that the fourth-generation ministers now helm two-thirds of the ministries. “Let’s give them the time and space to do their own work, to work together in their own roles and to get better known by the public.”

He added, “I’m confident that when the time comes for me to hand over to a new Prime Minister, Singapore will be put into the hands of good stewards.”

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