Next PM will be chosen by 4th-generation ministers: Lee Hsien Loong

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking at the International Conference on The Future of Asia in Tokyo. (Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said his successor will be chosen via consensus by the younger ministers.

“They have to decide, because they have to support him, and help to make the system, make the team work,” said Lee, who was speaking during a dialogue session at the Nikkei International Conference in Tokyo on Thursday (29 September).

According to a Today newspaper report, Lee added, “I think amongst my ministers, the young ones, they will work together, they will get to know one another, they will assess one another and I think, in good time, they will work out among themselves who fits into which role best and who can be the next leader.”

The topic of leadership succession came to the fore again,following a recent poll commissioned by Yahoo Singapore, which showed Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam as the top choice among Singaporeans to succeed Lee as prime minister.

Tharman was favoured by some 55 per cent of the 897 poll respondents, ahead of fourth-generation leaders such as Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat (9 per cent) and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing (9 per cent).

On Wednesday (28 September), Tharman responded to a reporter’s question about the survey by “categorically” reiterating that he does not have ambitions to become prime minister.

The survey, carried out by media consultancy Blackbox, also showed that 73 per cent of respondents did not think that the race of a prime minister is an important criterion. Of those polled, nine in 10 also felt that the process of choosing a Prime Minister should be made more transparent.