Picking next PM should not be constrained by 'artificial deadline': Ong Ye Kung

Yahoo News Singapore file photo
Yahoo News Singapore file photo

Just days after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that choosing his successor will probably take longer than the end of this year, one of the frontrunners for the role has said that the process should not be constrained by an “artificial deadline”, according to media reports.

Speaking on the sidelines of a community event on Sunday (28 January), Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung reiterated Lee’s point that the next prime minister need not emerge so quickly.

“PM has said that it will need a while longer. I think it’s useful. As our younger-generation ministers have said, we would select somebody to be the leader among us in good time,” Ong, who is also the Second Minister for Defence, said.

“So I think it’s good not to be constrained by six or nine months. We still need time to work together, know each other well and, among us, I’m sure a leader will emerge,” he added.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong had said in a Facebook note at the end of 2017 that he hoped the prime minister’s successor could be identified within six to nine months. Lee said Goh was speaking “with the privilege of watchings things, rather than being responsible to make it happen”.

Alongside Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing, Ong is considered one of the top contenders to become Singapore’s next Prime Minister.

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