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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced last Friday (27 Sept) that the ruling People’s Action Party’s (PAP) fourth-generation (4G) leaders are ready for the impending General Election (GE). He added that the PAP is “ready at any time” for the next GE.

The first firm step towards the next election, which must be held by April 2021 at the latest, was taken earlier this month when the Government announced the formation of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC). The convening of the EBRC precedes the calling of an election and signals that the next GE is imminent.

The next election will be one that directly precedes leadership renewal within the PAP. PM Lee, who has served as head of government for over 15 years since 2004, has said that he hopes to hand over his post to his successor after the next GE.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat is widely perceived as the candidate that has been chosen to succeed Mr Lee, especially after he was appointed first assistant secretary-general of the PAP and Deputy Prime Minister several months ago.

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Mr Heng’s cohort of PAP leaders include Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and labour movement chief Ng Chee Meng. The PAP has been handing out increasing responsibilities to this cohort of leaders, in preparation for the next phase of leadership within the party.

Speaking to reporters at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last week, PM Lee said that the 4G leaders are familiar with issues like housing and healthcare affordability since they have been in politics for some time.

He added: “Before that, many of them have been in the public service for some time. So they are familiar with the problems.”

PM Lee, however, noted that no amount of preparation can make anyone 100 per cent ready until they are the ones in-charge of making decisions. He said: “One great advantage they have is that we will all work together to support them and to make sure that they succeed, whether they are old or whether they are young. We want them to succeed. They are the Singapore team.

“It’s not just the team of leaders but really the team of younger ministers as well as these younger Singaporeans whom they’ve got to form the bond with, and mutual confidence.”

Asserting that Singapore must also stay together to pull through, PM Lee added: “And if we can work together, then we can see through the rough weather ahead… Therefore, let us all get together and support the Singapore team, wear the same badge and we pull in the same direction. We are better off than nearly any other country in the world.” -/TISG

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