Following an internal party election at the 2018 party conference yesterday (Nov 11), Singapore’s ruling political party PAP saw the stepping down of five ministers including the two Deputy Prime Ministers.
According to the ruling party, the internal party election, allegedly voted for by 2,000 anonymous party cadres, placed 12 most popular candidates as the party’s leadership known as the Central Executive Committee (CEC).
There is however no information disclosed on the vote count of each candidate, and nobody knows who is a “party cadre” either. According to an earlier government newspaper Straits Times article, the cadre members are anonymous and none of them would publicly disclose their position. It is understood that all PAP MPs are cadres, and so are certain grassroots leaders from the People’s Association (PA).
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching, was also present at the conference donning the party’s trademark white uniform.
According to the ruling party, all twelve new CEC members won the votes on merit. However this would mean five ministers who stepped down have lost in the election and been “voted out” of CEC.
The Prime Minister did not mention if the names of the five were put up for election in the first place. There is also no footage of the voting ever taken place, or the government newspapers reporting on the election process. The election result was declared in a mere day by the Prime Minister himself.
Whichever the case, the “election” reeks of vote rigging due to its lack of transparency and accountability.
Below is the list of the 5 Ministers and former Ministers who left the CEC:
1) DPM Teo Chee Hean
2) DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam
3) Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan
4) Former Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim
5) Former Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say
Below are the 12 “most popular” members “elected” into the CEC:
1) Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
2) Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam
3) Health Minister Gan Kim Yong
4) Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat
5) Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu
6) Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing
7) Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli
8) Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah
9) Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ng Chee Meng
10) Education Minister Ong Ye Kung
11) Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin
12) Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan
The new list however did not indicate who would be the next Prime Minister-in-line, much to the disappointment of the ruling party supporters.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, currently the country’s oldest minister at age 66, had previously indicated that he would step down by 70 years old. The PM however was not able to find a replacement yet, and there has been concerns from within the party that the new PM would lack experience as he would have less than 3 years as the Deputy Prime Minister.
There are currently 3 Ministers shortlisted by the government papers, namely former army general and Trade Minister Chan Chun Sing, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung. Among the 3, Minister Chan Chun Sing is named as a favourite as he has a military background that entails loyalty and obedience to Lee Hsien Loong even after the latter step down.
It has been indicated from previous leaderships that Lee Hsien Loong would ascend himself to a Mentor Minister equivalent, like as his father Lee Kuan Yew did when he was alive.