Future PMs should take office at a younger age

Singapore's prime ministers have successively taken office at an older age ("PM: Up to younger ministers to decide on next leader"; yesterday).

Mr Lee Kuan Yew became Singapore's founding prime minister at age 35 , while Mr Goh Chok Tong took office at 49. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was 52 when he took the job.

The batch of young ministers who were picked and groomed to be future leaders - such as Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who was in his late 30s when he entered politics - are now in their early 60s, and are considered no longer young enough to be in the running to become the next prime minister.

After the next general election, slated to be held by 2021, the new prime minister, from the current generation of young ministers, may well be in his 50s or 60s.

The leadership renewal process should be relooked to ensure future prime ministers do not take office at an older age than their predecessors did. They should also step down in a timely manner to allow the next person to take over.

Allowing our future prime ministers to take office at a younger age while grooming the next batch of leaders will allow for smoother leadership renewal.

Aaron Ang Chin Guan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2016, with the headline 'Future PMs should take office at a younger age'. Print Edition | Subscribe