Be thankful for smooth leadership transition here

(From left) Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will be promoted to Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Teo Chee Hean, 64, and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, 62, will become Senior Ministers and remain in Cabinet.
(From left) Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will be promoted to Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Teo Chee Hean, 64, and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, 62, will become Senior Ministers and remain in Cabinet.PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM, MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, JAMIE KOH

The news on the Cabinet reshuffle and orderly passing on of leadership in Singapore may be seen by many as the norm (Heng to be Deputy PM; Teo and Tharman to be Senior Ministers, April 24). Perhaps it is time for needful reflections on this matter by Singaporeans.

In many contexts, the "battle" for leadership is often tainted by much shedding of blood, and selfish ambitions. One thing we need to nurture is a sense of gratitude and thankfulness that, in our context, the current leaders are not just willing to step down for the new generation of leaders, but are also willing to help out in the transition.

Let us not forget that those who took on leadership roles were willing to sacrifice their time, talent and privacy.

No leadership is perfect. Even though different people may vary in their assessment of the wages that should be accorded to those in leadership positions, we must not begrudge them what they deserve for their service.

It is understandable for people to complain when they are affected negatively by policy changes, but we need to look at the big picture and realise that there is much we can be positive about as a nation.

The statement by outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, that the new leadership will have to "keep its ears close to the ground", is helpful.

These concerns of the public should not only be heard, but also be addressed. There also needs to be better communication from those who lead to those who need to understand the changes that need to be effected.

Quek Koh Choon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2019, with the headline 'Be thankful for smooth leadership transition here'. Print Edition | Subscribe