Give young ministers more 'cooking time'

I refer to the People's Action Party's plan to have young ministers take over the leadership and, after the next general election, crown one of the fourth-generation leaders as prime minister (Big test awaits 4G leaders as next GE nears; Nov 12).

To me and other like-minded Singaporeans, it is a huge political mistake to sideline the veterans in the present Cabinet and not consider them for the prime ministership.

The veterans may be in their late 50s or 60s but they have a lot of drive and life in them. Over their many years as Cabinet ministers, they would have worked with at least two former prime ministers.

They have developed, in the public eye, a certain gravitas and charisma and have been nurtured well in terms of political and leadership exposure.

The younger ministers still have a long active road ahead of them, and it might not be an unwise move to wait until they are 55 to 60 years old before making them prime minister.

We should really consider how much political, administrative and professional experience will be wasted in the present system of selecting political candidates.

Why shouldn't retired top civil servants, businessmen or professionals be inducted into politics and made Cabinet ministers like in the days of Mr Hon Sui Sen, Mr K. M. Byrne and Mr Lim Kim San?

I have great respect for our young ministers and for their intelligence, vibrancy, efficiency and capability, but it will take more political exposure, nurturing and, sometimes, eating humble pie before they can be seen as emitting the aura, charisma and down-to-earth approach of the veterans. They need more cooking time before they are sourced for the top job.

Lim Ang Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2018, with the headline 'Give young ministers more 'cooking time''. Print Edition | Subscribe