The elevation of Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat to the post of the People's Action Party's (PAP) first assistant secretary-general puts him on course to become the next prime minister. With Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing as second assistant secretary-general, members of the fourth-generation leadership now form the bulk of the party's central executive committee, its top decision-making body. It is good that the speculation is finally over and the identities of those who will likely take the helm at Singapore's next political transition are now known, ahead of the next general election, which must be called by April 2021 but could be held earlier.
An orderly transition to an altogether new political generation would depend on Singaporeans being able to closely assess the political capabilities and personal attributes of the ruling party's new leaders. Mr Heng is no stranger to the aspirations Singaporeans have. He combines an affably consultative approach to politics with the proven ability to act decisively at moments of crisis. At the helm of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, though, he navigated Singapore's monetary policy decisively through the worst post-independence recession in 2009, averting widespread economic dislocation. His stewardship of the Our Singapore Conversation series in 2013 demonstrated his readiness to engage extensively with citizens as a crucial part of the policymaking process.