Relinquishing his appointment as Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) while continuing in Cabinet to support the new generation of leaders is the "Singapore way of ensuring smooth leadership transition, continuity and stability", DPM Teo Chee Hean said yesterday.
"Senior leaders make way in good time for the next generation, share their experience and help the next generation of leaders to succeed," added Mr Teo, 64, in a statement on the upcoming Cabinet changes.
He also said Mr Heng Swee Keat's promotion to DPM is "another important step in our leadership renewal".
From May 1, Mr Heng will be DPM while remaining as Finance Minister. He will continue to chair the Future Economy Council and National Research Foundation.
DPM Teo and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam will relinquish their appointments as DPMs and become Senior Ministers.
DPM Teo will continue as Coordinating Minister for National Security, an appointment he has held since May 2011. In his statement, DPM Teo said he will continue in Cabinet to support PM Lee Hsien Loong and DPM Heng in whatever way he can as well as work with Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and other young leaders for the security, safety and success of Singapore.
He congratulated and wished Mr Heng the very best and thanked PM Lee and his colleagues for their support in the 10 years he said he had the privilege of serving as DPM. He was appointed DPM on April 1, 2009.
DPM Teo will continue to oversee the Prime Minister's Office Strategy Group, including the National Population and Talent Division and the National Climate Change Secretariat.
Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Teo Ser Luck , 50, who was part of the Singapore delegation led by DPM Teo to China in 2012 and 2014, recalls DPM Teo as a good mentor who made himself available to everyone, and shared his opinions and perspectives.
DPM Teo has built up a rapport with the Chinese leaders over the years, said Mr Teo Ser Luck. "He comes across as a respectable statesman in the way he delivers his message to them."
DPM Teo also has a good sense of humour and puts people at ease with his friendly demeanour, he added.
Mr Zainal Sapari, an MP in the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, said: "In my interactions with DPM Teo, he has shown to be very experienced and has institutional knowledge."
A former Chief of Navy, DPM Teo became an MP in 1992 after a by-election in Marine Parade GRC. He has been re-elected five times in the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.
He has also held a range of portfolios, including Home Affairs, Defence and Education, as well as being the Minister in charge of the Civil Service until 2018.
In his statement yesterday, DPM Teo said he will run in the next general election, saying he hopes to continue to have the support of the Pasir Ris-Punggol residents to continue as their MP.
He helms the six-MP GRC and Mr Zainal said: "Over the years, he has developed a warm rapport with the residents. They are very comfortable with him, despite him being DPM."