SINGAPORE - The People's Action Party (PAP) co-opted four new members into its highest decision-making body on Friday (Nov 23) and also named younger political leaders into key appointments.
Changes in the ruling party's 35th Central Executive Committee (CEC) will see the 4G leaders stepping up to the plate, with more experienced members acting as advisers, political observers said.
The four co-opted CEC members are: National Development Minister Lawrence Wong; Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee; and MPs Christopher de Souza and Sitoh Yih Pin.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, the PAP's newly minted first assistant secretary-general, said that the four were co-opted after "very careful consideration" of the strengths that they could bring to the CEC's decision-making process.
"What we want is to enlarge our CEC, so that we can reach out to different groups of people, and to have people with perspectives that can add to the breadth and depth of our decision-making," Mr Heng said at a press conference on Friday (Nov 23).
Mr Lee, who is also Second Minister for National Development, and Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu will be the CEC's organising secretaries.
They take over the organising secretaries positions from Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung.
Mr Chan was chosen as the PAP's second assistant secretary-general while Mr Gan is the new CEC chairman. Mr Ong will be the assistant treasurer, with Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam as treasurer.
The vice-chairman of the CEC is Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli.
The chairman, vice-chairman and treasurer positions became vacant after Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, and retired ministers Yaacob Ibrahim and Lim Swee Say stepped down from the CEC.
Deputy Prime Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who also stepped down from the CEC, were the previous first and second assistant secretaries-general.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong remains as PAP's secretary-general.
Dr Felix Tan, an associate lecturer at SIM Global Education, said of the new CEC office-holders: "There is a good balance between those who have the experience to continue policies within the party and the Government, and those who are coming with a new perspective, the younger leaders."
Dr Tan said he expects the more experienced CEC members to take on an advisory role and see how the 4G leaders can "push the envelope".
"They are coming in with a new perspective on how they can further improve on policies that have been around, or impending policies that will affect Singaporeans," Dr Tan added.