SINGAPORE - Members of the ruling People's Action Party's (PAP) fourth-generation team on Saturday (Nov 24) emphasised the importance of the leadership transition announced on Friday and pledged to work with Singaporeans as the country enters a new phase.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat was named the party's first assistant secretary-general on Friday, making him the most likely candidate to be Singapore's next prime minister. He asked Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing to be his deputy, and Mr Chan was named PAP's second assistant secretary-general.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Ng Chee Meng said: "This (transition) is important because as we chart our way forward, we not only want a strong Singapore that is prosperous, safe and secure... We also want to build a more inclusive society."
Mr Ng, who is also National Trades Union Congress secretary-general, added: "When the 4G leadership eventually transits and leads Singapore, may we pull together as one. Pull together to care, to build for each other... (and ensure that) all Singaporeans will share in (the country's) success."
He was speaking at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore's 16th student graduation and achievement awards ceremony at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
The theme of a united leadership and building a brighter future was touched on by Mr Ng's fellow PAP Central Executive Committee (CEC) members - Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong - in separate Facebook posts.
Ms Fu, who was made organising secretary of the CEC and will be succeeded as chairman of the PAP Women's Wing by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, said the fourth-generation team has become stronger and is "united in our purpose of serving the people of Singapore".
Mr Wong, who was co-opted into the CEC on Friday, said the fourth-generation team "fully (supports)" Mr Heng and Mr Chan as their leaders.
"Now that the leadership transition is in place, we will step up efforts... to serve all Singaporeans to the best of our abilities," he wrote.
Former Cabinet minister Yaacob Ibrahim, who has stepped down from his role as vice-chairman of the PAP CEC, referred to the recent release of Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong's biography, Tall Order, which recounts Mr Goh and his peers' rise in office. He wrote on Facebook that the two events are "similar yet different in many ways".
"As one found its own voice and style 30 years ago, the current selected leaders must also find their own voice and style with an entirely different electorate. It's a totally different world now compared with 30 years ago. It is indeed a 'tall order' to find your own style.
"But given time and space, I am confident our new leaders will be their own persons governing with conviction and compassion. Singaporeans deserve nothing less."
At a focus group discussion on land transport issues on Saturday, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who stepped down from his role as party chairman, also urged Singaporeans to support the fourth-generation leadership.
He noted that Singapore's ability to anticipate and plan for future transport needs, especially infrastructure projects such as MRT lines, also hinges on the economy's performance and sustained support for the country's political leadership.
"When they are successful, the country will also achieve success, and we will all benefit," he told participants in Mandarin.