Political transition to 4G leaders

Heng's opening remarks at press conference

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat was appointed first assistant secretary-general of the People's Action Party, making him the most likely candidate to succeed Mr Lee Hsien Loong as Singapore's next prime minister.

"We fully appreciate the significance of today's milestone in the process of political leadership renewal. Singaporeans take a keen interest in the leadership renewal of the PAP. They will like to see a strong and united political leadership working in close partnership with our people to take Singapore and Singaporeans forward.

Our three prime ministers were well-respected figures both at home and abroad. There is natural interest in who will succeed them, but it is just as important that we have a strong, united and cohesive team in the Cabinet.

We must connect with our party members and our people and complement one another with our different strengths. The younger ministers have chosen me to be their leader, and I have accepted. It is my privilege to serve. I am deeply conscious of the heavy responsibility that I am taking on.

Leading the party and governing Singapore are massive and complex tasks. No one person can do it alone. Not even Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who had the help of able, stout-hearted colleagues. I am heartened that I have the backing of a strong team.

Our team has strengths in different areas and a range of skills to deal with a complex set of internal and external challenges. Based on our experience of working together in the past few years, I am confident that we will work well together to take Singapore forward and to improve the lives of Singaporeans.

As the new team steps up to its responsibilities in the months ahead, I look forward to the continued support and counsel of PM and our senior colleagues. We must also continue to grow this team to continue assembling the most dedicated and most devoted group of men and women to serve Singapore.

In particular, I have asked Chun Sing to be my deputy and he has agreed. I am grateful for his support and also thank my colleagues for supporting my choice. I am looking forward to working even more closely with Chun Sing. We have worked well together for several years now in the Our Singapore Conversation, organising the SG50 celebrations, the Future Economy Council and the party.

 
 
 

Chun Sing has many strengths. Our styles and areas of expertise complement each other well. I am confident that in the years ahead, our partnership will grow even stronger. Together with others in the team, we can advance Singapore in different areas.

I also thank all PAP MPs for endorsing me as the next leader and Chun Sing as the deputy at the party caucus today. As the President said at the opening of Parliament in May this year: "The right to leadership cannot be inherited, and every generation must earn the right to lead."

We will work hard to earn the trust and confidence of Singaporeans, just as PM and his team did before. This is a very important task that has already begun and will gather pace. We will need new actions and new connections with every generation.

Over time, we will develop our own style of governing in keeping with the aspirations and needs of Singaporeans. We will continue to reach out to Singaporeans at different stages of life and different segments of society, each contributing back to society in different ways. We will take concrete actions to address Singaporeans' needs and concerns.

Singapore is still a very young country. After 53 years of going through thick and thin together, we are not done building the nation. We must dedicate ourselves to writing the next chapter of the Singapore Story. We must have confidence that we can make it happen. We look forward to partnering Singaporeans to build a brighter future for Singapore."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2018, with the headline 'Heng 's opening remarks at press conference'. Print Edition | Subscribe