SINGAPORE - After Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat informed his fellow ministers of his intention to stand aside as leader of the fourth-generation team, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, in his capacity as the People's Action Party's chairman, chaired a meeting to discuss and agree to a statement.
The meeting was attended by almost all of the political officer-holders, as well as Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress Ng Chee Meng. Only Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, DPM Heng and Senior Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam did not attend.
Here is the statement from the 4G team.
We respect and accept DPM Heng Swee Keat's decision to stand aside as the leader of the 4G team. We appreciate what a difficult decision it must have been. But no one could have foreseen the disruption of Covid-19, the great uncertainty it has created, and its long-lasting impact. We know that he has made the decision with Singapore's long-term interests at heart.
Over the past two years since he was appointed as DPM, Mr Heng has played a critical role in leading key initiatives of the Government - championing the Singapore Together movement, guiding our national and economic restructuring efforts, and delivering five Budgets in 12 months to protect lives and livelihoods in the midst of a global pandemic.
Believing in the collective strength of our people, he has engaged individuals, communities and groups widely, and enabled their active participation in improving our economy and society.
We are glad that DPM Heng will remain a member of our team, and will continue in his roles as DPM and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies. We have all benefited from his experience and expertise, and we look forward to his continued advice and contributions as we navigate our recovery and chart Singapore's path forward.
Tackling Singapore's pressing immediate challenges and ensuring that Singapore emerges stronger from this crisis remains our foremost priority. Under these circumstances, the 4G team will need more time to select another leader from amongst us. We have therefore requested PM Lee Hsien Loong to stay on as Prime Minister until such time when a new successor is chosen by the team and is ready to take over. We are grateful that PM has agreed to our request.
This unexpected turn of events is a setback for our succession planning. We recognise that Singaporeans will be concerned. We seek your support and understanding, as we choose another leader for the team. We will continue working as a team to serve our people, and to earn the confidence and trust of all Singaporeans.
Minister Vivian Balakrishnan
Minister Ng Eng Hen
Minister K. Shanmugam
Minister Gan Kim Yong
Minister Chan Chun Sing
Minister S. Iswaran
Minister Lawrence Wong
Minister Grace Fu
Minister Masagos Zulkifli
Minister Desmond Lee
Minister Ong Ye Kung
Minister Josephine Teo
Minister Indranee Rajah
Minister Mohamad Maliki Osman
Minister Tan See Leng
Minister Edwin Tong
Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin
Senior Minister of State Heng Chee How
Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng
Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat
Senior Minister of State Amy Khor
Senior Minister of State Janil Puthucheary
Senior Minister of State Sim Ann
Senior Minister of State Zaqy Mohamad
Senior Minister of State Koh Poh Koon
Minister of State Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim
Minister of State Low Yen Ling
Minister of State Desmond Tan
Minister of State Sun Xueling
Minister of State Alvin Tan
Minister of State Gan Siow Huang
Minister of State Tan Kiat How