PAP 4G team says more time needed to pick new leader after Heng Swee Keat steps aside

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat with ministers (from left) Desmond Lee, Grace Fu and Ong Ye Kung during a press conference at the Istana on April 8, 2021. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

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

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