DPM Heng steps aside as 4G leader

SM Teo to be acting prime minister in PM Lee's absence

Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean will be acting prime minister whenever Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is absent, an arrangement that will continue until the fourth-generation (4G) political leadership chooses a new leader.

This follows the announcement of the decision by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday to step aside as leader of the 4G team, citing the long-term and profound challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, his age and the demands of the top job as reasons.

Responding to queries from the media, PM Lee said that previously, SM Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security, was appointed acting prime minister in his absence.

"When Mr Heng Swee Keat was chosen as the leader of the 4G and appointed Deputy Prime Minister, I changed this to make him acting PM in my absence," he explained in a statement.

He said that with DPM Heng stepping aside as leader of the 4G team, he will revert to the past arrangement and in future appoint SM Teo as acting PM in his absence.

"This is the interim arrangement until such time as the 4G chooses a new leader from among themselves," said PM Lee.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2021, with the headline 'SM Teo to be acting prime minister in PM Lee's absence'. Subscribe