FACTBOX-Who is likely to be Singapore's next PM after shakeup?

He served as Lee's press secretary from 1997-2003 and his principal private secretary from 2003-2005. In 2005, Ong took over as chief executive of the government's Workforce Development Agency, and three years later became deputy secretary general of the national confederation of labor unions.

Reuters | Singapore | Updated: 09-04-2021 13:38 IST | Created: 09-04-2021 13:22 IST
FACTBOX-Who is likely to be Singapore's next PM after shakeup?
Representative image Image Credit: Pixabay

Singapore's succession plans have been upended by the unexpected stepping aside of Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat as the designated successor to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. A team of so-called fourth generation leaders will choose the successor from within their ranks. Lee said he hoped to have the next leader in place by the next general election, due in 2025.

Political analysts have narrowed the list of potential successors to four - Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung, Education Minister Lawrence Wong and National Development Minister Desmond Lee. Following are some details of the four, all of whom are ethnic Chinese.

CHAN CHUN SING, 51 Chan, the trade and industry minister, has been tasked with ensuring industries operate through COVID-19 curbs and trade and supply chains remain open. He is also focused on transforming traditional industries.

Chan was raised in a single-parent household and comes from a more humble background than many peers. He is known for a down-to-earth manner. Chan was awarded a government scholarship and read economics at Cambridge University and later studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A government scholarship requires the recipient to go into public service after university and Chan spent 24 years in the military, rising to the rank of Chief of Army in 2010. He entered parliament after a 2011 general election and was appointed acting minister for community development, youth and sports, and served in the communications ministry. He later served as minister for social and family development.

He was appointed Heng's deputy on the "fourth generation" leadership team in 2018. ONG YE KUNG, 51

Transport Minister Ong has played a key role in reopening the Asian trade and tourism hub and negotiating reciprocal travel arrangements with other countries amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. He served as Lee's press secretary from 1997-2003 and his principal private secretary from 2003-2005.

In 2005, Ong took over as chief executive of the government's Workforce Development Agency, and three years later became deputy secretary general of the national confederation of labor unions. Ong studied economics at the London School of Economics, also on a government scholarship. He later studied at the Institute of Management Development in Switzerland.

Ong was among a group of ruling party candidates defeated by the opposition in a 2011 election. While waiting to stand again, he worked as director of group strategy at Keppel Corp , which is owned by state investor Temasek Holdings, with businesses from rig building to property development. He won a seat in 2015. He was previously education minister.

LAWRENCE WONG, 48 Wong, education minister and the second minister for finance, has gained a high profile as the co-chair of a COVID-19 taskforce.

He broke into tears during a speech in parliament last year as he thanked healthcare workers and others for their efforts in tackling the pandemic, winning public support. He is known for effective communication in urging the public to stick to coronavirus mask wearing and social distancing, which have helped contain the virus. The government was caught off guard by thousands of cases in foreign-worker dormitories but those outbreaks have also been contained.

Wong was previously the minister for national development, which oversees the real estate market and planning. Wong studied economics at University of Wisconsin–Madison. He also attended the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and the Harvard Kennedy School.

DESMOND LEE, 44 Desmond Lee, minister for national development, is seen as a dark house. He is the youngest cabinet member and was previously minister for social and family development.

Lee, along with Wong, were elected to the ruling party's top decision-making body in November last year. Lee studied law at the National University of Singapore and later at Oxford University.

He started his career in the civil service as a Supreme Court clerk. He spent two years at the legal policy division of the law ministry. Later, at Temasek as in-house counsel.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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