It was announced on Thursday, Apr. 8, that DPM Heng Swee Keat is stepping aside as the leader of the People’s Action Party fourth generation (4G) leadership team.
Decision not related to GE2020
During a press conference held on Apr. 8, Heng clarified that the results in GE2020, where he had contested in East Coast GRC as an anchor minister, was not why he decided to step aside.
On the results of the election, he said that it “is not for (him) to judge, it’s for others to judge.”
Heng had noted that “East Coast [GRC] needed reinforcements” at that time.
“I decided to go. It was a completely new ground for me and I did my best,” he said. He also added that he had met East Coast GRC residents who told him that they changed their mind and decided to vote for the PAP.
Previously, he had spent nearly 10 years at Tampines GRC.
Speaking at the press conference, Heng emphasised that he is 60 this year, and spoke about the “short runway” by the time he takes over in his mid-60s.
In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on April 8, Heng had also explained that given the current prolonged crisis that Singapore faces, it would be in the country’s interests to be led by a younger leader to take over as the next prime minister.
“We need someone who’s younger, with a longer runway,” he said.
PM Lee & 4G leaders’ response
PM Lee has thanked DPM Heng for his “selfless decision to stand aside”, and said that he understands and respects this decision.
The 4G team said on Apr. 8 in a statement that they respect and accept Heng’s decision to stand aside as the leader of the 4G team.
They also said that they have requested for PM Lee to stay on as PM until a new successor is chosen by the team and “ready to take over”, which PM Lee has agreed to.
Top photo by Zheng Zhangxin.