PAP unveils new party leadership with 4G leaders at helm; Tharman, Teo Chee Hean among heavyweights who step down

SINGAPORE – The People’s Action Party (PAP) renewed its top leadership ranks on Sunday (Nov 11), formally marking the start of Singapore’s next phase of political renewal that will see fourth-generation leaders at the helm.

Heavyweights like Deputy Prime Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam are no longer on the central executive committee to take the PAP to the next general election.

Instead, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s new team, voted in at a party conference on Sunday (Nov 11), comprises in no particular order:

  • PM Lee
  • Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam
  • Health Minister Gan Kim Yong
  • Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat
  • Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu
  • Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing
  • Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli
  • Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah
  • Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ng Chee Meng
  • Education Minister Ong Ye Kung
  • Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin
  • Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan

Twelve of them received the most votes from about 2,000 cadres gathered at the Singapore Expo on Sunday, while Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo were co-opted, receiving the 13th and 14th highest votes.

Mr Ng Chee Meng and Ms Indranee were the two new members of the CEC.

The new CEC will lead the party into the next general election.

“We have only two years left to prepare for the next GE,” PM Lee said.

“The PAP must win the GE convincingly,” he added. “We will do so, as we have always done by uniting Singaporeans, not dividing them.”

Sunday’s changes – which PM Lee labelled “a major transition point for the party” – were in part possible because five longstanding party leaders stepped down.

PM Lee thanked outgoing party chairman Khaw Boon Wan, vice-chairman Yaacob Ibrahim, assistant secretaries-general Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam and treasurer Lim Swee Say for their contributions over the years.

“They have played vital roles in the last few CECs, they put in place plans so that PAP can remain relevant and relatable, they led the party in helping residents resolve their problems,” he said in Mandarin.

In his English speech, he said the new line-up is a “major step forward in our political renewal”, and that the list of positions will be revealed after the new CEC meets.

“In due course, I will follow up with changes in the Cabinet line-up,” he said.

Noting the smooth transitions of power from founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew to his successor Goh Chok Tong, and from Mr Goh to him, PM Lee said he hoped the party would give their “whole-hearted support to the new CEC and our 4G leaders”.

The 4G team, he said, has been in Cabinet for several years, and tested in several portfolios.

“It is a team of able men and women, with a good combination of skills amongst them. They are gaining experience, willing to serve, and most importantly, with their hearts in the right place,” he said.

“I can see them gelling as a team, and am confident that they have what it takes to lead Singapore.”

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