In a statement, the 4G Team describes the unexpected turn of events as a setback for succession planning. The statement said, “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.”
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong who is the Chairman of the People’s Action Party’s chairman, had chaired a meeting to discuss and agree to a statement after DPM Heng’s announcement to step aside as the next PM so that a younger leader can lead Singapore in a post-COVID-19 world. The meeting was attended by almost all political office holders except PM Lee, DPM Heng and Senior Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Here is the statement reproduced in full:
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.