PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday that he is moving boldly to put members of the fourth-generation leadership in positions of heavy responsibility, so that a new team can be ready to take over from him shortly after the next General Election.
Speaking at a press conference to announce the new Cabinet following the Sept 11 polls, where the ruling People's Action Party won 69.9 per cent of the vote, PM Lee affirmed that his successor would be from the new Cabinet - if not, "something would have gone unexpectedly", he said at the Istana yesterday.
Newly elected members of the fourth-generation leadership Ng Chee Meng and Ong Ye Kung have been appointed co-Acting Ministers for Education, while returning MPs like Ministers Grace Fu and Masagos Zulkifli have been given their own ministries to helm for the first time.
To make way for leadership renewal and to give mentorship to the fourth generation, Deputy PMs Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam will not helm specific ministries but act as coordinating ministers.
Mr Teo and Mr Tharman said yesterday that they would prioritise grooming the young ministers and helping them gel as a team.
"The task is urgent, we do not have the luxury of time," said PM Lee. "Therefore I am making a decisive move now, not an incremental one (and) putting many of the younger ones into key ministries so they can broaden their experience, learn the ropes and establish themselves quickly."
There are now 20 Full or Acting Ministers, with half of them aged below 55.
This article by The New Paper was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.