Will Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong take on the role of Senior Minister, just like prime ministers before him, after he hands over the reins of government?
This could happen if the words of current deputy prime minister, Teo Chee Hean, are heeded by Singapore’s “4th Generation” leaders.
At the Singapore Perspectives 2018 conference organised by the Institute of Policy Studies, DPM Teo said that while there is a need for leadership renewal, he hoped the younger generation of ministers would see the benefits of having some “more senior” members in the Cabinet to ensure continuity.
DPM Teo said that this is one of the unique features of Singapore’s political system, and former prime ministers have remained in Cabinet as senior ministers and minister mentor after stepping down.
Singapore has had 4 Senior Ministers to date:
S. Rajaratnam (1985 to 1988)
Lee Kuan Yew (1990 to 2004)
Goh Chok Tong (2004 to 2011)
S Jayakumar (2009 to 2011)
We have also had one Minister Mentor (Lee Kuan Yew) and one Emeritus Senior Minister (Lao Goh).
DPM Teo said that having senior Cabinet members was beneficial and a “great help” for younger members of the Cabinet in the past, he said of his own experience.
He said that he hopes the younger leadership would also see the usefulness and benefits of such an arrangement.