Heng Swee Keat Likely To Be Next Assistant Sec-Gen Of PAP

The People’s Action Party (PAP) will be announcing the line-up for its Central Executive Committee (CEC) – the party’s top decision-making body – this Friday (23 Nov).

Among the roles to be filled is “First Assistant Secretary-General (ASG)”. This position is significant because, according to political observers, the person who fills it will likely become our next Prime Minister (PM).

According to The Straits Times, the decision of who to appoint was already made on Wednesday (21 Nov).

And in a separate report by TODAY, a senior PAP member said that the chosen candidate is Finance Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat.

However, it may be wiser to wait for the official announcement by the PAP tomorrow.

First Assistant Secretary-General

According to senior researcher at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Dr Gillian Koh, the potential PM must “certainly move into that position (First ASG)” to be primed for leadership — both of the party and Government.

If we look back at past PM Mr Goh Chok Tong’s history, we’ll see that he was also 1st ASG before his election to the role of PM in 1990.

PAP Convention ’90 Awards Ceremony
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Our current PM Mr Lee would later take over the role of First ASG when Mr Goh was elected to Secretary-General in 1992.

So if the past is any indication of the future, we may just be looking at our next PM when the First ASG is named tomorrow.

The role is currently held by Deputy PM Mr Teo Chee Hean.

Mr Teo, together with 4 other veteran ministers, will be stepping down from their positions in the CEC. This move follows the CEC elections earlier this month. The roster change paves the way for the new generation of ministers and leaders.

From 3 to 2 to 1

The 2 likely candidates for the role of First ASG are Finance Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat and Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing.

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Earlier this year, many thought that there were 3 front-runners — the third being Education Minister Mr Ong Ye Kung.

But Mr Ong was supposedly ‘taken out’ of the race after a report about a special “inner core group” within the CEC surfaced on 13 November. CEC members are voted into this group by outgoing members. Those who aren’t in the group are unlikely to end up as PM.

Things are certainly speeding up after PM Lee said that an election could happen as early as next year.

As we await PAP’s announcement tomorrow, let us know how you feel about Mr Heng possibly taking on the mantle of Prime Minister in the comments.

Featured image from Heng Swee Keat on Facebook.