Singaporeans will get clearer idea of next prime minister in 2019: Shanmugam

Singaporeans will get clearer idea of next prime minister in 2019: Shanmugam

K Shanmugam corporate governance
Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam at the launch of the 9th Corporate Governance Week on Monday (Sep 24). 

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans will have a clearer idea of who will become the country's next prime minister next year, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said on Monday (Sep 24).

Speaking at a corporate governance event, Mr Shanmugam said the next generation of leaders have been given different portfolios. 

"The phase we are at now internally is that a team has been formed," he said. "That team has been put through its paces, has held a variety of ministerial portfolios. They still need a little bit more time with Singaporeans so that Singaporeans can see them and assess them for themselves." 

Mr Shanmugam said there is a "small group" of young ministers who meet regularly every week. 

"In fact many of the policies are now being thought through, discussed, even designed by a younger group of ministers who meet without the PM or the senior ministers present. Every week," he said. 

"And then they put it to the entire Cabinet. And we look at it. So that gives them a sense of each other, a sense of assessing each other, how they can work with each other. And then we have told them, you go and choose who amongst you is going to be the primus inter pares."

Mr Shanmugam said that an indication of who will become Singapore's next prime minister could come from the People's Action Party's Central Executive Committee election which is slated for later this year. 

READ: Singapore's next PM 'very likely' already in Cabinet, says PM Lee

"This year, there will be a party conference in Singapore, (in) PAP, which happens once every two years. There will be a CEC elected," said Mr Shanmugam. 

"Look out for the slate of candidates elected. Look at the positions they hold and that should give you an indication of where the transition process is and from there ... 

"Next year will be an important year because PM said he would step down in four years.

"There has got to be a general election before that and some sort of indication to the public as to what the slate looks like in terms of the top leadership well before the GE. So look out for the CEC, look out for changes next year that should indicate to you how things are working out," he added.  

Source: CNA/hs(ra)