Asia Minute: Singapore’s Cabinet Reshuffle

Apr 25, 2018

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the 2012 World Economic Forum
Credit World Economic Forum / Wikimedia Commons

President Trump is not the only world leader dealing with a changing cabinet. The leader of Singapore has announced a series of moves of that are drawing attention from outside the country. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has announced one of the largest cabinet reshuffles of his administration; making changes at the top of all but one senior government agency.

But unlike some governments, these changes don’t reflect scandal or political fallout.

Analysts say they’re part of a process setting up potential political succession. Lee is only the third leader that Singapore has ever known. His father, Lee Kwan Yew was the founding Prime Minister — serving in that role from the country’s birth in 1965 until 1990.

Goh Chok Tong led the country for the next 14 years — until Lee Hsien Loong took over in 2004.

Now he’s been in office for 14 years, and political observers say the identity of the next leader is far from settled among senior bosses of the dominant People’s Action Party. So the focus has turned to what’s generally called “4G.” Not a type of wireless service, but the “fourth generation” of leadership for the still relatively young nation of Singapore.

Several publications inside and outside Singapore identify three main candidates who are in the running — and they all have cabinet posts.

Singapore's Parliament House
Credit William Cho / Flickr

They include the Finance Minister, the Education Minister, and a former chief of the army now serving as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.

As for how long the succession process may take in Singapore, there’s no clear timetable.