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  • The Centre of Expertise on Trade,
    Investment and Public Policy

    Singapore’s cabinet reshuffle signals coming leadership change

    Published On: 24 April 2019

    André Woolgar, Business and Policy Intern

    Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat was announced as Singapore’s new Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) on Monday, beginning his new role on 1 May. The new DPM is being widely tipped as the person who will succeed current PM Lee Hsien Loong before the next General Election due to be held in early 2021. The appointment of just one DPM is a ‘clear signal’ that Mr Heng is the frontrunner in the race for leadership succession, given that Singapore typically has two DPMs supporting the PM, according to Channel News Asia.

    Outgoing DPM Teo Chee Hean described the process as ‘the Singapore way of ensuring smooth leadership transition, continuation and stability’.

    Mr Heng is part of Singapore’s ‘4G (Fourth Generation) Team’, so-called as he would become the fourth PM of post-independence Singapore. He already has ministerial experience, holding the Finance and Education portfolios, as well as being a previous head to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).  Other members of the 4G team include Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who were both previously considered to be in the running to succeed PM Lee.

    Statistics from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) suggest Singapore’s GDP growth rate stood at 3.2 per cent in 2018. While this is solid, increasing costs for those based in Singapore and global challenges such as the US-China trade war, indicate that Singapore will need to move swiftly to maintain its position in the world economy. Mr Heng’s appointment shows the government’s statement of intent in this regard.

    Singapore will be a part of a discussion at the Asia House event, ‘The Rapidly-Growing FinTech Landscape in ASEAN: Tapping into Growth Opportunities’, featuring representatives from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and a delegation of FinTech businesses. For more information, please visit here.