Finance Minister Lawrence Wong the first choice of an 'overwhelming majority' among 4G leaders

No one else garnered more than two votes each.

Sulaiman Daud | April 16, 2022, 02:53 PM

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Finance Minister Lawrence Wong was the choice of the "overwhelming majority" for leader among the "4G" leadership of Singaporean politicians.

On April 16, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, former Transport Minister, former PAP chairman Khaw Boon Wan, and Wong himself were at a media conference.

This followed a momentous announcement on April 14 that Wong had been chosen as the new leader of Singapore's 4G leadership team.

Khaw Boon Wan on the selection process

Khaw revealed that he interviewed 19 "stakeholders", comprising the Cabinet plus Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng.

PM Lee and Senior Ministers Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Teo Chee Hean were not consulted on their views.

Khaw had individually approached the cabinet ministers after Budget 2022 and the Committee of Supply Debates. The interviews were carried out over three weeks, with each interview lasting up to an hour.

He asked them about their preferred choice of leader (other than themselves) and to rank them in order of preference.

Khaw said the stakeholders were "very candid".

15 of the 19 chose Wong as their preferred leader, while none of the other names garnered more than two votes each.

Khaw said that due to having a "clear outcome", there was no need for him to discuss who was "second or third choice".

"Suffice to say that Lawrence was the first choice of an overwhelming majority," Khaw said.

When he presented his findings to Cabinet on Thursday, "all collectively endorsed the decision to have Lawrence Wong lead the 4G team, as did the PAP MPs at a party caucus later on."

A reporter asked why Khaw was chosen to lead the selection process instead of the 4G team choosing by themselves.

PM Lee replied that fundamentally, they were looking at bringing everyone together and reaching a choice of a new leader in a way that fosters consensus and trust.

He added that it would help the new leader to consolidate his understanding, build his team and build his ability to lead Singapore forward.

He referred to previous occasions where the next leader was chosen in different ways.

Different methods

In the case of Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, PM Lee's predecessor as PM, "a small group of us," met informally after the 1984 elections, at most six, and made a decision.

In PM Lee's own case, former Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng chaired a group of ministers, hosted lunch and settled it over lunch.

"We all, I was very moved that everybody felt it was a straightforward matter and we came to a conclusion very quickly," he said.

Top image via Prime Minister's Office/YouTube.

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