Heng Swee Keat is set to be PAP's first assistant secretary-general and run Singapore as new PM

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat suffers a stroke
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat Reuters

The finance minister of Singapore, Heng Swee Keat is set to become first assistant secretary-general of People's Action Party (PAP) on Friday, November 23 and he will be the successor of current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The newly elected highest decision-making body of the party, PAP's Central Executive Committee (CEC) is expected to decide its office bearers on Friday. But, as per TODAY, the PAP has already made the decision about the posts of assistant secretary-general.

While the 57-year-old Heng is set to become their first assistant secretary-general, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, 49, will be selected for the second assistant secretary-general post. Heng was the former managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and then shifted to the Education Ministry. Both the of these ministers joined politics after the 2011 General Election.

Singapore's Minister Chan Chun Sing speaks before a MOU signing ceremony between Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX) and China Construction Bank Corp (CCB) in Singapore April 25, 2016.
Singapore's Minister Chan Chun Sing speaks before a MOU signing ceremony between Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX) and China Construction Bank Corp (CCB) in Singapore April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su

However, the first assistant secretary-general is also expected to take over PM Lee as the PAP's secretary-general and will run the country after the next General Election, which will take place by April 2021.

The source told TODAY that Heng was selected for such role because the party felt that he "can rally the ground" and is the "first among equals". The unnamed senior party leader, who also believed to have knowledge about the discussion and the leaders, said that many of the fourth generation leaders have chosen Heng to be the top leader among them even before the CEC elections that took place on November 11.

"Now that we have settled that, we can focus our attention on making the 4G team stronger," the party source said adding that on Friday, PM Lee will conduct a press conference to announce the final decision, taken by CEC.

As reported, Heng was likely to be named as the first assistant secretary-general on the basis of various indications and they were told that Heng is going to be the successor of PM Lee as the 4G leaders felt that his "humility" and "brilliance" is perfect to make him an "effective leader."

Earlier, speculations arouse about the question related to PM Lee's successor. Along with Heng and Chan's names, the Education Minister Ong Ye Kung's name also came under the spotlight.

In October, Ong withdrew his name from the race and later it was reported that his name was not suggested by the outgoing CEC to be voted into the party's highest decision-making body.

In May 2016, after suffering a stroke, Heng was out of the political map for a while. But, it should be noted that during his leg, Heng co-chaired the Committee on the Future Economy, which is responsible for the strategic creation of country's next phase of growth. Heng also led the project called Our Singapore Conversation and till date, almost 20,000 Singaporeans have shared their ideas and thoughts about the country through the OSC dialogues. In 2015, he took over the role at Finance Ministry.

The expected candidate for second assistant secretary-general post, Chan is a former army general and started his political career as Minister of State and then step into the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts. He is currently working as the Minister-in-charge of the Public Service and Deputy Chairman of the People's Association.