Singapore said to name Heng ruling party’s No 2


SINGAPORE • Singapore’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will be named first assistant secretary-general of the country’s ruling political party, the Today newspaper reported, paving the way for him to succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (picture) as premier.

The People’s Action Party will announce its new office holders today though choices for the key assistant secretary-general positions have been decided upon, Today newspaper said, citing unidentified party sources.

Heng, 57, is expected to assume the position widely seen as the second in command to Lee. Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, 49, will be the second assistant secretary-general.

Lee has signalled he intends to hand over the premiership by the time he turns 70 in 2022. The country’s general elections must be held by early 2021.

Heng began his career in the Singapore Police Force, later entering the civil service and serving as principal private secretary to Lee Kuan Yew after he stepped down as prime minister.

He has held the post of finance minister since 2015, and previously served as education minister and MD of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

During a Cabinet meeting in 2016, Heng collapsed from a stroke, but recovered and came back to work three months later.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television earlier this month, Heng said any new Cabinet would have to be fully committed to working closely with the country’s partners all over the world and looking into the wellbeing of Singapore and its citizens.