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Singapore deputy prime minister steps away from future management position in shock announcement

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The central enterprise district skyline from the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

Lauryn Ishak | Bloomberg | Getty Photographs

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s deputy prime minister introduced on Thursday that he shall be stepping apart so {that a} “youthful chief who may have an extended runway can take over.”

Heng Swee Keat, who was anticipated to take over from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, can be finance minister and coordinating minister for financial insurance policies.

Heng will step down from his place as finance minister on the subsequent Cupboard reshuffle, however stay in his different roles.

Lee beforehand mentioned he would keep on as prime minister till the Covid-19 disaster ends. Heng was anticipated to take over, however will now step apart because the chief of the so-called “4G group” — or Singapore’s fourth technology management.

We’d like a frontrunner who won’t solely rebuild Singapore post-COVID-19, but additionally lead the subsequent section of our nation-building efforts.

Heng Swee Keat

Singapore’s deputy prime minister

In a letter addressed to the prime minister, Heng famous that he turns 60 this yr.

“Once I additionally contemplate the ages at which our first three Prime Ministers have taken on the job, I’d have too brief a runway ought to I change into the subsequent Prime Minister then,” he mentioned. “We’d like a frontrunner who won’t solely rebuild Singapore post-COVID-19, but additionally lead the subsequent section of our nation-building efforts.”

“After cautious deliberation and discussions with my household, I’ve determined to step apart as chief of the 4G (fourth technology) group, so {that a} youthful chief who may have an extended runway can take over,” he mentioned within the letter. “Will probably be for the 4G group to decide on this individual, and I stand able to assist the subsequent chief.”

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat waves throughout a marketing campaign walkabout forward of the final election on July 8, 2020 in Singapore.

Suhaimi Abdullah | Getty Photographs

Lee mentioned he understands and respects Heng’s determination, calling it “selfless.” He added that Heng will assist him to mentor youthful ministers as they select one other chief so as to guarantee a “easy and well timed management transition.”

Singapore’s “4G leaders” mentioned in an announcement that they have been glad Heng will stay a member of their group as he continues in his different portfolios.

“We admire what a tough determination it should have been … We all know that he has made the choice with Singapore’s long-term pursuits at coronary heart,” they mentioned.

Nonetheless, they acknowledged that the “surprising flip of occasions is a setback” for his or her succession planning, and mentioned they have been grateful that the prime minister has agreed to remain on till a brand new successor is able to take over.

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