Thursday, 19 May 2011

Something Old, Something New

Although the two most senior men in the PAP recently announced their retirement from Cabinet, both as predicted remain very influential, albeit behind the scenes.

LKY is to be Senior Advisor to GIC which is Singapore's largest investment vehicle and the Goh Chok Tong has become Senior Advisor to MAS as well as being anointed as Emeritus Senior Minister, which has a distinctly academic ring to its title.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng as well as Mah Bow Tan and Raymond Lim have retired from the Cabinet.  In the case of Wong Kan Seng one presumes that he was retired, after a decent interval of time, following the debacle of the Mas Selamat escape which caused great embarrassment to the government.

I am not at all surprised by the rapid elevation of Tharman Shanmugaratnam in the PAP ranks.  His appointment as one of the two Deputy Prime Ministers is a reflection of his political presence and acumen.  I recall meeting at the launch of the ill fated UNSW Asia when he was Minister of Education.  He was eloquent, attentive and a man of considerable bearing.

Teo Chee Hean, the other Deputy Prime Minister could also be a future PM of Singapore as he too has the presence and political nous to succeed.

Someone else who impressed me in the past was Madame Halimah Yacob and I note she has been made a Minister of State for the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

It will now be interesting to see how the Opposition responds as they have this term to bring their star players to the fore.  Sheer weight of numbers from the government benches will make this a difficult but not insurmountable task.

To succeed further they will need to stick to championing the issues that the people of Singapore want addressed, and not succumb to petty inter-party squabbling which has been a problem in the past.
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