Hinting that the next General Election could be some time away, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the Government has not had time to think about setting up the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee – often seen as one of the final steps in the run-up to polls.
The next GE must be held by January 2017. Speaking to the Chinese media in an interview on Thursday, Mr Lee said the Government is preoccupied with the SG50 celebrations this year and hence, has had no time to think about when to set up the committee. “When it’s set up, everyone will know,” he added.
Mr Lee was also coy on whether his successor has been identified from among the current batch of Cabinet ministers. Saying it was very likely that the person is already in Cabinet, he nevertheless added that he is not entirely certain because he is looking to bring in some candidates with potential to lead the country for the next election.
But, he said, the search for his successor should be complete after the polls.
When it was pointed out by reporters that the possible successor would have little time to work with his Cabinet colleagues if he were to come from the next cohort of Members of Parliament, Mr Lee said: “But it might not be an unfamiliar face.” So could it be someone whom the public is already familiar with? “There is the possibility, certainly” he replied.
Referring to United States President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron – both of whom had no prior experience running a government department or ministry before emerging as their respective countries’ top leader – Mr Lee said the Government might have no choice but to accept such a model.
Mr Lee also said that in the next election, voters should be prepared for the possibility of junior office-holders – such as Ministers of State and Senior Parliamentary Secretaries, and not necessarily Ministers – leading the People’s Action Party teams in Group Representation Constituencies.