Post GE 2011: SM Goh & MM Lee to leave Cabinet

Is this part of 'transformation' that Mr. George Yeo was once quoted to advocate?

From Asiaone, "George Yeo: PAP must change": "If Singapore is to move forward, the People's Action Party (PAP) must change. (PAP) has to undergo a transformation if it wants to engage the new generation of Singaporeans, many of whom are angry with the Government."

In his words: "In your hearts, you know that Singapore needs the PAP. That without the PAP, there is no Singapore. But, we need a transformed PAP.

"It doesn't mean that all our problems will be solved, but it means that there will be better communication and a greater feeling for people."

So will we witness the better, stronger support for the ruling party, PAP for the next General Election? Or will it for worse?

I shall eagerly maintain this blog to later on (5 years later) update this post of mine, "Two Predictions for Singapore GE 2016".


Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew on Saturday said they have decided to leave the Cabinet for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his team to have a fresh clean slate.

In a joint statement, they said: "We have studied the new political situation and thought how it can affect the future. We have made our contributions to the development of Singapore. The time has come for a younger generation to carry Singapore forward in a more difficult and complex situation.

"The Prime Minister and his team of younger leaders should have a fresh clean slate. A younger generation, besides having a non-corrupt and meritocratic government and a high standard of living, wants to be more engaged in the decisions which affect them.

"After a watershed General Election, we have decided to leave the Cabinet and have a completely younger team of ministers to connect to and engage with this young generation in shaping the future of our Singapore.

"But the younger team must always have in mind the interests of the older generation. This generation who has contributed to Singapore must be well-looked after."

Mr Goh said he will now have more time to devote to his Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

He said this in a post on his constituency Facebook page, MParader, on Saturday, after the press statement was issued to say that he and MM Lee are retiring from the Cabinet.

Mr Goh said PM Lee can then refresh his Cabinet to forge a new Singapore consensus by rethinking policies and reshaping Singapore with fresh ideas.

He said Team Marine Parade will build a consensus on creating their 4G Home - which stands for a great home, as well as a gracious, generous and environmentally-conscious people.

In response to comments on his thread, Mr Goh said he is out of government but remains as MP for Marine Parade GRC.

"(I) will have more time to spend with residents, something I have always enjoyed doing," he said.

Mr Goh, who turns 70 on May 20, entered politics in 1976 at the age of 35, and was elected MP for Marine Parade.

He left his job in Neptune Orient Lines and in 1977, was appointed Senior Minister of State for Finance, in what was the start of a long political career.

He held various portfolios, including important ones such as Trade and Industry, Health and Defence.

Mr Goh was sworn in as Prime Minister on 28 November 1990, after then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew stepped down to pave the way for leadership succession.

He was the consensus choice of his Cabinet colleagues.

Mr Goh stepped down as Prime Minister on 12 August 2004 to pave the way for leadership self-renewal.

The topic of self-renewal was one he often spoke about.

Mr Goh believed that preparing the fourth generation leadership team was key strategy to secure Singapore's future, and he said that the current leadership transition is even more crucial than previous ones.

He said: "We need to have the best crew we can get, the competencies, the strategies, the unity, and the will to overcome crises. How successful we will be depends on how we respond to challenges and how we seize opportunities. If we adopt a passive approach, we will be like a man lost in the wilderness without a compass - we will end up walking in circles, going nowhere."

Mr Goh has been Senior Minister in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's Cabinet since he stepped down.

In that role, he engaged the leaders of the Middle East and India to expand Singapore's ties with both areas.

Minister Mentor was a term coined specially for Mr Lee in 2004, a description which reflects his role in office, and a nod to his wealth of experience.

Mr Lee's role in shaping modern Singapore started from pre-Independence in the 50s and has continued till today.

He took a tough stand on many policies, from land acquisition for development to opening the doors to foreign talent.

Having seen for himself how racial tensions can break a society, Mr Lee dedicated himself to building a cohesive nation.

In 1988, the Parliamentary Elections Act was amended to introduce Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs).

Mr Lee has always said the GRC system is to guarantee minority representation in Parliament. At least one minority candidate must be part of the team contesting a GRC.

Leadership renewal has always been a key priority for Mr Lee, who stepped down as Prime Minister in 1990.

At a National Day dinner for his constituency, he said the country's leadership renewal process is very much like the systematic way the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) renews its ranks.

Mr Lee said: "Every year, the SAF improves on what it has done from the last year. Every year, a new team takes over and we have a regular succession of capable officers taking over, and that is the way Singapore has been able to maintain itself - regular renewal of the leadership, with younger people taking over these decisive roles."

His decision to step down is perhaps a sign of the confidence in the country's leadership renewal process.

In Saturday's statement, Mr Lee said he is stepping down to ensure that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has a clean slate of younger leaders in Cabinet.

From Channel NewsAsia, "SM Goh, MM Lee to leave Cabinet".



Update: And here are some of the reactions as reported by Channel NewsAsia.

Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has said he will now have more time to devote to his Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

He said this in a post on his constituency Facebook page, MParader, on Saturday.

Mr Goh said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong can refresh his Cabinet to forge a new Singapore consensus, by rethinking policies and reshaping Singapore with fresh ideas.

He said Team Marine Parade will build a consensus on creating the 4G Home - which stands for a great home, as well as a gracious, generous and environmentally-conscious people.

Mr Goh's status update - posted online at around 6pm - drew more than 30 comments within the hour.

Some, like Alex Goh, thanked Mr Goh for his hard work these past decades.

In response to comments on his thread, Mr Goh said he is out of the government but remains as MP for Marine Parade GRC.

Seah Kian Peng, MP-elect for Marine Parade GRC, said: "He has always been our leader and he continues to be our leader in the GRC. With more involvement, we can expect more things to be done, we can expect to get more insights from him, guidance will be given. And just for him to better connect even deeper than what it is now with residents in his Marine Parade ward and also within the GRC."

Also responding on Facebook was the newly-elected MP for Marine Parade GRC, Brigadier-General Tan Chuan-Jin.

He said that it was with a very "heavy heart" that he sees this day.

Marine Parade GRC residents were shocked by the announcement, but happy that Mr Goh is staying on as their MP.

One resident said: "I just can't believe it."

Another commented: "I think it is good to let the younger generation take over, since he has contributed for so many years."

A third said: "Even though he is leaving the Cabinet now, that is his decision; we appreciate that he is staying on as our MP and looking after our estate."

Mr Goh said he will have more time to spend with residents, and this is something he has always enjoyed doing.

Meanwhile, residents of Tanjong Pagar GRC have expressed their surprise at the decision of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew to leave his Cabinet post.

Mr Lee is the MP for the Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru ward in the GRC.

However, residents were glad that Mr Lee will still continue to be their MP.

One resident said: "I was surprised to hear that. I was just reading his new book this afternoon. I did not expect him to be stepping down and so soon after the election."

Another commented: "My take is we have to live forward with PM Lee instead of MM Lee."

Meanwhile, Ang Mo Kio GRC MPs and some grassroots leaders have expressed their surprise, and they said there had been no prior indication that Mr Lee or Mr Goh would step down.

But many did not expect any major changes to the overall policy direction.

Some noted that the People's Action Party has been talking about the need for leadership renewal, and saw this as an example of walking the talk.

MP Inderjit Singh called this a major turning point for Singapore.

The MP-elect for Ang Mo Kio GRC, said: "Politics, or a Cabinet without MM, is something that we all never thought of. With MM stepping down and SM, this actually gives PM a clean slate to redraw his new Cabinet.

"And I think this must have also been because of the messages that we got during this GE, of people wanting to see a different approach."

Dr Intan Azura, MP-elect for Ang Mo Kio GRC, said: "MM and SM have done a lot for Singapore. I think we have to really appreciate what they have done for the country, what they have done for the government; they have set a really strong foundation.

"But I guess they decided that it is time for us to move ahead with the times, with the new generation of leaders."

From Channel NewsAsia, "Reactions to SM Goh, MM Lee leaving Cabinet".

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