Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, has joined the ranks of the highest decision-making body of the People’s Action Party, in a move that observers say further cements her position as part of the fourth generation of political leaders.
At the same time, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin has also been appointed the new chairman of the PAP’s Seniors Group.
The PAP announced the changes to its central executive committee (CEC) and senior wing in a statement after it met yesterday.
Mrs Teo and Mr Tan are filling the positions vacated by former CEC member Halimah Yacob, who is now President. Madam Halimah resigned from the party and its CEC, and also as MP and Speaker in August to contest the elected presidency. She was elected unopposed last month. In the statement issued by PAP organising secretary Chan Chun Sing, the CEC expressed the party’s appreciation to Madam Halimah for her service.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong will also step down as adviser to the PAP’s senior wing, as he had requested. The PAP thanked him for his “invaluable guidance and support” in the early years of PAP.SG, a seniors’ advocacy group.
Mrs Teo, 49, was co-opted into the CEC, most of whose members are voted in at the party’s biennial convention. Promoted to a full minister on May 1, she is seen as a rising member of the fourth generation of leaders. She is Second Minister for Manpower as well as Home Affairs.
Mrs Teo, who rose through the ranks to become chairman of the PAP Community Foundation executive committee, said: “I have been fortunate to contribute in various capacities. I hope to make a contribution too as a member of CEC in taking the party forward.”
Associate Professor Eugene Tan of Singapore Management University said: “It’s a passing of the baton to a younger generation of women party leaders. The challenge now is for her to be duly elected at the next party conference.”
Mr Tan, 48, who is also in the CEC, stepped down as Minister for Social and Family Development last month to be Speaker. He was elected to the CEC in January. On Mr Tan, Prof Tan said: “While he may not have a Cabinet position, as Speaker, he’s valuable. Leadership of PAP.SG is important because that’s the bastion of their support.”