Skip to main content

Cabinet Changes, A Team and Strategies for General Election

In a closer look at the recent cabinet changes and the so-called preparation for A Team, the PAP is preparing to lose at least one GRC and hopefully, the decline in popularity can be stopped by the passing and remembering of LKY.   

Since GE 2011, the PAP’s popularity has declined. The unpopular Population White Paper, the Little India Riot, the illegal strike of bus drivers, and many other social issues, e.g the SengKang West, rat problems ...etc. have pushed down the PAP’s popularity to below 60%. The passing of LKY has helped to pull up to the support to GE2011 level. Even with 60% support, the PAP can still lose a GRC or more if wrong strategies are applied or some unlucky things (for example, major breakdown of MRT or internet) happen.

What are the strategic implications for this 5th cabinet changes?

PM Lee may be honest and he is showing us the PAP’s 4th generation A Team: Chan Chun Sing, Tan Chuan-Jin, Heng Swee Keat (not affected by the change), Masagos Zulkifli, and perhaps, Liu Tuck Yew. Lim Swee Say as a toothpick minister can be re-used if voters in East Coast GRC give his team another chance. Otherwise, the PAP is preparing to lose this GRC.

The ministers, affected by the recent cabinet changes, are all sitting members of parliament in the hotly contested GRCs in GE2011. These are East Coast, Tampines, Moulmein-Kallang, Marine Parade, and Tanjong Pagar. Chan CS and Tan CJ will have to lead the teams without LKY and Goh Chok Tong respectively. Tanjong Pagar will see the first election after more than 20 years.

The lead ministers in each of the involved GRCs are and will be:

East Coast: Lim Swee Say
Tampines: Heng Swee Keat and Masagos Zulkifli
Moulmein-Kallang: Yaacob Ibrahim and Liu Tuck Yew  
Marine Parade: Tan Chuan-Jin
Tanjong Pagar: Chan Chun Sing

Besides Tanjong Pagar, all these GRCs are located in the east of Singapore and are expected to see life-death competition in the coming GE. These are the GRCs most likely to see further breakthroughs for the opposition.
Traditionally, a GRC will at least have one PAP minister. Even though Lim Swee Say is stepping (and resigning from NTUC) down from his NTUC post, PM Lee still wants to keep him rather than let him retire totally like Wong Kang Seng or Mah Bow Tan. East Coast is vulnerable and it will most likely face the B Team from Workers’ Party.  However, it still needs a lead minister. By injecting a new minister or adding another minister will not change the balance but risk losing one more minister.

Hence, it is better to leave the toothpick minister there. It will be a bonus if voters decide to re-use the toothpick another time and helps the PAP MPs retain their seats.  Otherwise, the PAP is psychologically preparing to lose East Coast. On strategy, it is losing small (toothpick, peanut) but retaining the big (4th generation A Team).

Tampines, Marine Parade and Moulmein-Kallang are all expected to see very tough competition. Perhaps, PM Lee will request Goh Chok Tong to stand again and so all three GRCs will have two ministers or one minister plus a former PM. The PAP is using these three GRCs as defence to prevent the spread of oppositions into other part of Singapore.

How strong is the defence? Will there be another ‘dangerous’ GRC for the PAP?    
Tanjong Pagar is an uncontested GRC.  Although a stronghold of the PAP due to LKY, no one can really assess correctly the electoral mood there. In addition, Chan Chun Sing is a controversial figure, especially in social media. In military term, this paper general may need additional support fire and heavy equipment but from where? Who can help him?

If the PAP fails to defend these 5 GRCs, the 4th generation A Team will be gone. If they only lose East Coast, the A Team will be saved. If they only retain half of the remaining four, then half of the A Team is gone.

When we look closer at this so-called A Team, do you think they deserve to remain there?  If not, which GRCs would you like to see the change?  Many will agree, even the PAP supporters, to let Lim Swee Say go. He is not in the A Team, just a toothpick. In the social media, netizens will pick Chan Chun Sing and Liu Tuck Yew.  

PM Lee presents his A Team as a defence to his continuing rule. He is preparing to lose small in East Coast. If the political mood is not in his favour, he wants the A Team to defend and contain the spread of oppositions. This is his simple calculation. If A Team is able to defend their GRCs, fine, PM Lee can continue to lead the government. If A Team fails to defend their GRCs, PM Lee can still be a PM with a reduced majority. This perhaps is a better outcome for him. Without A Team, without succession, PM Lee can extend his retirement further.

Now, do you have a better understanding of the cabinet change and A Team? And maybe a clearer picture of PM Lee’s succession strategy? The lose or win of A Team will not affect PM Lee position if the silent majority in the PAP remains silent. A Team as a political succession plan is not as simple as what you read in the mainstream media. It has a double meaning which the MSM only tells you the half truth and ignoring the voice of silent majority within the PAP.    

It is a win-win situation for PM Lee.  However, is it a win-win situation for the PAP as a sustainable political identity? To a large extent, it is also a win-win question for Singapore. People inside and outside the PAP will have to watch the strategic options of PM Lee closely.

The story of Singapore joining Malaysia and then leaving Malaysia was a win-win situation for LKY and his PAP. But was it a win-win situation for people in Malaysia and Singapore?       


  1. Thanks for the predictive analytics.


  3. This is nice informative blog in which you discuss about changes in cabinet and strategies for general election. Thanks for sharing this and keep sharing.

    Ballot Boxes | Voting Booths | Ballot Boxes China


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog






行动党和李显龙总理,就是看准了,看透了新加坡人的心理,表明这是司法程序,在法庭、在法律上,行动党政府都不会被打败。那些敢于挑战法律的人,在新加坡的短短50多年的建国历史中,下场都是以悲剧结束。最近的一个例子, 就是新加坡最年轻的政治犯余澎杉在美国的遭遇。同样一个人,不同的国情,命运也不一样。
今年的总统选举,基本上已经是没戏看了。大家大约都可以估算到结局。反而是三、四年后的大选,存在变数。 行动党也了解,要重获2015大选的佳绩,在没有造神运动的条件下,似乎是不可能。因此,要维持一个高得票率,就必须出一些怪招。把非选区议员人数增加到12位,就是给人民一个小甜头。如果真的上当,新加坡就清一色没有非行动党的市镇理事会了。

李显龙的幻象:新加坡人对他的 dishonorable 行为无动于衷。

李显龙当然有焦虑,正如他的妹妹和弟弟对他的指责:Dishonorable son。李显龙害怕人们对他的诚信起疑心,因此,在国会搞了一个自辩。既然国会没有提出相关资料证明他的诚信有问题,那李显龙就是清白了。
李显龙的确有焦虑,但是,他却认为新加坡人很乖,很听话: 给你们什么总统候选人,你们就会认命接受; 想提告什么人,就提告,法律面前人人平等,没有人有意见; 给什么议长人选,国会就认命接受; 地铁误点误事,任何解释,人民都会接受; 无现金就是无限金,跟不上是你的错; 糖尿病就少吃白饭,多吃糙米饭;。。。。
这是一种李显龙独特的焦虑幻象。他很焦虑,自己无法做得比老爸好,甚至连吴作栋都不如。他也焦虑在后工业时代,新加坡无法创造高薪职位给年轻人;新加坡无法照顾贫穷老弱,无法为他们提供医药服务; 接班人无法胜任挑战; 新加坡人在无限金时代,成了乡下佬; 地铁和教育服务提不上来; 。。。
陈川仁自愿减薪出任国会议长,不论是升职还是降职,已经充分说明,他在国会外,在行动党的职业保护伞外,无法找到一份比国会议长,还要高薪水的工作。 这点显示他不如海军出身的吕德耀。吕德耀即使找不到高薪职位,也毅然离开内阁和国会。 陈川仁,为李显龙成川成仁,却也凸显接班人的素质问题和骨气问题。他们离开了行动党的大树,如何面对现实生活?李显龙能…