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Singapore — Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s stepping aside as leader of the People’s Action Party (PAP) fourth-generation (4G) team has sparked online comparisons pitting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong not against the current Workers’ Party leader Pritam Singh but the former chief, Mr Low Thia Khiang.

“Let’s compare Lee’s leadership renewal with Low’s”, wrote one netizen in a Facebook post in a popular group on Saturday (Apr 10).

Mr Heng, who turns 60 on April 15,  explained that he would have “too short a runway” as prime minister by the time he takes over after the pandemic is over.

Some interpreted his words as a signal that PM Lee was hesitant to step down.

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“It’s clear Lee isn’t so keen to let go after all these years.
“On the other hand, Low’s been shortlisting good people, let them step up and assume leadership positions. Last year, he stepped down after 29 yrs in politics”, the netizen wrote.

Last year, after almost 40 years in politics, 29 of them as an MP, former Workers’ Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang, 64, said he was stepping down from electoral politics with no regrets.

The man who helmed the WP for 17 years said on June 25 – just before the 2020 general election – that he decided not to stand in the coming election, as he felt his work was done.

Initially a schoolteacher, the netizen wrote, Mr Low stepped forward because he was frustrated with the system.

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“No illustrious background, just a common folk like us.
He rebuilt WP, slowly recruiting talents to join the ranks, making sure not any Tom, Dick or Harry can join.

“Not only that, he groomed those candidates and allow them to participate and take on leadership role regardless of race and gender”, the netizen added, referring to current WP leaders Pritam Singh and Sylvia Lim.

Turning to PM Lee, the oldest son of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the netizen added rather harshly: “What’s his legacy for Singapore?
“How has Singapore become under his 18 years rule?”

“The most notable legacy is – Population increase!! This is the most obvious legacy under LHL. Almost doubling the population under his rule, diluting the Singapore core. Next, the introduction of the first race-based election for our President”, they wrote.

“What do you think of Lee’s capabilities, compared to Low?
“What’s his legacy, in your opinion?” the netizen asked.

Others were quick to jump in and praised the WP for their leadership renewal.

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