Do you see what we see in the Cabinet reshuffle? Yup, that’s a 4G team right there.

07/06/2022

In what many analysts and opinion writers described as “non-disruptive” and “minimalist”, we see the latest Cabinet reshuffle as “crystal clear”.

That’s right, it is clear that the 4G team is crystallising, with leader Finance Minister Lawrence Wong as primus inter pares. He will be promoted to Deputy Prime Minister on Jun 13, 2022 and importantly, he will be Acting Prime Minister in the absence of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Now, you are probably thinking: the only thing that is clear is that Mr Lawrence Wong is on track to take over the reins from PM Lee in the future.

Before we go into the main gist of this article, we’d like to say that Mr Wong’s appointment as DPM is a major advancement of the succession plan and this development shouldn’t be taken for granted. Indeed, this point was noted by Associate Professor Tan Ern Ser of the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore, who told CNA that the reshuffle “cuts out the uncertainty and speculation”.

Ok, end of important digression.

You see, in this “minimalist” reshuffle, what’s important is not who is moving where but who is staying put.

And who’s staying put?

All the ministers.

This is the surest sign of the formation of a 4G team with support from the experienced ministers like Senior Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam, plus experienced heads like Ministers Ng Eng Hen and K Shanmugam continuing to steady the ship in their respective Defence and Home Affairs portfolios.

Yes, it must be said that stability within the Cabinet in this increasingly unstable world Singapore is operating in is important.

But beyond that, the lack of any major moves allows the current 4G ministers the opportunity to flourish in their own roles and create a brand new social compact, referred to as Forward Singapore by Mr Wong, for Singapore.

Mr Wong said in the May Day Rally this year: “The 4G team and I will lead an exercise to refresh our social compact. We will engage stakeholders from every sphere: unions and people in private sectors. We will seek to hear your thoughts on the economy, healthcare, housing, education and many other areas including how we can continue to support and uplift every worker.”

Be it Education Minister Chan Chun Sing changing the education landscape with continual learning; Health Minister Ong Ye Kung’s ambitious Healthier SG that looks at preventive care; or National Development Minister Desmond Lee’s hands on and ground approach to policy making, the fact remains that we are witnessing the formation of a strong 4G team.

By staying put, it also signals that they are on the right track and PM Lee’s intentions of allowing the ministers continue and advance their good work.

Mr Lawrence Wong had, in more than one occasion, said about the heavy responsibilities as the PM-in-waiting and the importance of a strong 4G team.

He said in his May Day rally speech that the 4G team will do whatever it takes to keep Singapore special.

This Cabinet reshuffle is the first step towards a special Singapore.