Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, has resigned from his positions, effective immediately. The announcement was made in a statement by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday, July 4, 2023.
In the statement, Lee said that Heng had decided to step down to focus on his health. Heng has been battling health problems in recent years, including a stroke in 2020.
Lee said that he had accepted Heng’s resignation with “regret” and thanked him for his “tireless service to Singapore”. He also said that he would be appointing a new Deputy Prime Minister in due course.
Heng’s resignation is a significant development in Singapore politics. He was widely seen as the frontrunner to succeed Lee as Prime Minister.
Heng Swee Keat’s Career
Heng Swee Keat was born in Singapore in 1961. He studied economics at the University of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the Singapore Civil Service in 1984 and held a number of senior positions, including Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister and Minister for Education.
Heng was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister in 2015. He was seen as a rising star in the People’s Action Party (PAP), Singapore’s ruling party.
Heng’s Health Problems
Heng suffered a stroke in 2020. He was hospitalized for several weeks and underwent surgery. He has since made a full recovery, but he has said that he will need to take it easy and avoid stress.
Impact of Heng’s Resignation
Heng’s resignation is a blow to the PAP and Singapore politics. He was a popular figure and was seen as a capable leader. His departure leaves a void in the PAP’s leadership.
Lee has said that he will be appointing a new Deputy Prime Minister in due course. However, it is unclear who will be appointed. Several potential candidates include Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, and Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong.
Heng Swee Keat’s resignation is a significant development in Singapore politics. It will be interesting to see who is appointed as his successor and how this will affect the PAP’s leadership.