90 seconds guide to why you should pay attention to the PAP party conference tomorrow

I am not a PAP member. Why should I pay attention to their party conference?

PAP is Singapore’s ruling party. At this year’s party conference, the cadres will elect their Central Executive Committee (CEC) – the highest decision making group in PAP. The Secretary General position is usually occupied by the PM of Singapore (if PAP wins elections). The current assistant sec-gens are DPMs Teo Chee Hean and Tharman. Whoever takes over from either Teo or Tharman (or both) can be regarded as very likely PM-successors.  

But only PAP members get to vote right? I don’t have a say in the voting.

In fact, not all PAP members get to vote. Only the cadres – very senior and loyal members – can choose who gets into the CEC. That will be more than 2,000 of cadres we are talking about.

Cannot be PM if you are not in the CEC?

Party cadres can choose 12 members into the CEC, meaning these 12 have the highest votes from the cadres. The CEC members can then co-opt the 13th and 14th highest vote-getters on the spot, and up to another 4 in the next few months. Votes = support. If you want to be PM or anywhere near the top leadership core, you need to be a well-supported leader in your own party. If not, a bit hard to convince other Singaporeans lah. Just like what this cadre told ST:

PAP_cadre support

So who are those in the running?  Got Halimah? I quite like her.  

Mdm Halimah is now the President of Singapore and is not a member of any political party. She resigned from PAP before she decided to run for Presidency so she is not involved in this party conference in any way.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat and Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung have been widely known as the front-runners for future PM position.


CEC elections is held once every two years.  Below is a quick look-back at who were in/not in for the past three terms. The chances for the 2016 group in this year’s election are summarised from the ST article published today.

PAP CEC members for past few terms, and chances of 2016 members tomorrow
  2012 2014 2016 Chances in 2018
1 Khaw Boon Wan Khaw Boon Wan Khaw Boon Wan Will be in if contesting
2 Yaacob Ibrahim Yaacob Ibrahim Yaacob Ibrahim Not contesting
3 Lee Hsien Loong Lee Hsien Loong Lee Hsien Loong Confirmed
4 Teo Chee Hean Teo Chee Hean Teo Chee Hean Will be in if contesting
5 Tharman Tharman Tharman Will be in if contesting
6 Lim Swee Say Lim Swee Say Lim Swee Say Not contesting
7 Shanmugam Shanmugam Shanmugam Confirmed
8 Gan Kim Yong Gan Kim Yong Gan Kim Yong Confirmed
9 Grace Fu Grace Fu Grace Fu Almost confirmed
10 Chan Chun Sing Chan Chun Sing Chan Chun Sing Almost confirmed
11 Heng Swee Keat Heng Swee Keat Heng Swee Keat Almost confirmed
12 Ng Eng Hen Tan Chuan-Jin Josephine Teo** ?
13 * Tan Chuan-Jin Halimah Yacob Tan Chuan-Jin ?
14 * Vivian Balakrishnan Ng Eng Hen Vivian Balakrishnan ?
15 ^ Halimah Yacob Masagos Masagos Almost confirmed
16 ^ Lawrence Wong Lawrence Wong Ong Ye Kung Very likely
17 ^ Denise Phua Liang Eng Hwa Sitoh Yih Pin Likely no
18 ^ Seah Kian Peng Baey Yam Keng Murali Pillai Likely no

  *13th and 14th highest vote. **Co-opted after Halimah’s resignation. ^Co-opted by CEC

Ok fine. But whoever becomes my PM will also depend on the next GE right?

That’s true. Only the top leaders of a ruling party can be in contention for country’s top leadership positions.

If any case, the PAP party conference will be at Singapore Expo tomorrow morning. If you are going to the Robinson Sale or Winter Time Extravagant Sale there, just take note that human and vehicle traffic may be very heavy in the morning and afternoon (when the conference ends).