The first strong indication came when Mr Heng Swee Keat was chosen as the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) first assistant secretary-general in November last year. It placed him as the party’s highest office-holder from among Singapore’s crop of fourth-generation leaders, second only to secretary-general Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Five months later, he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister, leaving observers no room for doubt. It was clear that the bespectacled, soft-spoken Mr Heng was his party’s top pick for Singapore’s next prime minister.

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