5 Jun 2004

Lee Hsien Loong

What others say
Some foreign media excerpts of PAP's selection of Singapore's new leader.
Jun 5, 2004


BBC
Few analysts expect a radical change in government policy.
(Outgoing prime minister) Mr Goh Chok Tong, who was once written off as a weak, transitionary figure - a mere seat-warmer for the Lee family - has become popular among ordinary Singaporeans.
His deputy, on the other hand, is seen, like his father, as a stern, authoritarian figure.

The Age, Asustralia
Asia Editor, Mark Baker

The Lee dynasty has cemented its dominance of Singapore politics for another generation with the endorsement of Lee Kuan Yew's eldest son as the country's next prime minister.
The elevation of Lee Hsien Loong, who is Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister and chairman of the central bank, will tighten the Lee family's grip on political and corporate power..
But there is speculation Mr. Lee (Kuan Yew) will announce his retirement once his son is installed as prime minister..

Nation (Thailand)
Editorial

For at least another generation, Singapore will be moulded by the Lee family..
There is no question the Lee Hsien Loong is an intelligent, capable and experienced bureaucrat..
The government has through various public relations efforts tried to soften the younger Lee'ss stern image but it is hard to escape the perception that he is a hard chip off the old authoritarian Blood.
In a speech in January seen as giving an outline of his plans Singapore, Lee echoed his father while warning political opponents of their fate if they became too vocal. "They are fully entitled to (criticise), but the government has to rebut or even demolish them," he said.
It is precisely this kind of thinking that makes Lee's elevation worrying because he is so much like his father. Such ncompromising leadership was perhaps needed to transform Singapore from a malarial swamp to the most modern city in Southeast Asia, especially at a time of political volatility.
But if Singapore is to prosper in the future it will need to allow more input from more voices in society, not a population that from pre-school awaits direction on every aspect of their lives from how many children they can have to how they should save their money from a father-knows-best government; it will need a strong parliamentary opposition to question and scrutinise policy.
Ultimately, it will need a people who are weaned off the idea that they need the Lee family.
Jun 5, 2004
The Little Speck

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The country as such cannot be dependent on a specific family to run it. What it needs is strong leadership & people with a common & clear vision guiding the rest of the population towards stability & success.

And we have that right now...

The fact that MM Lee Kwan Yew made Singapore cannot be denied. Neither can anyone deny what the earlier PM Goh Chok Tong has done for the benefit of the country. Our current PM Lee Hsien Loong is following the footsteps of his predecessors in guiding us towards a more secure future. The fact that the first PM was his father does not warrant so much speculation & scrutiny.

In any case, begining with the legacy of LKY, we see only benefits to Singapore. If ONE person did not have steel in his veins to take a tough stand & impose restrictions, Singapore would never be where they are currently. The country is admired & respected by the rest of the world for it's prosperity, political stability, cleanliness & lack of crime to just name a few.

While more voices can be encouraged to enable a wider perspective, it's a fact that the island has achieved it's success based on a few visionaries. All of them from the PAP, a couple who are related as father & son... The Singapore population need not await direction in every aspect of life, but it needs a government that imposes & enforces strict policies & reforms, a government that has the foresight to execute CPF contribution & at the same time keep taxes at a pittance...

It is incorrect to think that the people in Singapre do not think, rather await instructions from the Government. Singapore is a melting pot for various nationalities. Many of them who have become citizens, obviously since they realise the security in settling down in Singapore.

People being people at times, it becomes necessary to give them clear guidelines & enforce the way to do things. This is true even in our work. This is what the Singapore Govt is doing. It does not mean the Govt is baby-sitting the people, it does not mean Singaporeans cannot think. It only means we are being guided by our leaders towards the path which will benefit us.

People are all capable of thinking & voicing their opinion. What we also have at present is a competent & hard-working Government that has so capably led us to stability & prosperity over the years in a highly consistent manner.

I believe the earlier statement should lay to rest any debate on what more Singapore needs. It's human tendency to always want what they don't have. Thus many fellow Singaporeans would like to have a more flexible Govt, a more compromising Govt. What many of us fail to see if what we already have. What we have many of the other nations don't have. The US may be bigger, richer but they still have to deal with huge taxes & a high crime rate. Australia has a huge taxation on those that stay there. Yes, there could be a welfare scheme but it's being paid out by the citizens each month.

Singaporeans need to come to terms with what they already have that's a lot more than other countries. I would rather have a lower tax & save my money rather than have a welfare scheme with a huge tax & no savings. I'd rather travel using a highly efficient public transport system & not contribute towards pollution rather than have a cheap means to buy my own transport.

The PAP with all it's members have been spearheading this vision which could have originated from LKY and is being passed over from one person to another. But the bottomline remains that this vision, this un-yielding virtue, this tough stance has brought us to where we are today.

While I agree it's important to have an opposition to echo newer views, the opposition has to be worthy & competent to do so. At present they are not... And that is the fact and there are no two ways to it.

We need to ward off the perception that this is a family run Government & recognize the benefits that have been reaped from having our 3 Prime Ministers & their teams. Shrug off any other relation these entities may have rather pay attention to their goal for the country. These people have lived up to their promises & brought economic & political stability to the country. At the end of the day, that's all that matters.

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