Goh Chok Tong was saying how people kept yelling at him ‘China! China!’ but the moment he mentioned ‘Singapore’ the first reaction of said people was ‘oh, Lee Kuan Yew?’ and that outreaching effect…incredible.
MINISTER Mentor Le Kuan Yew and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong announced on Saturday their decision to retire from Cabinet and leave government entirely to the younger ministers.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien loong has not responded to the joint statement.
Here is the statement released by SM Goh Chok Tong and MM Lee Kuan Yew in its entirety:
MM Lee Kuan Yew and SM Goh Chok Tong to step down from Cabinet
We have studied the new political situation and thought how it can affect the future. We have made our contributions to the development of Singapore. The time has come for a younger generation to carry Singapore forward in a more difficult and complex situation. The Prime Minister and his team of younger leaders should have a fresh clean slate. A younger generation, besides having a non-corrupt and meritocratic government and a high standard of living, wants to be more engaged in the decisions which affect them. After a watershed general election, we have decided to leave the cabinet and have a completely younger team of ministers to connect to and engage with this young generation in shaping the future of our Singapore.
But the younger team must always have in mind the interests of the older generation. This generation who has contributed to Singapore must be well-looked after.
Read the full report in this week’s edition of The Sunday Times.
They may not be perfect saints that have never made mistakes when serving the people, but they have brought the country through times of great jeopardy. Theirs was a time when minds of steel and voices of discipline were needed. My utmost respect and gratitude goes out to both.
As Election fever continues to build in Singapore, a video has been shared by a member of the People’s Action Party (PAP), also the incumbent party, that seeks to reach out to the younger demographic.
Titled “My personal message to my young Singaporean friends”, the video seems to reflect a shift in outreach strategy by the party to gather more votes prior to polling day on 7 May.
Another senior politician, Mr. Goh Chok Tong, Senior Minister for Singapore (before Parliament was dissolved) was quoted as saying: “The thinking of the younger ones, they are not at home even during house-to-house visits, which I have done. In Marine Parade, most of them are not at home. So for them, their thinking I’m not too sure. That group they are open, they assess the candidates and their policies before they decide, and they probably will decide at the last minute.”
Seems that the PAP has shifted their attention to the younger voters and may have identified this segment to be where swing votes might come from, that could lose them a Group Representative Constituency.
Editor’s note: You can find the video by logging onto Facebook and searching for George Yeo’s account. Unfortunately, it can’t be embedded into Tumblr.They could have considered having 2 formats or uploading onto Youtube and sharing the URL instead.
The son of the father: the dilemma of Singapore’s first succession
Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy remains intact—but for how much longer?
By Michael D. Barr
After the publicity surrounding his death on 23 March 2015, it should now be common knowledge—even among those readers who do not follow such things closely—that Lee Kuan Yew (1923–1915) was the Republic of Singapore’s first prime minister.
It might be less well known that he was also Singapore’s second ‘senior minister’ and its first (and at this stage its only) ‘minister mentor’, stepping down from this role only in 2011.
Going back further in history, he was also the only prime minister of the British colony of Singapore and the only ‘prime minister’ of Singapore when it was a state of Malaysia. He was also the first, and thus far the only member of parliament to represent the inner-city residents of Tanjong Pagar, having been first elected in 1955 when the constituency was created, and remaining in the role at the time of his death 60 years later.
During this time he has presided over the rise of Singapore to its current status as a highly successful capitalist economy and a stable, peaceful society. Many commentators have suggested in recent weeks that he built up Singapore from nothing, and that he did it more or less on his own. This is wrong on both counts.
It is too commonly overlooked that Singapore was already a bustling and thriving colonial city and commercial centre when Lee (pictured) was first appointed prime minister in 1959, and that throughout his first decades in power he benefited from a wealth of talent in the form of his ‘old guard’ colleagues in Cabinet and the civil service.
But let us not quibble. In 1959 Singapore had no manufacturing base, no industry of any sort, no mass education system (let alone one that is world class, which today’s is by many measures), no oil industry, and it was not a financial centre. Its inner city was mostly crowded slums, its health system was ‘universal’ but grossly inadequate, and its social welfare system was totally underdeveloped.
Today all these things have changed for the better, and have done so at a pace that has generally outstripped other post-colonial societies, including Singapore’s immediate neighbours.
Lee Kuan Yew thus casts a long shadow over Singapore. Just how long is yet to be seen. In practical terms, Lee has been a marginal figure in the governance of Singapore for some years now. His withdrawal from serious engagement in the business of government began sometime after 2004, when his son became prime minister.
It is difficult to be sure of whether his son’s succession was the main trigger for the withdrawal or whether it was his own failing health, energy and ability to concentrate. But in retrospect there can be little doubt that from about 2005 or 2006 the elder Lee was moving increasingly out of the operation of government and the younger Lee—Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong—was carving his own destiny.
In this sense, Singapore has already been in a post-Lee Kuan Yew era for the best part of a decade. Certainly this is how the markets have viewed the situation, failing to even show a slight fluctuation in response to the death of the older Lee.
Yet there is another sense in which the post-Lee Kuan Yew era is just beginning—a sense that was highlighted by the week-long period of mourning that preceded Lee’s funeral on 29 March. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Singaporeans lined the streets and queued for up to eight or nine hours to show their respect. His image was projected onto buildings, stuck onto cars, and sold as figurines. Newsreels of his old speeches going back to the 1950s seemed to be on a near-continuous rolling loop on local television, shared with contemporary tributes. (They were not literally on a rolling loop, but it seemed that way.) Even the netizens of social media behaved themselves (with just one exception, who has since been charged).
So in political and practical terms, what happened when Lee died on 23 March? It might be the end of an era, but what does that mean for Singapore and—in particular—to his son and successor, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (pictured)?
There has been some commentary to the effect that Singapore has already had two successions since Lee left the premiership—first to Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, and then to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong—and these peaceful and smooth transitions are marks of Lee Kuan Yew’s success. And yet there is a real sense in which we can say that Lee Kuan Yew presided over both of these ‘successions’.
One of the less-remembered facts of Lee Hsien Loong’s succession from Goh Chok Tong in 2004 is that Lee Kuan Yew was still a great power at the time, and was actively managing the succession from Goh to Lee. The older Lee even inserted himself into Cabinet without, it seems, consulting the new prime minister.
Lee senior announced his own appointment, invented his own title (Minister Mentor) and even determined his own ranking within Cabinet. We had to wait a full week for his son to confirm these arrangements, and even then it was done with a minimum of grace through an anonymous government spokesman. That was then. This is now. Lee Hsien Loong has gradually moved out of his father’s shadow, but it took until 2011 for him to fully establish his personal authority. So there is a real sense in which this—the passing of the baton from Lee senior to Lee junior in 2015, or perhaps in 2011—is the first, not the second succession for independent Singapore.
This analysis is reinforced by a second observation. When Lee Kuan Yew stepped down from the premiership in 1990, Singapore society and politics were on the cusp of fundamental change that ‘threatened’ to make it more democratic and open. In 1987, just a few years before he stepped down, Lee Kuan Yew took drastic steps to thwart these tendencies.
In that year he insisted that his successors engage in a savage crackdown on a group of mildly left-wing Catholics and alternative-theatre activists, fancifully accusing them of being part of a Marxist conspiracy to overthrow the state. His success in both locking these young idealists up without charge, and in blooding his successors in the politics of repression set the political development of Singapore back by nearly a decade.
One could argue that it was not until the 2006 general election that Singapore had regained the level of openness and political contestation that Singaporeans generally thought they had achieved before the detentions of 1987—and even then the continuing use of defamation and other legal actions to close down criticism makes such a claim contestable.
Yet even if we take the assertion at face value, we remember that in 2004—two years before the 2006 general election—Goh Chok Tong stepped down and Lee Hsien Loong became prime minister under a process that was closely managed by Lee senior. It was only after this transition that Lee Hsien Loong quietly and slowly established his own authority until he fully took over the reins of power in 2011, when his father finally left Cabinet.
At one level the younger Lee has by now had plenty of practice at being prime minister. If his record to date had been a strong one, we would now be able to say with some confidence that Singapore is in strong, competent hands. The problem is, however, that the record of Lee Hsien Loong’s government has been far from a strong one.
It may not be apparent to outsiders who take only a passing interest in the domestic affairs of the island, but the truth is that there is barely an aspect of government or society to which the government can now point that is not problematic.
Problems abound across entire fields of core government business: national infrastructure, immigration policy, housing, transport, social (in)equality, social welfare, health, management of foreign worker programs, to name but a few. The government has even conceded that many of these problems have been government creations.
In any reasonably open democracy, this sort of record would suggest that a change of government was in the offing, but Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy remains sufficiently intact to dismiss such a possibility, at least for the foreseeable future.
If this is the state of affairs in the midst of the first succession—or even the second succession, for that matter—then it seems to me that the long-term future of Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy must be regarded as being in serious doubt.
The question of how to deal with these challenges lies firmly at the feet of Lee Hsien Loong. I think it is safe to say that he would have hoped to be facing a more benign political outlook 11 years into his premiership.
“‘Young Pei Ling has been traumatised. Saw her yesterday with trauma specialist, Fatimah. While doc examined her, I observed. Her initial hurt n pain have subsided. Gave her clean (bill) of health. In the process, discovered steel in her. She will grow in strength.’”
Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on the MParader Facebook page last Saturday. He clarified later that he had meant it as a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ post.
Bekas Perdana Menteri Singapura, Goh Chok Tong berjaya jalani pembedahan kanser prostat di General Hospital Singapura (GHS), pada Sabtu.
Menurut kenyataan setiausaha akhbarnya, Goh dijangka pulih sepenuhnya berikutan kanser berkenaan masih tidak merebak dan dapat dikesan awal.
Goh akan berada di hospital untuk beberapa hari lagi.
Goh, 73, menjadi perdana menteri kedua Singapura pada 28 Nov 1990, menggantikan Lee Kuan Yew, dan berkhidmat dengan jawatan itu hingga 12 Ogos 2004, dan kini dilantik menjadi Menteri Kanan Emeritus (ESM).
In the article “A country fails when it becomes a squabbling family” (Aug 19), Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong drew an analogy between the government-people relationship and that between parents and children.
He said Singaporeans complaining about the Government’s slightest mistakes is part of the new normal and a squabbling family cannot be happy.
While the idea of parenting is understood easily, such an analogy, in philosophical thought, can be likened to paternalism, which has negative connotations sometimes.
While parenting is necessary for young children, to strictly impose a similar will on teenagers and adult children, or citizens, is sometimes challenging.
Singapore is one family, but never have I heard of a family free of squabbles. Likewise, maybe the new normal is a feature of a citizenry exercising their rights in a maturing democracy, rather than squabbling.
Families change over time, and we can only hope that the ubiquitous friction between parents and children will strengthen their bonds.
" the New York Times " apologizes to Lee Kuan Yew's father and son
Because of the inappropriate wording of a report about political imperial court of Asia, “ the New York Times ” Company apologizes to Singaporean Premier Li Xianlong and former premier Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Chok Tong formally on the 24th, and compensate for 114,000 dollars loss.
“ the New York Times ” websites publish the apologetic letter on the 24th, as to mentioning in the report Li Xianlong “ wins Premier’s position not because of contribution” Statement show apologize. It is reported, this is called “ photograph of the whole family ” Article publish at February 15 “ the International Herald Tribune ”,last “ the New York Times ” Company “ the International Herald Tribune ”.
Because the one that is discontented with the report to change of personnel of Singaporean political circles “ Slander ” ,Maestroes of Singaporean political circles such as Li Xianlong lodge protest to “ the New York Times ”. Lawyer Wen DaXing of Li Xianlong, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong shows, this report belongs to “ slanders maliciously ” ,His party requires “ the New York Times ” Company to apologize and compensate the economic loss. It is reported, besides compensation of “ the New York Times ” Company, editor and reporter responsible for this article “ International Herald Tribune ” will compensate to Li Xianlong, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong respectively.
It is reported, Lee Kuan Yew’s father and son have slandered the question and sued politician and foreign media many times, and obtained the victory. The foreign media of going to court with them includes “ The Wall Street Journal ”, the Peng ’s and “ economics people ” magazine,etc..
LKY or LHL, Which Matters More in the Coming General Election?
Leadership renewal is important but do you accept the PAP style - from Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Chok Tong to Lee Hsien Loong? Do you see the exceptional leaders one after another? Will you give them another chance?
The passing of LKY gives positive effect to the PAP. However, as compared to the performance of LHL, this positive effect will be neutralised. One up and one down, how well can LHL and the PAP balance it? Will the new breakeven point remain at 60% popular votes for the PAP? Time is a critical factor. LKY’s effect faces a diminishing return while LHL’s poor performance risks more and more opening.
The critical matter still remains with and depends on LHL and his records. How well is his performance and policies as compared to an exceptional leader like LKY? The more you compare, the more you want him to step down.
LKY is a past tense. LHL is a present tense. GE is a future tense. How much weight will voters give to the LKY past achievement? How do voters value and judge the present LHL performance? And how confident do voters see the future PAP leadership presented by LHL?
LKY is a factor in the coming GE. It may be overrated, in particular with the passing of time. Furthermore, it can be used as a guide or standard to compare LHL’s performance.
‘Do they work?’ Education Minister Heng Swee Keat pointed this out to students. He said this is ‘the one key test for social and all other policies’ of LKY.
Singaporeans should ask the same ‘one key test’ question to the PAP. Do LHL’s policies work? Do the current PAP policies work as compared to the past? Does PAP leadership renewal work?
Voters in the past paid premium to buy LKY’s policies even these policies were controversial. However, Singaporeans are now demanding discounts for LHL’s policies. He commands a low credit rating and higher risk. How much discount can LHL give? How much exceptional talents his team can provide to future Singapore?
Without accountability, transparency and openness (population, reserve, CPF, housing, education etc), will Singaporeans continue to buy his policies at a discount, even LHL is willing to give a higher discount than before?
In fact, Singaporeans are thinking to buy alternative insurance policy for their future, especially, when they consider PAP leadership renewal in the coming GE is a poor option. We have seen some or most of them. What do you think? Do they work?
Every election is a critical moment. In the past 50 years, voters either convinced or forced to believe PAP leadership renewal is important. They believed the leadership renewal of Goh Chok Tong would bring them the Swiss standard of living. The believed the leadership of LHL would bring them new openness, progress and freedom. Now, LHL is calling Singaporeans to give him another chance to look for ‘exceptional leaders’.
Prof. Ng only looks at the positive effect and credit side, especially the past achievement. However, voters are more concerned about present problems, current issues and personal matters. LHL’s idea of exceptional leaders is not a guarantee of good future. The PAP had presented their exceptional leadership teams of Goh Chok Tong and LHL. Will Singaporeans give them a fourth chance?
Perhaps, yes. Prof. Ng is very confident about this, giving the PAP a high mark of 66.6%. With this percentage, the PAP will go back to their old golden days when Parliament only had one or two opposition MPs. Is this a situation that Singaporeans want? Do they work?
Considering the offset effect of LKY and LHL, the popular votes of the PAP will remain at 60%. Is this a realistic picture? No matter how, this is the baseline that the PAP wants to achieve. This means the PAP will continue to have a comfortable majority in the Parliament. Do we want a one-party state again?
Will the PAP’s popular votes go down to below 60%? Why not. Even LHL said the doctors had given him an ‘all-clear’ for his prostate cancer and he needed to build up the exceptional team of future leadership, will Singaporeans judge him differently on his poor performance? Sympathy votes?
Singaporeans have become very pragmatic after 50 years of PAP education. We have different views and demands. We even don’t see the benefits of one-party rule. We want more but the PAP fails to listen and satisfy us materially and spiritually.
The PAP is at the cross road. It needs exceptional leaders to rescue them. But it has failed to find one. Singaporeans should look beyond the PAP for the exceptional leaders. Insurance policy is not only offered by the PAP in the GE market. Alternative parties do offer better options and policies. Putting all eggs into one basket is a risky investment. We all know this.