While nobody can be sure what will happen in future elections, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that it’s the responsibility of the PAP Government to make sure Singapore continues to prosper and have a future.
“Nobody can say how things will develop in two, three, four elections’ time. But for as long as we can, it is the responsibility of me and my team to govern Singapore well, to maintain the support of the population and to keep Singapore united and cohesive, so that in a dangerous world, we make sure that we are safe, and we can look after ourselves and have a future for our people,” he said.
PM Lee was speaking at a Q&A session at Nikkei’s 27th International Conference on the Future of Asia where he was quizzed on his thoughts on the nature of politics in Singapore, in particular the Party’s longevity, by Shigesaburo Okumura, the editor-in-chief of The Nikkei Asia.
This year’s theme is “Redefining Asia’s Role in a Divided World”.
PM Lee said that that’s because the PAP Government has been able to deliver on looking after the people’s and country’s well-being and future.
“We do what works for Singapore. You admire our law and order, our growth, our efficient government, I thank you for your kind remarks. But I invite you to consider that perhaps it has something to do with the way our politics work. That the population of Singapore is united and cohesive, understands where its interests lie, and vote for MPs, parties and leaders who will look after the interests of the country and look after their well-being and their future. Because we have been able to deliver on this, therefore in successive elections, the PAP has been able to win a strong mandate from the population. Therefore, we have the opportunity to serve the people and to do better together with them. We hope that this will continue for as long as possible.”
Mr Okumura then touched on succession, asking PM Lee whether he’s planning for retirement or whether he will stay on and support the new Cabinet.
To which PM Lee said that he’s not planning his retirement but planning for the handover and also hinted that he will be happy to support Finance Minister Lawrence Wong.
“I am not planning my retirement. I am planning to make myself be in a position to step down and handover as Prime Minister to my successor, after which I see it as my responsibility to do my best to help him succeed, and to help Singapore continue to succeed. Whatever he thinks I am useful to him for, I shall be happy to fulfil.”
Of operating systems and hardware
In his reply to another question on the type of democracy in Singapore, PM Lee said that for Singapore, it’s a system where the Government has legitimacy and an elected Government which is capable of delivering the mandate.
He also used operating systems to illustrate the point of having to constantly upgrade and make things work better.
“If it works well and it works for us, we keep that. If there are aspects which need to be improved, we will adjust it, and amend it as we go along. Not re-inventing it from scratch because when you are talking about the political system of a country, it is like the operating system on a computer. If you suddenly change to a totally different operating system, and it does not fit your hardware, your computer will crash.”
You can watch the session here.
All photos: PM Lee’s Facebook page