“More than one qualified candidate to succeed me; and I certainly expects a clear front-runner to emerge before Singapore’s next general election,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in the Parliament on Wednesday (16 May).
PM Lee said, “We are fortunate that this is so, because it provides strength and depth to the team. Now it's about the team coming to a consensus on the best option,”
He noted that the fourth-generation (4G) ministers being able to work together was as important, if not more important, than the question of who will be the next PM. "This is a team game, and we want a strong, cohesive team so Team Singapore is the winner," he stressed.
PM Lee then asked: "Can the next generation of leaders build on our shared experience of 50 years, and maintain the sense of collective mission? Can they work to improve the lives of all Singaporeans, and not the interests of narrow groups, so that they pass on an even stronger and more united Singapore?
“I think they can.”
Mr Lee also pointed to opposition parties and their role in keeping Singapore’s politics ‘contestable’.
“The ruling PAP (People’s Action Party) does not have a monopoly of power, does not have a right to rule Singapore indefinitely,” he said. “So long as the PAP government performs, it keeps the voters’ support, and stays in power. The opposition cannot gain ground. But if the PAP government becomes incompetent or corrupt, the opposition will grow.
“So our system gives the PAP government every incentive to perform, and to keep the opposition performing its role where it is, namely in the opposition.”
“If the PAP can keep on successfully doing that, we can stay in Government. But if we ever fail, we deserve to lose. So my message to all PAP MPs is ‘work hard, serve the people, hold the ground, win the elections’.”
In response to PM Lee's comments, many readers on CNA Facebook posted their comments, some came from general points of interest on the citizens' welfare:
Fran Tfai wrote:
Remove water tax, electricity tariffs, remove all ERP and stop all influx of FT, lower diesel and Petro taxes same like Malaysia, stop raising minimum sum in CPF, return our CPF monies; open your books on foreign investment by GIC and Temasek Holdings, no increase of GST to 9%, stop increasing price of HDB flats, stop subsidizing foreign students, stop monopoly of transport services and other business, stop using CPF to invest into overseas business and most importantly discard your private jet and many more then we can talk more before the coming GE.
All ministers sitting in as board of directors in Temasek Holdings and GIC have to resigned with immediate effect. This is a total conflict of interest between a government and Companies. We need a caring government to run a country to take care of the citizen and improve the economy instead of monopoly of running Companies such transport, logistics, medical and real estates that benefit oneself. Don't forget, Singaporean pay the government to run a country not paying the government to run their own companies to enjoy fat salaries and bonuses for themselves.
Jeff Heng wrote: Hahaha.... everything opposition oppose go into vote.... and what's the vote counts??? This is no monopoly then what??? Oh... I forgot, you as PM, HC control temasek also no conflict of interest.... same theory!!!
Gabriel Liong wrote: Pinky is playing reverse psychology here...telling Sporean to think twice before voting the incumbent out...
Kuantangoh Spencer wrote:
What are the main factors which seeded the tsunami of change in Malaysia
- Deep rooted corruption
- PM appointed his own AG
- PM directly control the financial power of the nation
- PM control CPIB
- PM redrawn the boundaries of constituency for election
- PM ignore the call to remove GST when livelihood is difficult
- PM and cronies living in luxury while the citizens just making ends meet.
It seemed to me that aforesaid factors are not prominent in our system. 4G leaders still lack that kind of campaigning power to gain the support of people.They go through the easy way of being appointed by PM and the like.
Barry Koh wrote: RULE Singapore? I prefer the word serve Singaporean. Maybe if we get the perspective right our basic needs maybe less expensive.
Lim Filomena wrote: Anything can happen, it’s everybody game. But I can foresee the outcome, most Singaporeans adopt a NATO attitude (NO ACTION TALK ONLY). The last election tells all! Very disappointed
Geoffrey Lim Ming Hui wrote: I want my cost of living down, I do not mind lower salary if it means more freedom and basic needs are met! I can save my own money and spend on my family not locked in CPF...
William Chan wrote: High hopes that the 4G leaders are smart enough to find an alternative to GST hikes. Else they may not be worth their pay..
Fung Ernest wrote: When we entrust our future to a leader, the leader must be able to hear, see and feel us... listen to our voices. If you can't do that don't expect to gain support from the people. How much love you have for the people how much love you get in return. Remember nowadays most of the people are educated. They have eyes to see, ears to listen what is right and what is wrong. When everyone limit is used up. That's it.
Joe Weng wrote: It would be very interesting if the Government will to lower the existing 7% GST to say 3%. I am not suggesting to do away with the whole 7% GST but having said that, I remembered the late President Mr Ong Teng Cheong was told by the authority that it takes about 50 years to count our reserves. Correct me if I’m wrong. God bless all.
ChengHui Cai wrote: But BN SUDDENLY became Pakatan? GST 6% no more. Anwar from jailbird became a freeman with no criminal record. Anything is possible. Touch your heart if you are really serving the genuine interest of us citizens.
Other readers’ comments were relating Mr Lee’s speech with the situation of the oppositions:
John Tankers wrote: Actor, since 50 year's that the 1st time PAP praise WP... Can't wait till 2020,voter are the boss now, 2.2million per year we the citizens of Singapore pay you to praise WP?????
Leon Andanni wrote: Now you hypocrites keep on praising the WP. Wayang to the people that MIW are a honorable party just to gain votes. And if they win in the next election they will fix the opposition again. Never ever trust whatever they say.
Robert Tan wrote: Oppositions also have capable ppl, like Lawyers, Doctors n other professionals. To prove the abilities of individual candidate, GRC should be removed n let them fight the GE in SMC. Let voters scrutinise n assess them individually before casting their votes.
Danish Zia wrote:
They will still in power as long as WP or SDP dnt work hand in hand..
Like how mahathir and Anwar party do...
Every place theres PAP..
But not all place have SDP or WP alone...
WP must move quick and get all the best people to make this thing work...
Then we can have a new ruler...
If they dnt do this... till ur grandson also PAP will still be in power..
And many readers’ connected PM Lee’s speech with the downfall of Barisan Nasional in Malaysia:
Philip Lim wrote: Ever since the downfall of BN across the causeway, I am beginning to miss the usual arrogance of pap leaders. Was Chan Chun Sing yesterday. And now LHL...
MüSo Léé wrote: There is a clear shift of attitude towards the opposition members after the GE result in our closest neighbour. They could all mature together to be noble politicians like those in the developed nations. We can continue to disagree with others but remain respectful for them. The type of arrogance displayed in the House had a negative impact on our society and our social etiquette. It must be stopped. LKY's style was working because the majority public was illiterate in the early years.
Hannti Tan wrote: Hasn’t the PAP now “inherited” BN’s record of longest surviving democratically-elected government? Records are meant to be broken anyway, which explains why PAP isn’t as over-confident and arrogant like before, since they worry that their time is up next!
Andrew Ng wrote: He afraid the next election will be like Malaysia 🇲🇾 no gst no ERP . Haha
Soo Tommy Leong wrote: Spilled over effect from Malaysia, hence opposition becomes Brother in arm.
Koh Andy wrote: Why they keep praising the opposition party ??? U know I know , our neighbors had shown to us liao ....
Yochana Abigail Yule wrote: If BN can crumble after 61 years, what makes PAP so special that it can’t? April 2011: It was reported by AsiaOne that PM Lee said having a two-party system of politics is not feasible because there is not enough talent to form two first-class teams to govern Singapore well. He’s now contradicting himself.
Suresh Kumar wrote: After Malaysia ruling Parliament shaken by the opposition in the Recent GE14, now all PAP members started giving caring & saint speeches. We going to hear this kind of speeches from now on till next GE of us.
Chin Hua Yak wrote: Alamak ... U think by saying such things can avoid U the same "mess" coming your way soon ... we shall see. BTW, continue to sue WP until pants drop lor ... lol No monopoly? Of cos no monopoly if U look at M'sia now ... lol. U think still can suka suka "Abang & Adek" and continue to have more "Durian Retreats" with Najib? lol.
SB Zhang wrote: Pap does not have a monopoly on power , does not have the right to rule Singapore indefinitely..... sure bo ... if not what happened to Malaysia I think the statement will not be the same
Yap Jonathan wrote: Can see that PAP is really scared already.