Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urges support for new generation of leaders

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urges support for new generation of leaders

During the parliamentary debate on President Halimah Yacob’s address at the opening of the second session of parliament last week, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong underscored the importance of support from Singaporeans for the country’s new generation of leaders.

In the second speech of his term in the 14th Parliament on Wednesday (19 Apr), Mr Lee emphasized the remarkable global reputation Singapore enjoys and expressed gratitude for the admiration he has received from foreign leaders and businesspeople.

He stated, “Many Singaporeans take this good reputation for granted… But they do not realize how important this high standing we enjoy is to us, nor how astonishing it is for a small island state with no natural resources to enjoy this standing.”

Prime Minister Lee acknowledged the challenges of upholding a country’s ideals and values beyond its founding generation.

He emphasized the crucial roles honesty, integrity, and a well-functioning system play in Singapore’s success.

To ensure good leadership for the long term, Mr Lee emphasized the need for a strong economy, solid institutions, and capable, dedicated, and trustworthy leaders.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Singaporeans witnessed the importance of strong political leadership.

The Prime Minister said, “The MTF ministers were in the hot seat, but the whole 4G team played a key role. It was a formative experience for the 4G ministers handling the crisis. They got the measure of each other and gained confidence in each other’s judgment and abilities.”

Last year, Deputy Prime Minister Wong was chosen by the 4G ministers as their leader.

Mr Lee urged Singaporeans to support Lawrence Wong and the 4G ministers wholeheartedly: “I ask you to give Lawrence and the 4G ministers your fullest support… Help me make this leadership succession a success for Singapore and for you.”

Mr Lee called on Singaporeans to embrace the can-do spirit and outsized ambition of their forefathers. He encouraged the nation to maintain its international reputation and build upon the trusted Singapore brand of quality, reliability, and efficiency.

He concluded by saying, “We may be a small island state, but we are not a small people, and neither are our hearts nor our aspirations. So, think boldly, aim high, and seek far.”

Before his delivery of what seems to be an election speech, Mr Lee had emphasized the importance of Singaporeans having a passionate vision of the future, a readiness to adapt to modernization, and a willingness to postpone immediate rewards for greater gains in the future.

He cited examples of young Singaporeans making their mark overseas in various fields, highlighting the entrepreneurial spirit and determination of the younger generation.

Mr Lee acknowledged the challenges of staying open and connected to the world amid global tensions and protectionism, but maintained that Singapore can continue to thrive as a global city and international hub.

He also addressed three major challenges or “storms” Singapore is currently facing, which include the ongoing Ukraine war, the tense relationship between China and the US, and potential conflicts in Taiwan.

Additionally, the global trading system is under threat due to rising protectionism, which could lead to significant economic costs for all parties involved.

Despite these challenges, Mr Lee emphasized Singapore’s resilience in overcoming past difficulties through unity and perseverance.

He also urged Singaporeans to remain united and resilient in the face of these challenges, as division will only weaken the country’s ability to navigate through these turbulent times.

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