LKY on HDB. CNA, with video:
Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said public housing has to keep up with the rising aspirations of Singaporeans and that the facilities and design of older estates should also not fall behind newer ones. …
I started this campaign 50 years ago in the 1960s, I saw Hong Kong – concrete and tarmac, no trees, no grass, nothing. I decided we will not be like that. We became different, trees everywhere, opens spaces with grass, children’s playground and a clean and safe environment,” Mr Lee said. …
“Everybody owns their own homes and the value of their homes go up as development takes place. Some are unwise enough to sell their homes, thinking they can buy another one, they then find they can’t and have to rent a flat.
“But those who held on to their homes, I’ve seen their property values going up, five times, 10 times, 15 times, 20 times. This was the plan which we had from the very beginning, to give everybody a home at cost or below cost and as development takes place, everybody gets a lift, all boats rise as the tide rises.
“We are investing to bring it up to date and you pay a token sum, the government carries the rest and HDB has been doing a fine job to give you an environment that you have today,” Mr Lee shared.
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Tags: hdb, housing, lee kuan yew, property, property prices, public housing, real estate
Lee Kuan Yew opines in Forbes:
IN TERMS OF LAND area and population Myanmar and Thailand are close in size, and i n the 1960s both countries had similar rates of growth.
But in 1962 Myanmar’s General Ne Win led a coup d’état, establishing a nominally socialist military government that followed an economic policy of autarky. The country closed its doors to the world and expelled the Indians who had come with the British to help in the retail industry many decades before. Although Ne Win resigned in July 1988, the military junta remained firmly in control of the country.
During the same period Thailand experienced multiple army coups, but its leaders chose a different economic path. Thailand became a free-market economy, open to all investments from all countries, and it absorbed its Chinese immigrants, who had arrived during and after British rule. Today Thailand is one of Asia’s busiest manufacturing hubs. …
Thailand itself transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a democratic constitutional monarchy. Regular and rambunctious elections are held, but the army continues to stage coups whenever it considers the government unreliable or going against the monarchy. Over the last 80 years there have been 11 successful coups and 7 failed ones. The most recent was the ouster of prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in September 2006. The military’s interference has resulted in a perpetual state of political uncertainty and has shaken investor confidence.
Both countries’ governments would do well to remember that it was the open-door policies of free trade and investment that made Thailand prosperous and the passive closed-door policies that held Myanmar back for 50 years.
Filed under: Commentary | 11 Comments
Tags: burma, forbes, free trade, investment, lee kuan yew, Malaysia, myanmar
A Malaysian newspaper offers analysis that the local papers would not dare to touch. The Star:
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says he intends to stay in office for 10 more years. If he does, it will result in a record father-and-son tenure as prime minister.
FACED with a host of tough problems that challenges his government’s ability to resolve, the prime minister has made it clear that he intends to stay in office for 10 more years.
The 60-year-old Lee Hsien Loong told an interviewer that he would prefer not to lead beyond then and “definitely not till 80”.
His comments were, however, made in reply to a specific question rather than as a deliberate statement.
“I do not see myself as prime minister in 20 years’ time,” said Lee to the current affair website Singapolitics. “I think if I am, something has gone seriously wrong.”
If he steps down at 70, he would have outdone his father, Lee Kuan Yew, who quit the post in 1990 at the age of 67.
However, Lee Senior had led for 31 years, a much longer period compared to his 18 years if he lasts that long.
One obstacle could be his party’s declining popularity, and the other his health.
But if he pulls it off, it would result in a combined father-and-son tenure as prime minister for a total of 51 years, a record not matched in any other country. …
Lee’s intended stay-on for 10 more years has come as a surprise to many Singaporeans.
Of late, doubts had been expressed whether the PM’s father, Kuan Yew, would contest in the 2016 election. If he calls it a day, it would be the real end of the Kuan Yew era.
By then, the founding leader, who is suffering from a nerve illness (which makes it difficult to walk), would be 93.
In its wake, some observers had believed, it would not be long before PM Lee would also step down. Such talk recently also turned to who would then succeed PM Lee.
The prime minister’s interview has put paid to this talk – at least for now.
Two years ago, PM Lee said the PAP was looking for suitable people in their 30s for a potential leader – not the easiest of tasks anywhere. Most countries would have allowed for a natural political process to evolve by allowing leaders to be tested by competition that would reveal his capability to survive crises.
However, selecting and grooming a 30-year-old under Singapore’s stable non-confrontational politics so that he could take over from PM Lee in 10 to 20 years’ time sounds more practical in theory than in real life.
Filed under: Commentary | 8 Comments
Tags: lee hsien loong, lee kuan yew, nepotism, seah chiang nee, succession, the star
Lee news is no news. BusinessWeek:
Singapore will continue to take in foreigners even as citizens complain about overcrowding and increased competition for jobs, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew said.
“We have slowed down the intake of foreigners but we will continue taking in foreigners at a pace” that citizens “find comfortable,” Lee, 89, said at a conference in Singapore yesterday. …
“We are in a particularly perilous position,” said the elder Lee, referring to the country’s population. “If we are not taking in migrants, immigrants, from China and from the region, we will be a diminishing and aging population.”
Singapore rejected more foreigner job permit applications and renewed fewer existing ones in the first seven months of 2012, Tan Chuan-Jin, acting minister for manpower, said in Parliament on Sept. 11. It also granted fewer permanent resident permits on average in 2010 compared with the annual rate from 2004 to 2008, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said in a written reply to a parliamentary question this month.
The government has made it more expensive for companies to hire overseas workers by raising levies, and in the past year, it has increased salary thresholds and required better educational qualifications for some categories of foreigners.
“We have many complaints from our own citizens who see a large number of foreign faces on trains and buses and they say look, I am being squeezed out of my country,” the former prime minister said yesterday. Still, “we are short of workers,” he said.
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Tags: expats, foreign workers, immigration, lee kuan yew, population growth, singapore
The 10 high-powered members of Total’s international advisory committee usually meet in Paris. But this year, they gathered in Singapore for the first time – to honour Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Singapore’s founding prime minister, who turned 89 last Sunday, has been a member of the French oil and gas giant’s international advisory board for the last 19 years.
Flanked by four Cabinet ministers and several corporate titans, Mr Lee hosted a dinner for the Total board at the Istana on Friday night. He then announced that this would be his last meeting with them.
“Next year I’ll be 90. You’ll be having a meeting in September. If you had not said it is in Paris, it makes my job easier to say: ‘Thank you, this is my last session’.”
Filed under: Event, Quotes | 2 Comments
Tags: lee kuan yew, resignation, total
Lee Kuan Yew on corruption-busting. Straits Times:
Singapore’s graft-busting watchdog and its officers have contributed to the country’s standing, founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew said on Tuesday.
They give confidence to investors, which has led to national progress and prosperity, he said, in hailing their efforts as the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) marked six decades of stamping out bribery.
Mr Lee and his successor Mr Goh Chok Tong were special guests at a ceremony marking the occasion on Tuesday.
Mr Lee added in a statement: “We must remain vigilant and ensure that Singapore continues to be regarded as one of the least corrupt nations in the world, with a clean public service and businesses that abhor corruption.”
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Tags: corrupt practices investigation bureau, corruption, cpib, lee kuan yew, singapore
Lee Kuan Yew rarely forgets, but occasionally forgives. Today:
Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan said today that former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong have accepted his offer of composition of S$30,000 to annul his bankruptcy.
Dr Chee was declared a bankrupt in 2006 after failing to pay damages totalling S$500,000 to Mr Lee and Mr Goh, following a defamation suit brought on by the two because of remarks Dr Chee had made during the 2001 General Election.
In a statement posted on the SDP website today, Dr Chee said: “Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh Chok Tong have indicated that they will accept my offer of composition of $30,000 to annul my bankruptcy.” …
Dr Chee said he hopes the settlement would “mark the end of a chapter of Singapore’s politics marred by defamation suits against opposition members” and looks forward to a “new era where political discourse is dominated by substantive debates on policies and ideas”.
He added that he looks forward to being formally cleared of his bankruptcy so that he would be eligible to stand in the 2016 general election. As an undischarged bankrupt, Dr Chee has not been eligible to stand in the general elections.
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Tags: bankruptcy, chee soon juan, defamation, goh chok tong, lawsuit, lee kuan yew, singapore democratic party
Insight from The Star’s Seah Chiang Nee:
The authoritative former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew had little use for public opinion when he was in power, preferring to set his own agenda.
Now a year after he quit active politics, his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has indicated that he wants to move away from his non-consultative phase, at least for the moment.
In 2002, PM Goh Chok Tong conducted a comprehensive study to restructure Singapore with public participation – apparently to the dislike of Singapore’s founding leader.
I understand it did not result in significant changes because Kuan Yew had objected to any talk that the Singapore he created was flawed and required remodelling …
Kuan Yew, who is now a passive Member of Parliament, did not reject consultations but often made it clear that he found them a waste of time.
In a comment rejecting the use of public polling to gauge public opinions in 2002, Kuan Yew said: “I ignore polling as a method of government. I think that shows a certain weakness of mind – an inability to chart a course whichever way the wind blows, whichever way the media encourages the people to go, you follow. You are not a leader.”
Singaporeans are glad that Kuan Yew’s successors are choosing to distance themselves further from his hard-line approach.
In the chaotic 60s and 70s, Kuan Yew liberally used the cane or legal punishment to resolve many of the Singapore’s problems ranging from secret societies to spitting.
You broke the law, the cane came out. It largely cleaned up the streets.
Today, his successors can no longer rely on this weapon to tackle contemporary problems.
How can you punish people for marrying late or not having babies? Or enforce filial piety or work ethics?
Filed under: Commentary | 6 Comments
Tags: democracy, lee hsien loong, lee kuan yew, national conversation, public opinion, seah chiang nee, singapore
Surprisingly frank analysis from Today:
A rumour that former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew had died started circulating on Twitter at least five days before the National Day Parade, with journalists asked by just about everyone – friends, parents, the neighbourhood barber – about its veracity. And despite a couple of journalists’ efforts to debunk the rumour online, it continued to spread, spilling over into the heartlands via word of mouth and SMSes.
It reportedly generated some of the most searched terms on Google during that period, and was rolling off the tongues of housewives and taxi drivers as well. Internet chatter became coffee shop talk.
This is not the first time that rumours have circulated about the health of one of Singapore’s founding fathers and former Prime Minister. But never before, it is fair to say, had the speculation spread so virulently, quickly and widely.
In an age where more than one in two Singapore residents is ostensibly on Facebook – that’s 2,712,060 users here – social media has become the megaphone that amplifies rumours exponentially.
So what has been puzzling to many was the radio silence during the week from the Government, which in the past has found ways, direct or otherwise, to dispel such misinformation. …
The incident provides much to chew on, including how it demonstrated a widespread belief, misguided or otherwise, among Singaporeans that the Government would withhold important information for expediency.
Just as important, well-educated Singapore society – as a whole, as well as at the individual level – was found wanting in its ready credulity. A society susceptible to rumours is an easy target for any troublemaker, with the new media as an accomplice. …
So why did the state machinery – which recently added a Chief of Government Communications to its ranks – not rebut the rumour about Mr Lee’s health?
Granted, there is the risk that addressing rumours (which breed effortlessly in cyberpace) ends up lending them credence, and encourages even more rumour-mongering, not to mention a public expectation that the Government will rebut every untruth – failing which, the assumption is “it must be true”.
The Government’s long-held stance is that it does not deal in rumours. But surely, given how this particular rumour gained traction and created protracted public anxiety, some sort of response – not necessarily an official one – was merited? …
Today, Mr Lee does not hold any Cabinet position. It may, or may not, have been a factor in why it was felt unnecessary to officially rebut the rumour. But is this not where the Government’s social media strategy should have come into play?
Filed under: Commentary | 3 Comments
Tags: death, lee kuan yew, national day parade, rumor, rumour
Lee Kuan Yew is back, and he wants more Singaporean babies. CNA:
Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has expressed concerns over Singapore’s low fertility rate.
He was speaking in Mandarin and English at the Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru National Day celebration dinner on Saturday.
Mr Lee said Singapore’s birth rates have been steadily declining.
He stressed that Singaporeans are not reproducing themselves.
Giving some simple statistics, Mr Lee said the Chinese reproduction rate is 1.08 – with two Chinese becoming one in the next generation.
For the Indians, the rate is 1.09, and for the Malays – 1.64.
“If we go on like that, this place will fold up, because there’ll be no original citizens left to form the majority, and we cannot have new citizens, new PRs to settle our social ethos, our social spirit, our social norms. So my message is a simple one. The answer is very difficult but the problems, if we don’t find the answers, are enormous,” said Mr Lee.
He added that without the work permit holders to build the roads and homes and dig the tunnels, Singapore would be a very different place.
And without the permanent residents, Singapore’s population would be older, smaller, and will lose vitality.
“So our choice is simple. Either accept migrants at the rate at which we can assimilate them and make them conform to our values and have others on temporary work permit holders to help build up Singapore and improve,” said Mr Lee.
But for the longer term, what’s important is to have a change in mindset.
Mr Lee said: “Our educated men and women must decide whether to replace themselves in the next generation. At the moment, 31 per cent of women and 44 per cent of men are opting out. Not leaving a next generation.
“So, just ponder over it and you will know the solution is not simple. But we’ve got to persuade people to understand that getting married is important, having children is important. Do we want to replace ourselves or do we want to shrink and get older and be replaced by migrants and work permit holders? That’s the simple question.”
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Tags: birth rate, children, demographics, immigration, lee kuan yew, population, singapore