Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on his achievements and regrets

Source link  :CNA -> PM Lee on his achievements and regrets, after a decade at the helm

SINGAPORE: As the nation gears up to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, Singapore should take the occasion to take stock and focus on its vision for the years ahead, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an interview with Singapore journalists earlier this week.

In his first such interview since reaching the milestone of 10 years at the helm, Mr Lee touched on a broad range issues, such as the evolving political landscape, the challenges facing Singapore and Singaporeans, and his vision for the country.


image from PM Lee’ fb

ON WHAT HE IS PARTICULARLY SATISFIED WITH

“I would say putting a lot of emphasis on education. Right from the beginning, my first National Day Rally, I remember one of my themes was on the young. And we were talking about the schools – ‘teach less, learn more’ – and getting people to get the maximum out of their education.

“We’ve followed through on that in many ways, investing in the schools, Edusave, resources for the principals, making sure every school is a good school, developing tertiary education, building up the ITEs. I’ve now opened all three of them – the East, the West and most recently, and the best of all, I think is the Central campus.

“We’ve expanded our polytechnics and upgraded our polys and they are now a very attractive option for many young people.

“We’ve expanded university education. SUTD was one manifestation. It means a lot more young people are getting into our universities now and we are expanding the numbers further and opening up new paths with UniSIM, with SIT (Singapore Institute of Technology), and we are talking about beyond formal education, skills future, lifelong learning.

“I think it is not a single decision, but it is a continuing, consistent emphasis over a long period of time and successive capable, strong Education Ministers supported by competent and passionate professionals. I think that is very important to our future.”

ON HIS GREATEST REGRET

“In retrospect, it’s easy to say that we should have been building up our infrastructure a lot faster; that we should have got our trains running; that we should have got our HDB flats built more.

“At that time, we thought we were doing the right thing, pacing it, measuring it out, building it when we needed it and not spending resources until we needed to spend them. It turned out that things didn’t pan out the way we expected and I think in the future, we have to plan less conservatively, and try to be less precise in our prognostications.

“You want to predict what’s going to happen.”

ON THE POPULATION WHITE PAPER

“I think there was a strong emotional reaction when we put out the White Paper. In retrospect, if we have had a bit more time to prepare the ground, to explain it, to soft sell and prepare people to understand what it is that is the issue and what we are trying to do, we should have done better. But that’s water under the bridge.

“I can understand the reactions of people because they are not reacting on the basis of reading a paper and then trying to take a dispassionate, almost academic approach, to what should be done. They are reacting on the basis of their direct context – colleagues at work, people on MRT trains, public places where foreign workers may gather – and they have a reaction, to say things have changed.

“I am not surprised there is some such anxiety among Singaporeans. I think we have worked hard at this. We have calibrated the policies, we have slowed down the inflows, we have tightened up on foreign workers. In fact, it is causing employers a lot of pain.

“We will continue to adjust to get the balance as right as we can, but I don’t think we are able to relax because we have to continue in a sustainable way. But neither are we able to say: ‘We go to zero and let’s do away with all these people. We don’t need them to build our trains, we don’t need them to make houses. We don’t need them to serve us noodles in the middle of the night when we go down to the hawker centre.’ I think that is not practical.

“People ask me: ‘Next year, what is the growth?’ Or ‘Ten years from now, what will Singapore be?’ The answer is what I can guess, but actually a lot depends on what we do, a lot depends on how the world goes. We have to be prepared for a wide range of outcomes and insure ourselves.”

ON HIS USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

“I think it makes me a lot more conscious in pitching what I want to say, to ask myself: How will I distil this down in a form which somebody can digest on Facebook or Instagram? On Twitter it is very hard. It’s 140 characters, I can just put a bit, but please click on this bit.ly to read more.

“But on Facebook, you can say a bit more, on Instagram, if you choose the right picture, the picture can tell a lot of stories. So it makes me a lot more conscious of the way I boil down my messages down into small chunks, and also the timing and the sense of the messages. You cannot always be putting out long, learned dissertations on some cosmic issue or other.

“There are times when you have to be light-hearted. There are times when you see a beautiful sunset, you share it with people and hope that they enjoy it with you. When you catch an owl somewhere in the Istana, maybe somebody is interested to see the owl. It’s something unusual and personal. And I think that is helpful.

“But it’s necessary, through Facebook, Instagram or whatever the next new thing is coming – I’ve not gone into Snapchat yet – to have not just light banter, but really some serious response, serious content as well.”


image from PM Lee’ fb

ON FUTURE ELECTIONS

“I think it must change. I’m not sure which way it will change. We are in a very unusual situation where there is a clear consensus for the ruling party, for the People’s Action Party.

“There’s desire for alternative views, but basically Singaporeans want the PAP to govern Singapore. And if you ask the opposition party, whether it’s the Workers’ Party or SDP (Singapore Democratic Party), nobody says: ‘Vote for me, I will form the Government, I will be the Prime Minister, I will run this place better’. Nobody.

“So in that situation, for the Government to continue to maintain support and to be able to carry the consensus of the population over the long term – I think it’s very important. Will it remain the present situation exactly today? I don’t think so. How will it change? I cannot say.

“It depends on voters. It depends on how the new MPs and ministers we bring in bond with the people. It depends on what situations we run into. If we run into a turbulent situation, I think people will be very worried about the dangers and there will be a flight to safety. If you are in a peaceful and prosperous environment, people will say: ‘This is the way the world is, why do you need the Government? We can prosper without the Government.’

“So there is no safety net, no certainty that what we have now is going to continue. And each election is a very serious contest for who is going to form the next Government.”

ON THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION

“I think there’ll be quite a few (new candidates). You have already seen some of them, so you can do an estimation.

“(The number of Group Representation Constituencies) will be decided by the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee. But at the last General Election, the average number of MPs assigned to each GRC went down, and there were a few more SMCs (Single Member Constituencies). I am satisfied with that.

“In principle, every MP should be able to contest on his own to keep his constituency. I think every MP should be prepared for this because they won’t be able to know whether the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee will carve out an SMC from their GRC. The objective of having GRCs is to ensure we will have minority representation in Parliament. I think this is still necessary, so we definitely will not change the GRC system.

“There is no institution that can guarantee it will never be overturned. Even if you don’t hold elections, there may still be revolutions. So in Singapore, if everyone just assumes the Government will not be unseated and votes as he wishes, I think that is a very dangerous assumption.”

ON HIS SUCCESSOR

“It’s very possible (my successor) is already in the current Cabinet line-up, but it’s not an absolute because I want to bring in a group of new candidates with strong leadership potential in the next election. I believe we should be able to find my successor from the previous two elections or the next one.

“Times have changed, and his background would also be different. He would need some time to establish his authority, to let Singaporeans know his character, his working style and his leadership abilities. In other countries, it’s quite rare to find a Prime Minister that has had many years of experience before leading a country.

“But he may not be a stranger.”

ON THE NARRATIVE FOR SINGAPORE

“I think that for the next phase, the narrative cannot be a single word, nation-building. It has to be that we live in Singapore, we have a home, this is a place which is quite special, if you travel, you would know it’s very special. Not just if you travel to developing countries and backward areas.

“If you travel to developed countries, you would know that this is a place where you don’t find the same kind of multiracial mix, you don’t find the same kind of opportunities as you would in Singapore and many places.

“I think we can make this something really outstanding for ourselves and our children. And for Singapore, as well as for the individual, we have to work at it … it’s not easy, but we have the resources, and if we can work at it, it will be better.

“Better to do what? Better for you to fulfil what you want to do in life. We accommodate one another, we are not just so many individual human beings but a society. In Singapore we get on together, and I think we can have a good future, a bright future.”

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CPF money is always returned – IN FULL, but those who donate their money to Roy Ngerng will never again see their money. And woh ! M Ravi earns more than a senior counsel ?!

image -> Actually, I’m a technician

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Overheard from QY:

So Roy’s lawyer earns more than a senior counsel?
He gave the figure of $70k himself when he asked for donations. Hahaha

He can inflate his lawyer’s legal fee to any amount he wants since he isn’t paying for it. It’s public donations and he is well able to manipulate people’s emotions to get them to donate. No one has any idea how much of the donations has been spent or how they were spent. There is no transparency or accountability.

The government raised the draw down age so that they can keep your CPF forever?
That’s a big lie.

What is true is that those who donate their money to Roy will never again see that money.

Since when was anyone unable to take back his CPF?
The older generation had already withdrawn all their CPF. The younger old are receiving their monthly payouts. People are using their CPF to buy their property, to pay medical bills and insurance and more. If a person lives to a ripe old age, the monthly payouts he receives in total exceeds what he has in his retirement account. If unfortunately he dies early, whatever money he has left in his CPF will be distributed to his family members according to his nomination. If he had not made any nomination, then the money will still be distributed to his family members – according to intestacy laws.

Either way, the CPF money is always returned – IN FULL.

Comment :
At my age of 74 years, I totally agree with the writer’s comment regarding the CPF.

Thru CPF I own my HDB Flat ( now rented ) n CPF has never fail to pay me.

Current income gives me much more than I need n yet to see the need of my personal saving, all thanks to our country’s good system …

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Overheard :

  • These 2 person, Roy & HHH are deem clever. If you are not successful in life due to deficiency of capability, the least is they know that a bunch of anti-PAP supporters would like to listen, cheers and support regardless. The more they spoke against the Ruling party, (any bullshit also can) the better and more money they get. I wonder if they might even get a long term salary to continue their act.
  • If it is not 70K , who in the right mind ( not even Ravi) will represent him for blalantly defamation of a country Prime Minister.
    It is suicide , R&R ( Roy and Ravi ) are both in it for the money ,only very naive people can’t see that.
  • The only suckers here were the people who donated the amount…
    I wonder how they are feeling now..
  • PM Lee’s legal fee is assessed to be $29,000, but Ravi’s legal fee to represent Roy Ngerng is $70,000 (based on this, Roy managed to crowd-source $110K).
    Superb business model. Were you conned?

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CPF is more transparent than Roy Ngerng. M Ravi is wrong, and Roy Ngerng has made yet another baseless allegation

Allegations by Roy Ngerng’s legal team ‘baseless’, says PM’s Press Secretary

Source : CNA -> Allegations by Ngerng’s legal team ‘baseless’, says PM’s Press Secretary

POSTED: 13 Jan 2015

SINGAPORE: Ms Chang Li-Lin, the Press Secretary to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, on Tuesday (Jan 13) cited legal notes to rebut a statement from Roy Ngerng’s lawyers, which said Ms Chang had issued an “inaccurate statement” and was “misinformed” over the blogger’s willingness to be cross-examined.

Said Ms Chang in a statement issued to the media on Tuesday: “(Mr Ngerng’s lawyer) M Ravi is wrong, and Mr Ngerng, who was not present during this part of the hearing, has made yet another baseless allegation.” Her statement was based on notes taken by Drew & Napier, who are representing Mr Lee in the defamation lawsuit.

“My statement that the Prime Minister stood ready to be cross-examined right from the beginning and had previously informed the Court of that position is also correct,” she added, citing a letter dated Dec 22, 2014, and court submissions on Jan 9 this year as occasions on which Drew & Napier had indicated to the court that Mr Lee was ready to be cross-examined.

In their letter on Tuesday morning, the office of Mr Ravi had also asked whether it was appropriate for Ms Chang, “a civil servant”, to be “issuing press releases on behalf of a private litigant”. In response, Ms Chang said in her press statement: “He appears to have forgotten that, as the Court has found, Mr Ngerng falsely alleged that ‘the plaintiff, the Prime Minister of Singapore… is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the monies paid by Singaporeans to the CPF’.

“It is therefore entirely proper for me to deal with this matter as the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary.”

Ms Chang’s statement, in full, is as follows:

Yesterday evening, Mr Roy Ngerng said in a blog post that I and the media lied in saying that “Mr Ngerng’s lawyer indicated at the hearing that Mr Ngerng did not want to be cross-examined”.

This morning, Mr M Ravi issued a statement to the media saying that the following statement by me is inaccurate, and that I have been misinformed: “…Mr Ngerng’s lawyer indicated at the hearing that Mr Ngerng did not want to be cross-examined. The judge directed his lawyer to confirm this by 30 January 2015. PM Lee stands ready to be cross-examined, a position he has maintained right from the beginning.”

Mr Ravi is wrong, and Mr Ngerng, who was not present during this part of the hearing, has made yet another baseless allegation.

Mr Ravi said his statement was based on his “recollection”. But my statement was based on contemporaneous notes of the hearing taken by Drew & Napier.

Drew & Napier’s notes show that the following exchange took place in Court yesterday:

Footnote: According to Drew & Napier, the following shorthand was used in the notes: “P” (Plaintiff) is Mr Davinder Singh SC, “MR” is Mr M Ravi, “D” (Defendant) is Mr Roy Ngerng, “J” refers to the Judge, “AEIC” is affidavit of evidence in chief, “aff” is affidavit, “xxing” is cross-examining, “YH” is Your Honour, “wks” is weeks, “app” is application and “PTC” is pre-trial conference. The relevant extracts are attached.

P: Will D be filing aff?
MR: No
P: Is D calling any other witness?
MR: I will be seeking to rely on docs filed by my client in lower
proceedings.
J: Unless they ordered to stand as AEICs, not in evidence
MR: I ask that RN’s affidavit stand as AEIC
J: How many?
MR: 1.
J: Aff he filed in O 14 below to stand as AEIC?
P: I will be xxing if standing as AEIC.
MR: Therefore, I won’t be filing.
Enough YH I won’t be filing
J: I suggest you go through his docs and see if all docs you want to
rely on are there
MR: 2 wks from now?
…………
J: liberty to D to apply within 2 wks, by 31 Jan 2015, leave to submit
AEIC?
…………
J: Might make sense for you to give new aff if only 1-2 docs
P: If D chooses to give AEIC in whatever form, I will be xxing.
J: Until 31 Jan if you have anything you can apply for leave.
…………
MR: If my client decides to file AEIC, does he have to file app?
J: Will be a further PTC.
Write to inform the Registry that D wishes to tender evidence
Write in before 31 Jan. Will schedule PTC for you in Feb to give
necessary leave.
…………
J: Liberty to D to apply to give evidence on or before 31 Jan
Ms Yap tells me 31 Jan is Sat
30 Jan?
MR: Ok

From the notes, it is clear that Mr Ravi had informed the Court that Mr Ngerng would rely on the affidavit filed by him in the earlier summary judgment application as his evidence for the purposes of the assessment of damages. Mr Davinder Singh then gave Mr Ravi notice that if Mr Ngerng was going to give evidence for the purposes of the assessment of damages, Mr Singh would be cross-examining Mr Ngerng. Whereupon Mr Ravi promptly changed his position, and informed the Court that Mr Ngerng would “Therefore” not be filing any evidence.

This was the clearest indication that Mr Ngerng did not want to be crossexamined.

After saying that Mr Ngerng intended to rely on an earlier affidavit as his evidence, Mr Ravi did a hasty U-turn after Mr Singh said that he will cross-examine Mr Ngerng if he gives evidence. Mr Ravi was so determined that Mr Ngerng not be cross-examined that he even said to the Court “Enough Y[our] H[onour] I won’t be filing”.

In his statement, Mr Ravi said that if “the client choses [sic] to give evidence… he will be liable to cross examination. If he does not, he will not”. That explains why Mr Ravi changed his position at the hearing.

As is also clear from the notes, Mr Ravi’s statement that “If my instructions had been that my client did not wish to give evidence and I had indeed conveyed that fact to the Court, it would have been illogical for the learned Judge to have asked me to confirm this by 30 January 2015” is also incorrect. The fact is that after Mr Ravi said that Mr Ngerng would not be giving evidence, and even after he tried to end the discussion, the Court asked Mr Ravi to consider the matter and let the Court and Drew & Napier know by 30 January 2015 if Mr Ngerng would be giving evidence.

My statement that the Prime Minister stood ready to be cross-examined right from the beginning and had previously informed the Court of that position is also correct.

There are two parts to this case.

The first was the application for summary judgment. That application was decided on the basis of affidavit evidence, and the issue of cross-examination did not arise. Judgment was given in favour of the Prime Minister on 7 November 2014.

The second is the assessment of damages where evidence is given on the stand and the witnesses are subject to cross-examination. That process began with the Prime Minister’s application for directions that was filed on 18 November 2014.

At the very first hearing of that application, which took place on 19 December 2014, Mr Singh informed the Court in Mr Ravi’s presence that the Prime Minister will give evidence and that any suggestion that the Prime Minister is not to be cross-examined should be dispelled.

Drew & Napier indicated to the Court and to Mr Ravi on at least two more occasions before yesterday’s hearing that the Prime Minister stands ready to be cross-examined. The first was by a letter dated 22 December 2014 and the second was in submissions which were filed in Court and served on Mr Ravi on 9 January 2015.

Finally, Mr Ravi has asked whether it is appropriate for the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary to issue statements in connection with this case. He appears to have forgotten that, as the Court has found, Mr Ngerng falsely alleged that “the plaintiff, the Prime Minister of Singapore… is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the monies paid by Singaporeans to the CPF”. It is therefore entirely proper for me to deal with this matter as the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary.

Stay calm and united, not divide or destroy our society- PM Lee

  Lee Hsien Loong  <-

I am saddened by the loss of innocent lives in the Sydney hostage taking. I had just held a briefing with our community and religious leaders on extremist terrorism last month. We talked about how it remained a live threat to us, and in particular the danger of self-radicalisation.

This incident teaches us to keep up our guard. Despite all our precautions, we can never completely rule out such an incident here. If it ever happens, we need the cohesion and resilience to deal with it calmly and as one united people, and not let it divide or destroy our society. – LHL

#sydneysiege

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Singapore stands in solidarity with Australia: PM Lee

Source : Todayonline link ->Singapore stands in solidarity with Australia: PM Lee

Excerpt : 

THE FULL LETTER BY PM LEE:

16 December 2014

Dear Prime Minister Abbott,

I have followed news of the hostage incident in Sydney with great concern. The hostage taker has committed an abominable crime, invoked the name of Islam in vain, and perpetrated an affront to all civilised societies. The incident reminds us of the threat that terrorism and extremism, and in particular the danger of self-radicalisation, pose to all societies.

The Australian police and officials acted with great professionalism in dealing with a very difficult situation. I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of innocent lives and injuries in the final outcome.  But I have no doubt that they did what they needed to do, and helped to save many lives.

On behalf of the Government and people of Singapore, I offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their loved ones. Singapore stands in solidarity with Australia.

Yours sincerely

Lee Hsien Loong

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Overheard :

  • I am ashamed of how my religion has become a tool for vicious criminal acts. These acts of violence are not condoned in Islam and I hope people will see that many muslims do not support such deranged acts. I hope the people of Syndey stay safe and that this incident will not spark further hate. Having originated from a country of ethnic violence, I understand all too well the implications of isolated hate crimes. May such things never happen here.

You and the majority of Muslim people have NOTHING to be ashamed of. The acts of a minority sect of your religion does not define the majority of your religion. If anything, hold your head high and let the world know that the Muslim community unites together with the world, to stand against such horrible acts of terror. I stand with you.

 

  • The first step is to know yr neighbours. Getting engaged in lively conversation will disperse
    doubts and suspicions. My two Neighbours are from Mynmar and India.I am a practising Muslim.We knew each other backgrounds. So if this network of communication
    spreads across all living quarters in Singapore it will serve as a safety net. What we need is a vigilante population. Our Govt is On the alert. We have a pro-active Religious council from every faith. 
    As Singaporeans with the right frame of mind we conduct our lives peacefully. ONLY those with mental cracks chose to live otherwise. For this, protect us ALLAH (in my case) GOD, JESUS, BUDDHA LORD SHIVA…etc..depending on yr beliefs.

 

  • When we are too vigilant, people say we kiasu, when we slack a little n things happen, the people question the authority why they ‘slack’…outsiders commented we are too up tight…but safety is something we can’t just slack because we want freedom in this and that…freedom comes with a price…you have to choose what price you are willing to pay for the freedom you want…

 

  • To my Muslim friends and fellow Singaporeans, rest assured that there will be zero tolerance towards discrimination against the religion or anyone. These individuals with their radical extremist ideas do not represent all of Islam and all Muslims. Like wise, those of other religions who discriminate against Islam do not represent the majority. We are all Singaporeans, all citizens of a world we live in together. We will stand hand in hand against terrorists threats as a nation united, regardless or race, language, or religion!

 

  • I am living in Australia and I am appreciative how religious tolerance were taught back during my school days in Singapore. Religion must never be used to propagate a political motive nor must it be twisted to push a personal agenda. What happened in Sydney is a lone gunman using a distorted view of his religion to create terror and sorrow among people.

 

  • 反恐之心不可无也!也提醒国人同心合意的重要,以及时时建立反恐意识!同时更不忘我们的内政群英,你们的每日辛劳,我们才能得以安眠,在反恐工作,你们功不可抹!

 

  • Singapore preaches acceptance and there is greater interaction among the various races who grew up together. We are sensible enough to see this as separate from Islam.

 

  • Good day,my fellow Singaporeans,
    Let’s us stay united as one nation and be caring and helpful to one another regardless of race or religion.
    Our government are always on top of all major national issues to maintain peace and order for the nation.
    We as citizens need to co operate with them by being proactive and vigilant to keep the country safe, stable and peaceful at all time.

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Members of the Australian Muslim community pray after placing floral tributes amongst thousands of others near the Lindt cafe, where hostages were held for over 16 hours, in central Sydney Dec 16, 2014. Photo: Reuters