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PM Lee speaks on leadership renewal in the Singapore government

07 April 2011

KRMF 2011: Guest Speaker PM Lee spoke on the very timely topic of leadership renewal, in view of the upcoming General Election

Q&A: PM Lee fielding questions from the student audience. Moderating the session was Ms Ng Pei Yi, a fourth year Law student

KEEN PARTICIPANTS: PM Lee surrounded by students eager to seek his opinions on various issues even after the forum

In order to maintain the virtuous circle of political stability, good governance, economic and social success, Singapore cannot switch to auto-pilot even though it is in a much stronger position today than before. The country will continue to face challenges, internally and externally, and needs to find the best crew, carefully chart the most promising course forward, and work hard together so as to soar higher and faster towards a brighter future. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was speaking on "Leadership Renewal - the Fourth Generation and Beyond" at this year's Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum organised by the NUS Students' Political Association on 5 April 2011.

Highlighting the importance of leadership succession, he noted that this is a major issue in the upcoming General Election. "We have to press hard on leadership renewal now, so that by 2020, we will have a younger team ready, not just to maintain our present high standards but take this as foundation to fly even higher and do even better," he told the 1,200-strong audience at the University Cultural Centre.

Candidates whom the People's Action Party (PAP) are looking for are those with ability and integrity, who care about Singapore and are committed to the country, as well as able to contribute and connect with people.

PM Lee expressed confidence in the new candidates whom the PAP is fielding for the General Election. The candidates were chosen from over 200 people. "I am proud of our new candidates, individually and collectively. We will give them responsibilities to test their mettle and ability to solve problems for the people; and over the next 20 years or so, some of them will be playing key roles in Singapore," he said.

On the possibility of a two-party system in Singapore, PM Lee explained that the key reason why it will not be workable is the lack of talent to form two A teams. Hence he stressed that the way to safeguard Singapore's future is to have one A team, and to strengthen it and give it the best chance of succeeding.

PM Lee later fielded numerous questions from the student audience which touched on issues such as whether the PAP should let leaders emerge organically instead of picking or earmarking them; how to attract talent from the private sector to serve in the public sector; the Group Representation Constituency (GRC) system; opposition candidates and wards; and the salaries of Singapore ministers as compared to ministers from other countries.

An annual event, the Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum aims to promote political awareness among tertiary students in Singapore by offering them the opportunity to engage in dialogue with prominent political figures and listen to their views on topics of national and international interest.