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Ruling parties have to fulfil aspirations of younger voters: PM Lee

Published on Sep 21, 2013 8:27 AM
 
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking at a press briefing on June 20, 2013. The loss of popular support for ruling parties that have governed for decades in Singapore and Malaysia must be met by new leaders who can fulfil younger voters' aspirations, Mr Lee said this week. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

The loss of popular support for ruling parties that have governed for decades in Singapore and Malaysia must be met by new leaders who can fulfil younger voters' aspirations, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this week.

In his first public comments comparing Singapore's General Election of May 2011 and Malaysia's polls in May this year, Mr Lee said: "You are talking about a generational change, you are talking about new social norms, new technology, new experiences of a generation which is growing up, which sees a different world and would like to have aspirations of their own and not just the aspirations of the older generation.

"It is necessary for every country to be able to produce the leadership which will work for that generation. And you cannot have a country where the population is 40 years old, but the leaders are very, very old as a team because there would be a gap."

He was replying to a question from Ms Shamsiah Sanin, an assistant editor at Berita Harian (Malaysia), in an interview with 15 journalists from Asean countries on Tuesday at the Istana. The transcript of the hour-long interview on a range of issues, from Singapore-Malaysia ties to Myanmar's future, was released yesterday.

 
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Background story

ON S'PORE'S VOICE IN ASEAN

Small countries should not speak loudly. It is not a good idea. We work together with the other countries. Economic cooperation, of course, is a very major item on the agenda but also political cooperation (and) our social programmes. It has to be a balanced package because different countries in Asean have different interests and we want to progress on all of them, not in lockstep, but in parallel, so that we get benefits distributed all round and countries continue to find Asean relevant to them.

- Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, when asked on which aspects of Asean integration Singapore's voice could be expected to be loudest


ON MALAY COMMUNITY

They have made enormous progress from a starting position which was a lot behind (that) of the Chinese and Indian Singaporeans. The gap has not completely closed... Resources are not the problem... You really need the community to make the effort. You need the social workers, community leaders, role models, people who have done well, saying: 'I am going to help others.' And I think increasingly we are having people like that.

- Mr Lee, when asked about the Malay community in Singapore


ON HIS LEADERSHIP STYLE

I do not try to compare with my father. I just be myself. It is a different generation, I am a different person, and what he was able to do in his way, I have to do something different in my way. It is up to others to say how they see my style and whether they are happy with it or not. But I am comfortable with what I am doing.

- Mr Lee, when asked to compare his leadership style with his father's