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Lee Hsien Loong reflects on his decade as PM, is thankful for support and chance to serve

Published on Aug 12, 2014 12:27 PM
Mr Lee Hsien Loong at his swearing in ceremony on Aug 12, 2004. (Former president S.R. Nathan is on his left). -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reflected on his decade as Singapore's top political leader on Tuesday, saying he was grateful for the chance to serve the country and for the support he received.

He was sworn in as Prime Minister 10 years ago on Aug 12, 2004, after 20 years in politics.

"I learn much from the people I meet, those who write to me, and those following me on social media. Your views and insights have shown me what we are doing well, and where we need to do better. Your support and engagement means a lot to me," wrote Mr Lee, 62, on Facebook.

He also thanked volunteers, grassroots leaders and supporters for giving their time and energy generously: "You make it much easier for me and the government to do things for Singaporeans."

Mr Lee also thanked Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who was his immediate predecessor and Singapore's second prime minister.

"(Mr Goh) handed over to me a ship in good shape, and has continued to help me guide it safely, through fair winds and stormy seas," wrote Mr Lee.

He has had an eventful decade at the helm, with Singapore experiencing a difficult recession during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis and greater political contestation at the polls.

Under Mr Lee's charge, a wide range of social policy packages were rolled out, such as the ComCare Fund to provide financial help to needy families, Workfare Bonus to top up the pay of lower-wage workers and the $8 billion Pioneer Generation package to help pioneers with healthcare bills.

Mr Goh himself had earlier taken to social media to to wish Mr Lee well, and to congratulate him for "steering Singapore through choppy waters".

Wrote Mr Goh: "But the tougher stretch lies ahead. Keep your eyes on the sea of challenges. And harbour the interests of all on board in your heart. You have a tough job. We don't envy you. But we are behind you. All the best, mate."

Mr Lee promised that he and his team will continue to do their best for Singapore.