May Day Rally: Leadership renewal most critical issue in next GE, says PM Lee Hsien Loong

Ministers and union leaders singing during the May Day celebration at the May Day Rally on May 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Ministers and union leaders singing during the May Day celebration at the May Day Rally on May 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong meeting performers after the May Day celebration at the May Day Rally on May 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong meeting performers after the May Day celebration at the May Day Rally on May 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching arrive at the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) May Day Rally on May 1, 2015. Walking behind them are: outgoing labour chief Lim Swee Say (in red, behind Ms Ho Ching), Manpower Minister Tan Chu
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching arrive at the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) May Day Rally on May 1, 2015. Walking behind them are: outgoing labour chief Lim Swee Say (in red, behind Ms Ho Ching), Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin (in blue), who is also Minister for Social and Family Development, and Mr Chan Chun Sing (behind Mr Tan, in orange), who will be the new labour chief next week. -- PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Leadership renewal is the most important issue in the upcoming General Election (GE), said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the May Day Rally on Friday.

Noting that Singapore's success hinges on it being led by exceptional leaders, he said it is important to find more men and women to form the next team to take Singapore forward.

Part of the reason Singaporeans reacted strongly after founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew died on March 23 was that everyone knew it was his leadership, together with that of his core team, that had made modern Singapore possible, Mr Lee added.

The elder Mr Lee's death "reminded people that exceptional leadership made a big difference", said the Prime Minister.

He added that his job today is to build another strong team of leaders for Singapore. The present Cabinet has turned out well, with a good mix of experienced ministers and younger leaders who joined after the 2011 GE.

But the ministers will grow old and need successors, Mr Lee said.

He also revealed that he is still hoping to get candidates to stand in the next polls, which must be held before January 2017.

Recruiting such talent is not an easy job, he added. Suitable people are few and hard to persuade.

Still, Mr Lee is trying hard to find and persuade the right people.

"We must bring in enough new people who are committed, with ability, character, dedication and gumption, so that we can keep this country special," he said.

"We can never have an 'A' team which is too strong."