PM Lee to take questions on Facebook on Saturday

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will hold his first live chat on his Facebook page on Saturday, when he will answer questions from the public.

The online question-and-answer session will be held from 11.45am to 12.30pm.

Mr Lee announced the session on his Facebook page yesterday and said: "Post your questions on this page on Saturday morning, and I will address as many as I can!"

The page, at www.facebook.com/leehsienloong, was set up by Mr Lee in April 2012.

In 2011, he took part in a live webchat on the Facebook page of the People's Action Party.

The hour-long session was held three days before the general election and it drew 5,000 posts on hot topics, such as housing, cost of living and transport.

Then, Mr Lee also answered personal questions, such as those on his marriage.

His post yesterday garnered more than 4,300 likes and was shared 400 times in five hours.

Some netizens cheered the opportunity to ask him questions, while others plunged straight into doing so. Their concerns included the difficulties some retrenched professionals, managers, executives and technicians faced in getting a job.

Some asked for larger families to be exempted from the foreign domestic worker levy, while others asked if the Government could make it easier for single people to adopt.

Suggestions on how to make the upcoming chat more orderly were also given. One was to let people post their questions before the session.

As of yesterday, Mr Lee's Facebook page had more than 467,300 likes. About two-thirds of these Facebook fans are Singaporeans, Mr Lee said in an interview with local media last Wednesday.

He also said social media had made him more conscious of how to engage Singaporeans and others online.

He added that sometimes, the situation called for a serious response, while at other times, it required a light-hearted approach.

And to reflect that, he ended yesterday's post with a smiley face emoticon.

charyong@sph.com.sg