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Spore's PM seeks to curb successor's powers - All In The Family

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  • Mellanie Hewlitt
    By John Burton Financial Times 26 April 26 2004 http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1079420600662
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 28, 2004
      By John Burton
      Financial Times
      26 April 26 2004


      Singapore's PM seeks to curb successor's powers

      Goh Chok Tong confirmed he would step down as Singapore's prime
      minister this year but not before placing potential checks on the
      powers of his successor.

      The moves come amid concerns about the increased concentration of
      power among family members of Lee Kuan Yew, modern Singapore's
      founding father.

      Mr Goh is expected to be succeeded by Lee Hsien Loong, Kuan Yew's
      son, while his wife, Ho Ching, is already head of Temasek Holdings,
      the powerful state investment agency that controls most of the city-
      state's leading companies and is emerging as a formidable investor in
      the region.

      Mr Goh told Singapore's Straits Times newspaper that he wanted to
      introduce a system where members of parliament affiliated to the long-
      ruling People's Action party (PAP), which holds all but two
      parliamentary seats, must first approve the prime minister before he
      takes office.

      This would represent a step towards the democratisation of the PAP,
      which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, since the party
      has maintained a top-down Leninist structure that reflects its
      leftwing origins.

      Although the party presents a united front to the public, there are
      indications of internal differences between a socially
      oriented "grassroots" wing headed by Mr Goh and a conservative
      technocratic wing led by Mr Lee.

      A widening income gap between rich and poor and increased
      unemployment have provoked a debate on whether the government should
      focus on social issues or cut wages to improve the business
      environment to attract foreign investment.

      Mr Goh has been popular in Singapore, but informal internet polls
      suggest that public support for Mr Lee is lukewarm because he is
      regarded as an aloof figure who lacks a populist touch.

      The prime minister said he would conduct a cabinet reshuffle before
      he resigned, which some analysts believe indicates that he wants to
      retain influence in the new government under Mr Lee.

      Mr Goh is also expected to be appointed to the advisory post of
      senior minister in the new government, a post that is also held by
      Lee Kuan Yew.

      Mr Goh refused to name a handover date, since he said he still
      had "important jobs" to complete, including a series of meetings with
      foreign leaders such as President George W. Bush in the next few

      "If I give a date now, when I go overseas they will say, 'Oh, you're
      in your last week of your prime ministership'," Mr Goh was quoted as
      saying by the pro-government Straits Times.

      Mr Goh, prime minister since 1990, said in December he would hand
      over power to Mr Lee if the economy expanded by at least 3 per cent
      in the first quarter of 2004, which would signal a long-awaited
      recovery. The economy grew by 7.3 per cent, according to the latest
      government data.

      The younger Mr Lee is now deputy prime minister, finance minister and
      central bank chairman.


      Dick Gascoigne <richardg@...> wrote: From: "Dick Gascoigne"
      Subject: Tourism poster?
      Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2004 14:04:15 +0800

      Needing ways to communicate the essence of Singapore, perhaps the attached ?

      from http://www.despair.com/


      > ATTACHMENT part 2 image/jpeg name=demotivators_1786_7603645.jpg
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