Spore's PM seeks to curb successor's powers - All In The Family
- By John Burton
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
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
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
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
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
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 ?
> ATTACHMENT part 2 image/jpeg name=demotivators_1786_7603645.jpg