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Lee dynasty has cemented dominance of Spore politics

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    Lee dynasty has cemented dominance of Spore politics http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/06/01/1086058849438.html?oneclick=true The Age By Mark Baker Asia
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2004
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      Lee dynasty has cemented dominance of Spore politics

      http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/06/01/1086058849438.html?oneclick=true

      The Age
      By Mark Baker
      Asia Editor
      Singapore
      June 2, 2004

      The Lee dynasty has cemented its dominance of Singapore politics for
      another generation with the endorsement of Lee Kuan Yew's eldest son
      as the country's next prime minister.

      A closed-door meeting of the ruling People's Action Party's central
      executive has confirmed that Lee Hsien Loong, 52, will succeed Goh
      Chok Tong, who is expected to retire in August after 13 years in the
      top job.

      The announcement ratifies a promotion seen as inevitable since Lee
      Kuan Yew - Singapore's founding father - relinquished the prime
      ministership in 1990.

      The elevation of Lee Hsien Loong, who is Deputy Prime Minister,
      Finance Minister and chairman of the central bank, will tighten the
      Lee family's grip on political and corporate power.

      His younger brother, Lee Hsien Yang, is chief executive of SingTel,
      Singapore's biggest phone company, and his wife, Ho Ching, is head of
      Temasek Holdings, the secretive corporation through which the
      Government controls its vast business assets.

      Lee Kuan Yew, who turns 81 in September, remains in cabinet as Senior
      Minister and is still widely regarded as the most powerful figure in
      the Government.

      But there is speculation he will announce his retirement once his son
      is installed as prime minister.

      A statement released by the People's Action Party - which has ruled
      Singapore with a firm, paternal grip since independence in 1965 -
      said a meeting of Government MPs last Friday unanimously supported
      the party leadership's choice of Lee Hsien Loong as the next prime
      minister.

      Several of the MPs - all of whom remained silent when asked whether
      they had any alternative candidates - were defensive about the lack
      of an open contest for the leadership.

      First-term MP Zainudin Nordin said the party executive's decision to
      consult him and his colleagues was a measure of progress.

      "Whether people see it as rubber-stamping, or whether real
      contributions are made, it's a good beginning," he told the Straits
      Times.

      Several MPs were defensive about the lack of an open contest for the
      leadership.Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh insist that Lee Hsien Loong, a dry
      bureaucrat with little of the popular appeal of the man he will
      replace, has got to the top on his own merits.

      Describing the Lees as "an exceptional family", Mr Goh told the
      Financial Times last year: "There can be perception, there can be
      allegations, but it can't be proven that there was nepotism."

      Mr Goh, 63, delayed his departure to help Singapore ride out the
      recent regional economic downturn.

      The city-state is booming again, with 7.5 per cent growth reported in
      the first quarter of this year, according to local government owned news papers.

      Lee Hsien Loong said he was moved by the trust shown in him by his
      colleagues. "I look forward to working with all Singaporeans to help
      the country progress and to build a better future," he said.
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