SINGAPORE — Good leadership is non-negotiable when it comes to Singapore responding creatively and resiliently to challenges year after year, said Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong during the National Day Rally at the Institute of Technical Education headquarters at Ang Mo Kio on Sunday (21 August).
With Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Lawrence Wong chosen by the younger ministers to lead the fourth generation (4G) of Singapore's government, Lee added that his succession plans are back on track after he had put them on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, and asked the Singapore public to give Wong and his team their fullest support.
"A small country like Singapore has zero margin for error," he said during the rally.
"Not just Singapore’s continued success, but our very survival, depends on us having the right leaders - leaders with integrity, dedication, and competence; leaders with the conviction to make the tough calls and do the right thing, even if it may cost them some votes; leaders whom you can trust.
"We cannot afford any compromise on this."
'Loss of faith' when governments are unstable
Lee said that in countries where governments are unstable and politics are messy, leaders are either being forced out or they resign en-masse whenever things do not work. Policies and laws either never make it through political gridlock, or they are made by one government only to be reversed by the next.
The result is a "devastating loss of faith" not just in individual politicians or parties, but also in the whole political system and political class, he said.
Over 57 years, Singapore's leaders have earned and maintained Singaporean's trust and confidence, have worked closely with the people to deliver on sound policies, and have improved the lives of all Singaporeans, according to Lee.
Leadership succession is therefore of paramount importance, and it is the government's duty to extend its success formula into the next generation and beyond, he said.
"Now we are learning to live with COVID-19, and entering a new normal. The younger ministers have chosen DPM Lawrence Wong to be their leader.
"I am also glad that, from everything I see, Singaporeans are supportive of Lawrence and his leadership of the team. So I ask you: give Lawrence and his 4G team – your team – your fullest support."
Wong, 49, had been selected to be the leader of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) 4G team in April, paving the way for him to succeed Lee as Singapore's next PM.
Heng Swee Keat, the previous candidate to lead the PAP's 4G team, remains as DPM.
Read more about the National Day Rally 2022, including what were some of the major announcements and the reactions to PM Lee's speech.
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