Singapore does not need a former PM to rescue it, says Goh Chok Tong: report

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong at the 2018 National Day Parade celebrations. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

Unlike Malaysia, Singapore does not need a former prime minister to rescue it, said Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong.

According to a Straits Times report, the 77-year-old former prime minister said that following Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s stunning political comeback in the recent general elections, some had suggested that Goh could do the same in Singapore.

“They even proposed Tan Cheng Bock to be my Anwar Ibrahim,” said Goh during the annual Marine Parade National Day dinner on Saturday (18 August) night. Tan is a former People’s Action Party Member of Parliament who was in political office for more than two decades and a candidate in the 2011 presidential election.

“(Mahathir) made his comeback at 92. I am only 77. I can wait 15 years,” he joked in front of some 1,000 residents and volunteers gathered at Orchard Hotel.

“If the 5G leaders do not do a good job, I’ll be watching,” he said. Like Mahathir, he continues to be concerned over his country’s future even after stepping down as prime minister, calling it an “occupational habit”.

“It is difficult to let go of the country which you helped to build,” said Goh.

During his speech, he also touched on Singapore’s political succession and the need for Singaporeans to be united in order to “do well as a nation”.

He cited having a good government and a united population as two key factors in the nation’s success, noting that Singapore “has not done too badly” in terms of healthcare, education, housing, social welfare, economic competitiveness and per capita income.

As for leadership, he said in his earlier Mandarin speech that the nation’s political succession has been carefully planned with “little drama or infighting” and that the “4G ministers are in place to lead Singapore in a few years’ time”.

Comparing Singapore with a football team, Goh said, “We must prepare for the next season, find the right manager, seasoned coaches and the best players. With the right strategy and tactics, hard work and a cohesive team, we can achieve new success.”

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