Pay attention to what’s happening outside of Singapore: PM Lee

Nurul Azliah Aripin
Nurul Azliah Aripin
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong giving his address at NUSS Lecture Series. (Yahoo Singapore)

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday that Singaporeans should also look outwards at what is happening globally to get a better perspective on issues.

Speaking before the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) for the celebration of the group’s 60th anniversary, he said, ”I fear that Singaporeans are not paying enough attention to what’s happening outside of Singapore, as more people are getting their news not from reading newspapers or watching the television news…but from one another or through the social media.”

 Lee believes that it is important to have a more global view because, it “sets own issues in perspective”.

PM Lee Hsien Loong answering questions at the NUSS Lecture Series moderated by Dr. Tommy Koh. (Yahoo Singapore)

“To assess what we are doing and to have ideas on what we can do, we have to know that this is not peculiar to Singapore. We have to know how others are tackling their problems and learn from their experiences,” he said.

"So we've got to look out even while we look inwards on ourselves. If we all fall to navel-gazing, that's the end of us," he added.

Lee highlighted major changes in the Asian landscape that may affect Singapore, such as the change in India’s president and how Singapore can take advantage of the new relationship.

“India, new prime minister…keen to make friends with Singapore, how can we take advantage of this? China, continuing to develop rapidly. Many of us still think of China as a low-cost manufacturing base…but I visited Shenzhen recently…and it completely defies this stereotype.”

He added, “Like it or not, the outside world is going to impose changes on us and we have to prepare for it.”

Lee also discussed the importance of having foreigners and foreign investments.

“Take the financial industry, during the global financial crisis, we encouraged banks and other financial institutions to bank here, which they did. Even while it was shrinking elsewhere, our financial sector grew. And now, we have a good critical mass of financial institutions and it has strengthened our financial centre, and created many more jobs,” he noted.


PM Lee also weighed in on MDA's decision to not allow filmmaker Tan Pin Pin's "To, Singapore, WIth Love" for local distribution during the question-and-answer session.

"Why should we allow them (the exiled), through a movie, to present an account of themselves not of documentary history objectively presented, but that is a self-servigig personal account, conveniently inaccurate in places, glossing over inconvenient facts and others, which will sully the honour and reputation of the security people and the brave men and women who fought the Communists all those many years in order to create today's Singapore?" he said.

On whether he thought communism still posed a threat to Singapore's national security, the reason given by MDA for its decision on the film, PM Lee replied, "I don't think communism will win. Communism is over, but I don't think the people who used to support communism, some of them, have given up the fight for a place on the winners' podium."