Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was interviewed by CNN’s Patricia Wu at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit this week.
In the interview, PM said that the US government shutdown and the ongoing deadlock over the debt ceiling sends a “negative signal which will last much longer that the shutdown.”
Below is a summary of the interview:
1. On the US government shutdown and its impact on the US economy: PM was not worried about the impact on the GDP of the US. However, he said that the US is sending a signal that “the Americans are unable to get their act together and can’t vote money to run the government and can’t agree that the government needs to be run”. He said that this is “a negative signal which will last much longer than the shutdown”.
2. On the US debt ceiling: PM said that if the debt ceiling is hit, it just confirmed that US “can’t resolve the practical problems, which should not be practical problems”. He added that “these are problems that you have created for yourself in a game of chicken”.
3. On Singapore’s lawmakers being the highest paid in the world: PM replied that Singapore may have competitive salaries but Singapore was far from being the richest lawmakers in the world. He said that Singapore “pay people what their job is worth and what the quality of people is worth and we expect them to perform, and if they don’t, well, they have to go or the electorate will vote them out”.
4. On the influence of money in Washington: PM said that depending on interest groups to fund congressional campaigns leads to “a complicated conflict of interests”, where “money speaks”. He said that there “is a problem in the system” which many Americans acknowledged.
Featured photo from a screen capture of CNN video.