No system is perfect, how we respond is important: PM Lee on recent scandals involving political figures

He promised to maintain Singapore’s clean and effective political system.

Zi Shan Kow | August 20, 2023, 07:19 PM

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In Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally speech in Mandarin on Aug. 20, he addressed concerns about Singapore's political system, following a wave of scandals in recent months.

He also elaborated about the importance of maintaining the trust between Singaporeans and the government to build a prosperous Singapore.

Singapore recovered from Covid-19 quickly

In his Mandarin speech, PM Lee said that the Covid-19 pandemic spanning across the last three years was a "serious crisis", but one that Singapore overcame by working together.

He pointed out that Singapore was the first few countries to emerge from the crisis.

Investors have gained more confidence in Singapore after seeing how we performed during the pandemic.

As a result, Singapore welcomed many new investments through the crisis, and our economic activity has increased.

Now, Singapore is flourishing more than before as a global financial hub, and our position as a regional hub for technology, research and development, and logistics have also strengthened, added Lee.

Mutual trust between the government and Singaporeans is important

PM Lee then highlighted that these achievements did not occur "by chance".

He credited them to our foresight in planning ahead, and the mutual trust between the Government and Singaporeans which allowed us to work closely together.

He noted that some Singaporeans have felt uneasy about "recent events involving political figures", leading them to wonder if there is something wrong with our system.

In recent months, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan as well as Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam were scrutinised for the black and white bungalows that they have rented along Ridout Road.

Transport Minister S Iswaran has been investigated by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) as well.

Former Speaker of the Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and Tampines Member of Parliament Cheng Li Hui were found to be in an extramarital affair and have resigned from their political positions.

In addressing concerns over Singapore's political system, PM Lee said that no system is perfect.

"Whether these events would be a blow to Singapore depends on how we respond," he stated.

PM Lee promised that he and his team will do their utmost to maintain Singapore’s clean and effective political system and our reputation for incorruptibility.

Remembering Lee Kuan Yew's guidance

PM Lee then brought up founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, whose 100th year birth anniversary falls on this year.

He said that the late Lee has dealt with similar situations decisively, just as he has done — and he believes his successor will do the same as well.

Towards the end of his Mandarin speech, PM Lee brought up some of the "hard truths" that the late Lee believed are critical to Singapore's survival.

The late Lee said that Singapore should never allow its politics to become corrupt, and the nation must maintain the highest standards of integrity.

This would be the foundation for Singapore's core values, he commented.

He also highlighted that the perseverance and determination of Singapore's founding fathers is what made the country today, and we should uphold their nation-building ideals.

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Top images via Lee Hsien Loong/Facebook.