Wednesday, April 6, 2011

PAP dominance the result of four 'crucial' actions: PM Lee

Apr 06, 2011 SINGAPORE - Historical accident played a role in the People's Action Party's (PAP) dominance but several "crucial" actions taken in the past 50 years have helped it remain so today - such that Singapore's success is getting more widely recognised, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The "accident" happened in 1966 when the Barisan Sosialis - the leftist group that split from the PAP in 1961 - took itself out of Parliament, ceding political ground to the PAP, Mr Lee said at yesterday's Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum at the University Cultural Centre. This allowed the PAP to make a "clean sweep" in the 1968 General Election.But since then, the PAP has built a system "which has delivered high quality, efficient government".

This was done in four ways: Through inclusive policies, representing the interests of a broad spectrum of society, adapting Singapore's political system to ensure minimum representation of Opposition voices in Parliament while avoiding divisive politics, as well as systematic leadership renewal, Mr Lee said to his audience of primarily university students.The system of governance has been achieved on the "cheap", as "we actually spend very little money running the Government".

This system is an "important and enduring advantage" that makes up for Singapore's small size and vulnerability, he said.Recent plaudits from abroad include a report in the March 19 issue of The Economist, as well as Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam being chosen to chair the policy-steering committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said Mr Lee.

The latter shows the IMF's high regard of Singapore as well as Mr Tharman, while The Economist's report praises Singapore and its education system. Mr Lee said: "So our reputation and the reality of our good government is of great value to Singapore. It gives us influence in the world, it gives you standing in the world, it opens the door for our businesses and it creates many opportunities for Singaporeans" - which would not be possible if the Republic was just an ordinary city in Asia.

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