Lee Kuan Yew:
'I'll still contest'
His decision, at 82, to stay for at least one more election evokes strong reaction. By Seah Chiang Nee
Jan 25, 2006

Unsurprisingly, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has confirmed what most people had suspected: That he has no intention to leave politics any time soon.

The founder of modern Singapore was reported yesterday to have said he plans to run for re-election in the city-state's coming election, but that it will be his last, reports AP.

Mr. Lee, MP for the Tanjong Pagar electoral district, said he would be too "decrepit" to run again after this approaching election, AP added.

"I'm not as active as before; but enough to fight an election," the 82-year-old told local media during a trip to Qatar.

He said that he had no intention of leaving the political scene anytime soon. "You're keen to see me pack off and go? In that case I'm going to disappoint you," he joked.

"I eat less than I should, or I stop eating when I want to eat more; I exercise every day; I work hard every day and I sleep well every day."

Mr. Lee still retains support among many older Singaporeans who had benefited from his early leadership, but his popularity has eroded somewhat among the younger generation, which has little recollection of his past achievements.

His supporters welcome his continuing experience in the cabinet, especially in a complex world that has turned unfriendly towards Singapore.

Unlike his first-generation colleagues (Mr. Goh Keng Swee, Mr. Rajaratnam, Lim Kim San, etc), who were men with long-term, visionary capabilities, the current leaders are mostly renowned technocrats - what Mr. Rajaratnam once described as 'problem solvers'.

Insiders believe that one of the reasons Lee has hung on to power is his fear that once he is gone, things will go wrong. His own judgment of good leadership is so high that few people will fit in.

People familiar with Lee disagree with Associated Press' reading that he has decided not to contest the next election.

"This means that he will always have private nagging concerns about the people succeeding him or the post-Lee Kuan Yew Singapore," said an old timer.

"The fear may be overblown but because of his role in creating much of today's Singapore, this concern is understandable," he added.

Many of the younger Singaporeans, including those who may have benefited from Singapore's progress, do not share this feeling at all that without Lee Singapore will suffer.

A minority is, in fact, calling on him to retire now and let his Prime Minister son, Hsien Loong, to have a really free hand at the helm.

In fact, Lee's announcement has been greeted mainly by criticism on the Web.

Gauging true public reflections of Singaporeans is an impossible task at least until the election result is announced.

The mainstream pro-government media, usually does not report public criticism of Mr. Lee or the PAP, while the Internet, on the other hand, is the very opposite.

People who post messages on chatsites are anonymous with many multiple handles and are strongly anti-Lee and anti-PAP.

Most of Lee's conservative 'mainlander' supporters are not tech-savvy and do not surf, so their sentiments are not reflected publicly.

Internet reaction

But a minority of the online debaters are increasingly serious, balanced and articulate.

Some speak up for Lee and his party, but most are critical of them over perceptions of government "failures" declining living standards.

Here are some views on the subject: -

By alex_kew
This old man is power crazy. At 80 plus, he still wants to participate in election. This shows he does not want to lose the grip on power.
GRC is not righteous and fair. But to a person like Lee Kuan Yew his laws are always legal. Take the case of Tang Liang Hong. He and his PAP leaders sued JB Jeyaratnam for waving a police report. Is this righteous? Is this justice?

by "1"
At 80 plus, he can go on to live another 20 to 30 years still clinging on to politics and power. His whole generation may be gone then. What a King he is!

Of course he won't quit now or at all until he's really truly unable to. In any case, he will win if not by his past contributions and the role he played - and am sure the people will respect that.
But for the other ministers, it's a different story and even Minister Mentor will have to "transfer" Khaw (Boon Wan, Health Minister) to another GRC to support its weak ministers.

Gee, Harry now admits that he has to protect the new candidates. Makes me wonder at their selection criteria.
Normally in life if someone cannot stand on his own two feet, you don't use him. He is not good, not capable.
Simple as that. Just look at Mah Bow Tan. He failed to get into Parliament in two straight fights and has to be carried in a multi patient ambulance call the GRC.
You can see how he performs as a minister.
You can see the cumulative effects of having all these handicapped PAP multi-million dollar ministers being ferried into Parliament in big ambulances - one recession after another.
Singapore is losing its cutting edge and others (are catching) up and even overtaking us. We are led by a bunch of handicapped, who cannot stand on their own two feet.

That is why these people are never beholden to the people, they are beholden to old man who put them there.

I respect the man, for his contributions over the years. But I seriously think he should step down liao. Time to enjoy his retirement years.

He will be forced to eat his .. words. And I believe the reason on why he's throwing his hat in is because:
1) He fears LHL (Lee Hsien Loong) will not get a good majority vote. He sees where the situation is going and therefore, by getting in, he hopes to arrest the slide.
2) He, being old, hopes to drum back support from his generation (our grandparents basically). He hopes to rally them like he did in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. The reasons are obvious.
Two reasons on why he will fail:
1) The attack on the Workers Party manifesto is failing. People are not falling for their tricks and the smearing campaign this time round. People are not happy with (President S.R.) Nathan's unjustified pay rise and LHL's leadership and management skills.
The backlash will come and it will hit LHL, LKY and PAP hard.
2) Even LKY's generation - which refers to our grandparents - believes LKY should have retired a million years ago. They themselves are retired or semi-retired or forced to work again, against their will. They aren't happy to work when they themselves are 60, prone to more illnesses and getting pittance of a wage. And when they saw Nathan earning so much for nothing and LKY too, they get unhappy.
My suspicion is that even the bulwark of LKY's main support, the elders of this nation, will not support LKY this time round.
And I think LKY's refusal to retire will only incite our elders to vote against the PAP...even if the PAP resorts to upgrading to get these elders back to their fold.
Jan 25, 2006