In his own words: Highlights from PM Lee’s final interview before handover

In his own words: Highlights from PM Lee’s final interview before handover


Since the transfer is drawing near and there will be a portfolio of new leaders present, Mr. Lee was asked if Singapore would be tested.

” I would not be surprised. People may want to see how the new officials are, what their plan is, and what their character is, his position, his strength and support at home, and his ability to engage and to keep his unique, and to be something to take seriously”, he said.

” DPM Wong is not brand-new to this completely. He attended many of these meetings with me, and he was my PPS ( Principal Private Secretary ) before long ago, so he has seen me. As secretary, he has travelled with me too, from time to time”.

” I think that the new staff will be probed surely. Tested, well, sometimes carefully, maybe problems may come, and people may push a little bit harder, or maybe not. However, we must be prepared to listen and must anticipate some investigation.

We may have had a changing of the guard, but the new guards are prepared, and the ancient guards are however, finally giving the new team valuable views on how to do it, he said.” Never in a severe way, but silently to stand our ground and let people know that you know, we may have had a changing of the guard,” he said.

When it comes to managing relations with Indonesia and Malaysia, this is what Mr Lee had to say: &nbsp,

” I think both will always be complicated relationships. Nearest neighbours, permanently nearest neighbours, you have to work together, and yet there are always so many places where you can easily have different perspectives or rub up against each other”.

Because we can accomplish a lot of things together, I believe we both realize this and make every effort to avoid colliding.


According to Mr. Lee,” Myanmar is an old problem,” adding that the country first developed problems after the 1990 military junta was imposed as a result of a coup.

We made the decision to involve them and encourage them to adopt democracy at that point. He remarked that the country finally held elections in 2010 and that it was patient work.

” It was patient work… It is their domestic policies, their domestic tensions, conflicts, difficulties and social conditions. You cannot go and solve it for them” .&nbsp,

Mr Lee noted that after the 2021 elections, the outcome was” not acceptable and there was a coup“.

He claimed that there was always “one empty chair and Myanmar’s flag down there” at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN ) meeting.

” Meanwhile, we are trying to engage Myanmar, and we have special ministers and formed special little groups to go visit the parties in Myanmar. ASEAN settled on the formulation for its approach to Myanmar, which we call the&nbsp, Five- Point Consensus”.

We must be patient, in my opinion, by understanding the history and the nature of the issue. But fortunately, ASEAN is not held back. That is the subject being handled. But as I put it into context, Myanmar is an issue for ASEAN to manage”.