Singapore PM Lee asks citizens to stay united, maintain political stability in final major speech

SINGAPORE — Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (picture), in his final major speech addressing the nation before relinquishing office later this month, called on Singaporeans to stay united and maintain political stability as a way forward for the country.

Lee, who will hand over the reins to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on May 15, in his keynote address at the May Day Rally, reiterated support for his successor, and asked Singaporeans to do the same.

“I have every confidence in Lawrence and his team. The 4G team will have their hands full dealing with issues which will arise and realising their Forward Singapore agenda.

“I ask all Singaporeans to rally behind them and work together to make Singapore success for your sake,” he said at the rally held at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, here Wednesday.

The speech which lasted for over one hour was also streamed live on the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) social media pages.

Lee, who has been the Prime Minister since 2004, thanked every segment of the Singapore society for their support throughout his 40 years in politics.

He stated he felt a sense of “satisfaction and completeness” as he prepared to handover the leadership of the country.

“I’m deeply grateful to the ministers, Members of Parliaments, and grassroots and union leaders who stood with me throughout, more than one generation of them. Some of whom have already passed on.

“… most of all I’m humbled by and grateful for Singaporeans’ trust, confidence and support,” he said before bowing to the crowd which gave him a standing ovation.

Lee also paid tribute to his predecessors – former prime ministers the late Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong – and their teams which has helped with establishing the fundamentals of good government trusted by the people under the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).

He said the PAP has won a total of 15 elections – a feat very few countries have achieved.

“They were unshakably committed to meritocracy and incorruptibility. They work hard to build a system that would endure beyond their own terms as a PM. My team and I have done our best to steward Singapore and safeguard its future. Our successors must do the same,” Lee said.

In his speech in front of more than 1,700 union leaders and tripartite partners, Lee also paid tribute to the labour movement contributions to Singapore from pre-independence to date, including their support to PAP.

He noted that unions will continue to play a more crucial role for the country in the future as it deals with economic and geopolitical uncertainty. — BERNAMA / pic BLOOMBERG