When interviewed by Singapore state media reporters in London yesterday (Apr 21), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong accidentally revealed that he had drafted the speech for puppet President Halimah Yacob for 20 times. The dictator did not hide his monarchic powers saying that for the past 30 years he always wanted the President’s speech to be drafted exactly the way he want it:
“I have given the younger ministers advice, and they are now on the 20th draft of the speech. I gave them some inputs on where to cast it, where to put the emphasis, how to pitch it. It has gone back and forth….it is an iterative process. I have been doing these drafts for now 30-odd years and this is the one in which my drafting is the least of all.”
In Singapore, the President is a puppet of the ruling party government and President Halimah Yacob never once drafted her own speech due to her limited English.
When questioned whether the upcoming Cabinet shuffle next week will determine who his successor is, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that he is still undecided and pushed the blame to his younger ministers.
“I am quite confident that gradually they are beginning to have a sense of one another and who they would like to have to lead them.”
The current 3 front-runners for the PM position is Minister of State Chan Chun Sing, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung. Former army general Chan Chun Sing is Lee Hsien Loong’s favourite due to his obedience and loyalty to the Lee family, and he is also the most likely to hand over premiership powers to Lee Hsien Loong’s son Li Hong Yi.
PM Lee is 66 years old this year, making him the oldest Prime Minister in Singapore. There has been calls from the public and within the party leadership for him to hand over power, due to dismaying performance and poor governance. The standards of living in Singapore has declined in the past 14 years under Lee Hsien Loong, with cost of living running out of control and censorship tightened.