Saturday 26 May 2012

Singapore chooses new leaders very carefully: Lee Kuan Yew at Future of Asia 2012 Conference

By Michiyo Ishida, Channel NewsAsia, 24 May 2012

Singapore's former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said Singapore is very careful in selecting its new leaders, allowing them to work with senior leaders for long years before they take over the leadership.

He said this is to ensure that leaders understand the intricacies of government and also maintain high standards of honesty and duty.

"I hope that successive leaders will bring in carefully selected people who have got the potential to do more than something for themselves. They're not paid very much to do that. It must be a bit of a sacrifice, because the people with the potential to be ministers can easily earn bigger figures outside in the public sector," he said.

Mr Lee was asked at the annual Nikkei "Future of Asia Conference" in Tokyo about Singapore's leadership succession process.

Political and business leaders meeting in Tokyo reaffirmed the importance of Asia to the global economy, and discussed the impact of the eurozone crisis.

The eurozone crisis has had a direct impact on Asia, with many countries - including China - exporting to Europe.

The Asia Pacific region, comprising 45 countries, was projected to grow 6.9 per cent in 2012, picking up to 7.3 per cent in 2013.

But the forecast by the Asian Development Bank is expected to be revised due to global uncertainties.

Still, many who attended the annual Future of Asia conference in Tokyo believe Asia will remain the core growth region, including Japanese Foreign Minister, Koichiro Gemba, who spoke at the Nikkei forum.

Reconstruction efforts following the March 2011 disasters is expected to boost Japan's economy to 1.9 per cent in 2012, before slowing down again to 1.1 percent in 2013.

Japan is still one of the world's largest economies and participants said it has a role to play. But first, it must regain confidence which it lost after suffering from the massive natural disasters last March.

Day two of the symposium will feature prominent speakers from China and Myanmar.

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