Passing of Lee Kuan Yew
Mr. Lee Kuan Yew had passed away at 03:18hrs on 23rd March 2015 Singapore time. This is the biggest news in Singapore history thus far. Mr Lee Kuan Yew is touted as the founding father of modern Singapore, bringing the tiny island country to it’s current developed status. Though some may oppose or even reject his doings in the past, condemning some of his iron fist policies, the fact remains that he managed to construct a developed nation from one of the smallest country in the world with no natural resources to rely on.
Singapore’s lack of natural resources, a water supply that was derived primarily from Malaysia and a very limited defensive capability were the major challenges that Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and the Singaporean government faced during it’s early days of independence. With the strong mandate given by the people of Singapore during the elections, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew lead his political party, the PAP, to form the government and introduces a series of policies to overcome all the difficulties faced. Many policies were unpopular to the people of Singapore but they were able to be pushed through due to the lack of oppositions in the parliament. Many criticized that Singapore is not a true Democracy due to the dominance of only one political party in the parliament. But many do not know that this is one of the keys to Singapore’s success!
In many countries where true democracy is practised, political parties fought to remain in power or to seize power from the current government. This resulted in governments being limited to only implementing populist policies or risk losing the next election. Populist policies are always welcomed by the people but may not bode well for the country’s economy. Many governments are unable to bite the bullet and implement policies that will benefit the country as a whole, but unwelcomed by the people as they would most probably be voted out in the next election if they implement these policies.
Singapore’s government was always given a strong mandate by the people. Thus they are able to implement policies as they like without worrying about being voted out. Many people in the rest of the world are laughing at Singaporean for being kiasi (afraid of voicing out against the government) and too obedient. Little did they know that many Singaporean are willing to bite the bullet so as to make Singapore succeed.
The harsh laws in Singapore are also often being criticised, but harsh laws are the key to lowering crimes. The low crime rate in Singapore is not by chance, but through the implementation of the “harsh” laws. Though low crime doesn’t mean no crime, low crime does mean feeling safer than in other high crime places.
Singapore had also been widely criticised for accumulating wealth instead of spending on it’s people. When many developed countries are busy borrowing money to implement their populist policies, Singapore government was busy accumulating money for it’s national reserves to be used in times of needs. That’s the reason why when many developed countries are currently facing financial difficulties trying to repay or default on their debts, Singapore is still able to whip out a national budget drawing billions from it’s national reserves.
Imagine if there is a strong opposition who kept opposing good but non-populist policies and waiting on the sideline to take over the government in the next election, a lot of critical policies would be hampered or unable to be passed and it would be difficult to have long term plannings as government might change every 4 to 5 years.
Call it self-elusion or what not, but I truly respect Mr.Lee Kuan Yew for bringing Singapore to this stage. Attached is a photo of one of the 18 community sites that was being set up for the public to pay their last respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Rest in peace Mr Lee!