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Updated: May 15, 2011 00:37 IST

Top Singapore leaders step down

P. S. Suryanarayana
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Lee Kuan Yew.
AFP Lee Kuan Yew.

Acknowledging “the new political situation” in Singapore and with an eye on the “future” of the city-state, elder statesman and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, both former Prime Ministers, on Saturday announced their retirement from Cabinet.

Their decision, based on a reading of the results of the May 7 general election, was designed to enable Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to start his next term at the helm on a “clean slate”.

The People's Action Party (PAP), in power for over half a century without break from a timeline before the city-state's independence, won the latest general election decisively, securing 90 per cent of the parliamentary seats at stake and 60 per cent of the total popular vote. However, six opposition groups, in particular the Workers' Party, ran a very close race in a number of constituencies.

The senior Mr. Lee and Mr. Goh, in their joint statement, said: “We have made our contributions to the development of Singapore. The time has come for a younger generation to carry Singapore forward in a more difficult and complex situation. The Prime Minister and his team of younger leaders should have a fresh, clean, slate. A younger generation, besides having a non-corrupt and meritocratic government and a high standard of living, wants to be more engaged in the decisions which affect them. After a watershed general election, we have decided to leave the Cabinet and have a completely younger team of ministers to connect to and engage with this young generation in shaping the future of our Singapore.”

On a nostalgic note, the two senior leaders said: “The younger team must always have in mind the interests of the older generation. This [older] generation who has contributed to Singapore must be well-looked after.”

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