Excerpts from ANN editors' dialogue with Singapore PM

Excerpts from ANN editors' dialogue with Singapore PM

MALAYSIA'S SEARCH FOR MH370

PM Lee: I think your government has had a very tough time managing this crisis because it is quite unprecedented.

You have been searching now for one month, and you have had no clues, or rather, you have no hard evidence of the aeroplane.

In that situation, you have to deal with not just the engineering and the actual operations of it, conducting the search, but also the communications, with the families, with the relatives, with the international public who are watching this.

So it's a very difficult situation which your government is in, and I think they have done a very manful job.

SINGAPORE VS ASEAN

PM Lee: We have reached a level of more developed economy and we are growing GDP 2 per cent to 3 per cent a year if we can do well, whereas ASEAN countries, whether it is Thailand, Malaysia (or) Indonesia, more so the Indo-Chinese countries - Vietnam, Myanmar - you can make six, seven per cent, even eight, nine, 10 per cent.

At that level, the gap is narrowing. So I don't think that we are pulling ahead from the rest of the region. What we want to do is to progress together with the region.

PRICE OF SUCCESS

PM Lee: If you look back over the last decade, we have done economically better, grown faster. We succeeded more than we expected, and so in terms of the infrastructure, we were not able to catch up - our public transport, building houses. And we paid a price.

We have spent the last three, four years working hard to try and come up back to speed. If we are positioning ourselves as a global city, it is very important that our people have a sense of belonging and place and of roots here, and a sense of country and community.

We are not like London, which can be completely cosmopolitan, but it's a part of England.

Here, Singapore is Singapore; that's all there is. And we have to make sure that Singaporeans feel like that and are confident of their position in this society, which they have every reason to be.

SINGAPORE'S RANKING BY REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS

PM Lee: I have given up that. I do not take them seriously. They put us somewhere around Zimbabwe, I said, so be it. I just ignore that. We manage our press, our media and our freedom of information in a way which makes sense for Singapore.

ON SOCIAL MEDIA

PM Lee: I embarked on this about two years ago and launched a Facebook page. And later we launched an Instagram account. It's a good way to have informal comments on serious and semi-serious matters.

You also have some light comments from time to time, because people like to see the human side of you and it helps to build up the eyeballs.

And if you want to appear on people's Newsfeeds, you must make sure that people "Like" you from time to time.

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