The next PM?

The next PM?
Mr Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports.

Recently promoted to full minister helming the Ministry for Social and Family Development, Mr Chan Chun Sing talked to Business Times Weekend's Teh Shih Ning & Wong Wei Kong on a wide range of topics. Here are some excerpts:

On being tipped to be PM

"Who eventually becomes the PM is not something that we decide individually. Whoever he or she may be will have to command the trust of the team, and at the same time, the trust of the people of Singapore."

"It's not something that's number one on our minds. If anything, what's number one is to make sure that we have a strong team with diverse talent, with overlapping strengths so that we can cover one another's weaknesses. Our concern is whether we can continue to attract enough people to come forward, especially in this more challenging environment."

"I'm sure more people will come, in a more contested space. The question is whether we can continue to have people with the correct values to put the nation before self, and to care about the people and really work hard for the future of the country. That has become even more challenging after GE (General Election) 2011.

"I think I can speak for my cabinet colleagues that this search for people with the correct values is the number one (priority). Without sufficient depth and diversity in the team, the question of who may be the next PM is "quite irrelevant".

On his approach to helping Singapore's most needy

"My own view is that we've only one official religion, which is pragmatism - whatever it takes to get our society to share the fruits of its labour in an equitable manner, that helps society stay stable, and yet at the same time, allows the social mobility for people to move up and down."

On curbing the numbers of foreign workers:

"If we over-calibrate, we would flip the market and if we go on a roller-coaster dive again, suddenly, all the graduates coming out of the universities and polytechnics may not have jobs. That is the scary part."

"To be frank, a bit of the crowdedness we can still manage. It is a problem to manage, but the other problem is just as scary."

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