Fri, Apr 16, 2010
PM Lee discusses the issue of nepotism

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was interviewd by Emmy award-winning journalist Charlie Rose.

Charlie Rose previously interviewed Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and made many references to that interview throughout his conversation with PM Lee.

In the hour-long interview, PM Lee voiced his views on a number of issues ranging from the Nuclear Security Summit, US President Obama's global leadership and the US relationship with Asia and Singapore.

He also analysed Singapore's sensitivity towards the issue of nepotism.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

- On nepotism

Charlie Rose: All right, well, you seem to be sensitive -- you were -- to the issue of what's called nepotism.

PM Lee: We are very sensitive.

Charlie Rose: Tell me about the sensitivity.

PM Lee The whole of our system is founded on a basic concept of meritocracy. You are where you are because you are the best man for the job and not because of your connections or your parents or your relatives.

And if anybody doubts that I as prime minister is here not because I am the best man for the job but because my father fixed it or my wife runs Temasek because I put her there and not because she's the best woman for the job, then my entire credibility and moral authority is destroyed. I'm not fit to be where I am.

And it's a fundamental issue of fitness to govern. First you must have the moral right, then you can make the right decisions. It's a basic Confusion precept.

Charlie Rose: Only when you have to moral right can you make --

PM Lee: Then can you govern and make the country right.

And in Singapore people expect that. So if there's any doubt that this is so, and people believe that I'm there because my father fixed it or the whole system is just make-believe, then the system will come down. It's not tenable.

If it's true, it better be proven and I better be kicked out. If it's not true, it better also be proven to be not true and the matter put to rest.

  >> Media reports on nepotism and Singapore.

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