23 March 2016
Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew put in place a system here that has proven robust and can run effectively without him, and other countries that deal with Singapore have had the opportunity to take a measure of this system for many years after Mr Lee stepped down in 1990.
But following Mr Lee’s death in March 2015, some countries have tried their luck at putting Singapore in its place, shared Ambassador-at-Large Bilahari Kausikan.
… It is a valid concern, one that many observers and diplomats interviewed believe is something to reflect on. “Yes, there is some degree of shift in other countries’ perceptions of Singapore,” said Mr Ong Keng Yong, executive deputy chairman of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS).
… Retired diplomat Tan Seng Chye said Mr Lee has set the tone for Singapore’s foreign policy and put in place a system that his successors have further established.
… Veteran diplomat and former top civil servant Barry Desker said: “As a realist, he appreciated the need to maintain good links with the West to promote trade and investment at a time when leaders of many newly independent countries believed their own rhetoric and thought that they could adopt autarkic policies.”
… “Lee did not wait for US investors to serendipitously discover Singapore as a perfect destination for capital. He seized every opportunity to promote Singapore and stressed the efficiency and quality of the labour force in the country,” wrote Dr Daniel Chua, research fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies at RSIS.
… This philosophy of being friendly to all countries and not making enemies is critical, said Associate Professor Alan Chong from RSIS, adding that the Republic was flexible in its foreign policy and did not see anyone as a permanent enemy.
CMS / GPO / IDSS / RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 24/03/2016