xi's moments
Home | Opinion Line

Singapore building on past legacy for brighter future

By LI YANG | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-17 08:34

Singapore's new Prime Minister Lawrence Wong (left) shakes hands with his predecessor Lee Hsien Loong as Wong is sworn in as Singapore's fourth prime minister at the Istana, the country's presidential palace, on Wednesday. Lee, who held the post for the past two decades, remains in the new cabinet as a senior minister. [Photo/Agencies]

Singapore's new Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, a 51-year-old US-trained economist, vowed to make "tomorrow better than today "as he took his oath of office on Wednesday, becoming the first leader of the city-state born after its independence from Malaysia in 1965.

Since then, Singapore has developed to become a regional logistics and financial center, with the baton of power relayed from Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore, to Goh Chok Tong in 1990, from Goh to Lee Hsien Loong, son of Lee Kuan Yew, in 2004, and now from Lee Hsien Loong to Wong.

Singapore's fast development started drawing many of its neighbors, including China, to learn about the secret of its success in the 1970s during Lee Kuan Yew's regime, in the hope of learning helpful lessons for their own development.

But what they might not have expected is that, unlike other Southeast Asian countries that have still been exploring their growth model after reaping the dividend of cheap labor in the early stage of their economic takeoff, Singapore has not only gone beyond that development phase but also continuously moved up the global value chain after the 1970s.

In the process, despite its racially and ethnically diverse population, the country has largely managed to keep its social stability, realizing harmonious coexistence between different groups of people and maintaining social fairness and justice, a difficult task that has tripped up many developing economies in their catch-up phase.

Lee Kuan Yew's nearly four decades of rule laid the institutional foundation for Singapore's prosperity, leaving a historical legacy for his successors to make "tomorrow better than today". Goh and Lee Hsien Loong have indeed done a good job in continuously adapting Singapore's growth model to the changing economic landscape since the 1990s.

The principles Lee established for running the city-state — including the rule of law, inclusiveness, openness and pragmatism — are still the pillars of the country's governance and policy today. And they have evolved into common values that most Singaporeans consciously uphold and live by, forming sustainable endogenous impetus. These principles have also helped shape Singapore's balanced diplomacy that has won it high profile on the world stage.

It is to be hoped that, with a new prime minister, Singapore can continue to uphold its strategic autonomy in handling foreign affairs while keeping its robust growth momentum so as to extend its development legend into the future.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349