Tharman Shanmugaratnam: Most Unusual If LKY’s Family Always In Charge

“The St. Gallen Symposium is a global gathering of Leaders of Today and Tomorrow that takes place annually in May at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland,” the website of the symposium says. “It is organised by the International Students’ Committee (ISC), a team of students from the university.”

The 45th St. Gallen Symposium took place from 7–8 May 2015 at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, was one of the guests invited to share their views at the symposium.

The topic of Mr Tharman’s address was titled, “An investigative interview: Singapore 50 years after independence – a success story at a turning point.”

It was hosted by the BBC’s Steven Sackur, who is also the host of the popular TV programme, Hard Talk.

During the session, Mr Tharman spoke of verious constants in how Singapore stay ahead of the competition.

“There’s some advantagein being constant, in keeping to your promise, sticking to the contract, and building confidence amongst every investor, that in 20 years’ time, in 30 years’ time, the rules are not going to change.”

This prompted Mr Sackur to ask if one of these constants was that “Lee Kuan Yew’s family will always be in charge”.

Mr Tharman replied:

“No, I think that will be most unusual. It’s a meritocracy. It will be most unusual if that was the case. Certainly, it’s not the way in which – I can’t speak on behalf of them – it’s not the way most Singaporeans would expect it to be. And certainly, you wouldn’t want it to be a situation like… I mean to be frank, if you look at parliamentarians below the age of 30 in India, every single one of them is a member of a political dynasty. Every single one of them. So, we believe in meritocracy, it’s hard work, sometimes it’s imperfect. There’s always advantage in family connections and wealth but we got to keep working against that.”



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