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The Succession Problem Is One of LHL’s Own Making and Suits Him Just Fine

About six days ago I wrote a blog about Heng Swee Keat’s decision to remove himself from the succession to LHL entitled “PAP in Disarray? Much More Likely That LHL Is Moving the Pieces Around the Chessboard To Ensure His Son Is There To Succeed Him When He Finally Retires”

A few days ago state media hack Han Fook Kwang wrote an op-ed in the State Times entitled “Search for new PM: Start with a rethink”. Some hailed this an incisive and independent analysis. However Singaporeans endlessly misunderstand the nature of the dynastic totalitarian state they live in and imagine that there can be anything that has not been approved from the very top down published in the state-owned media or that journalists are allowed to have their own opinions. In the same way they fail to understand that the state owns much of the economy, which in practice means that Lee Hsien Loong and his wife control it. Even Xi Jin Ping, China’s paramount leader, does not have the same degree of absolute control. We can have no doubt that whatever Han writes is submitted to his master, LHL, for approval and rewriting if necessary.

Nevertheless Han performs a useful role in guiding Singaporean public opinion. He confirms what I said in my blog article a week ago, that LHL is not ready to relinquish power any time soon, at least not till he has established a clear path for dynastic succession. Thus Han says that while a generation earlier one might expect a leader to step down at 70, in today’s world with longer life expectancy there is no reason why someone should not be leader into their late 70s and early 80s. I mentioned Biden, who is almost 80, but closer to home there is the example of Mahathir, who became PM again in his 90s and it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that he could do so again. So LHL is using Han as a mouthpiece, to get Singaporeans used to the idea that he will be staying on till he is at least 80 and maybe beyond. From October his wife will be free to embark on a political career openly (though she has long abandoned all pretence of neutrality which she should be required to maintain as a civil servant) and they can work together to bring their son in.

Of course vacating the office of PM does not mean that LHL will relinquish power, any more than his father did when he stepped down in 1994 to allow Woody Goh to succeed him for a ten year interregnum before it was judged acceptable for his son to take over. GCT clearly took his orders from LKY, as shown when he declined to refer to CPIB the clear case of corruption involving the sale of houses at Nassim Jade. However becomes 4G PM will continue to defer to the wishes of LHL and his family in all major decisions.

This will be reinforced by the inculcation in Singaporeans of the myth that new leaders need to be groomed for at least ten years, preferably twenty, starting in their 30s and 40s, before they ascend the throne. This cult of youth, unsupported by any objective evidence, which of course does not apply to LHL and his family as they are gods and “natural aristocrats”, not mere mortals, helps to reinforce his control. Leaders do not emerge because of their popularity, they have to be selected and their skills have to be endorsed by LHL and the PAP leadership. There is a long time during which the contestants in Singapore’s Game of Thrones, have to prove their loyalty to LHL, rather like the long period of probation my brother underwent to prove that he would not follow in his father’s footsteps before he was allowed to become “one of us” and share in the Government’s largesse available to the PAP elite, culminating in appointment as a Judicial Commissioner. Heng Swee Keat must feel particularly aggrieved at falling at the last hurdle, as he spent so many years as Lee Kuan Yew’s Principal Private Secretary, which it would be an understatement to say cannot have been an easy job. The 4G leaders accept this because as gray apparatchiks of a totalitarian system they have no independent popularity with the electorate, only the state mechanisms of coercion and control behind them which can be withdrawn at a moment’s notice.

Yet this interminably extended apprenticeship has not produced good candidates but ones of increasing mediocrity, which Han points out. Even academically, which in LKY’s day used to be the gold standard by which future leaders were judged, the candidates are of declining quality. Heng and Chan are Cambridge graduates but Lawrence Wong is from a non-Ivy League US university. And there are no women and no Indian or Malay candidates on the list, a fact that Han, reflecting the views of his master, finds wholly unremarkable. Perhaps this is because LHL wants his son, Hongyi, to shine by comparison with these grey men, making it easier for him to keep the succession in family hands.

There may even be another reason. By highlighting the poor quality of home-grown candidates, is Han/LHL laying the groundwork for the PAP to bring in a foreigner to run the country (who will not have done NS but will be given instant citizenship) in much the same way as Temasek and GIC are largely run by foreign management? This might seem far-fetched, even ludicrous, but with the PAP harping on about how Singapore must remain open to foreign talent, not totally beyond the bounds of probability. But would Singaporeans accept it? The ending of Animal Farm might provide an answer.

 

Kenneth Jeyaretnam

 

About the author: I’m a Singaporean economist who became an opposition activist. I blog to provide an alternative to the porkies that the Pinkies tell. It just so happens that my alternative is the truth. That’s why I’ve never been sued in any civil or criminal court no matter how hard hitting my criticism. I’m quoted and interviewed and asked to speak across the world but largely censored in Singapore in an effort to silence my political opinions. The left hate me because they think I split their vote and because I eschew their outmoded economic models. Models that don’t work. The Right and the Conservatives hate me because I’m a liberal. I’m not sure what the middle think of me. I don’t think there are more than a handful of people in the middle, here in Singapore. I’m a Singaporean born and bred, dual heritage, my parents Singaporean established here before the State of Singapore was created. I’m not Eurasian. I read economics at Cambridge and could be broadly described as from the Keynesian school but I believe in interventions. I was formerly a successful hedge fund manager. After economics and politics my greatest interests are history, film and Makan. I run but I run so I can eat like a Singaporean.

 

 

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17 Responses to “The Succession Problem Is One of LHL’s Own Making and Suits Him Just Fine”

  • oxygen:

    FLUBBING EAST COAST and PAPpypolitics know his age when he tossed his hat into the ring for the top job. Age is NOT a hindrance. For China,over 60 is just A ‘YOUNG AGE” to bid for the top job.

    In any case, SUCCESSION PLANNING almost always end up in DISASTROUS FAILURE because people choose who they like just like spouse selection, never who is best fit for the demanding job/role in waiting.

    There are A LOT OF EVIDENCE that people choose spouse whose facial appearance is broadly similar to themselves – they stared too long in the mirror to forget “what else matters” of a happy successful union.

    That is why I surmise why succession planning fails monumentally in the corporate/political world – M Thatcher chose John Major (disaster) Mahathir chose A. Ibrahim and then Abdullah Badawi, J. Howard chose Peter Costello (but never let him into the door of opportunity) Trump chose Pence (but reduced him to a stool of irrelevance right up the end), Kevin Rudd chose J. Gillard but she didn’t last either.

    In the corporate world, Wall Street threw out hundreds of MBAs from the most prestigious Ivy League universities- destined for the pinnacle of power, authority, money wealth accumulation – AFTER THE GFC. Lots of them gone into GIG roles cab driving, some unemployed/unemployable living on welfare checks and food stamps, others bankrupt (incinerated in the market crash) and some write books to educate others the art of failures/disaster survival.

    SUCCESSION GROOMING ALMOST INVARIABLE ENDS UP DISASTER for the country or corporate “sponsor”.

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  • Tracey Ching:

    A well written article. Next time, another article perhaps, pls elaborate why your younger brother is like that? He seems very far apart from your Father and you. Why? How has the cunningness of the ruling elites got to your Brother?

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  • Just remember PAPs betrayal:

    Everything stated here will come to pass..acc to KJ.
    Just NO to the last part..
    FT turned new citizen as SG leader???
    Lets wait and see…

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  • Realistically:

    @ Kenneth Jeyaretnam

    Agreed with your views……..only missing piece is the wayang-party’s MP & LO helping to legitimise the emperor without clothes incompetence and evils to be able to luxuriate in their $16k monthly MP allowance from ta-payers’ $.

    >>Perhaps this is because LHL wants his son, Hongyi, to shine by comparison with these grey men, making it easier for him to keep the succession in family hands.<<

    Only problem is that his son has been shown to be a failure, much like his wife. I read in TOC that a group of school girls managed to write a program for LTA to collect car parking fees without the bells and whistles for a few hundred $; while the son's dept spent millions to do the essentially the same function………so much for Hongyi being an MIT alumini.

    Notice that there has been no mention of his son over the last few months………..

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  • Tracey Ching:

    Sinkapor is at a crossroad. Succession is critical because lky Son will not enjoy a longevity like his parents. Georgina Kwa is older than lky. Son had lymphoma cancer in the 90s and was informed that he had prostate cancer in 2015. Based on actuarial science calculations, he will not live beyond his 80. He might die in his late 70s. One of the many reasons why he is a lousy leader is because he led a cloistered life, being the Son of lky. His Son especially the one with j*n* has an even more cloistered life. Never really held a real job obtained by real merits. Such leadership can be expected to be weak and failing without a true understanding of real life. As such, Sinkapor will decline for sure.

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  • Pioneer speaks:

    kenneth thanks for yr brilliant articles,as mentioned before I am apprehensive when I read yr writings,you walk where angels fear to tread,
    Lesser mortals have been disciplined for less direct articles,may you live long to speak for the silent majority

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  • opposition dude:

    Ah yes, once again the talk of goondu getting his son into politics. I have said this before so I will say it again. BRING IT ON. His son would face a lot more opposition by the time he becomes PM. Looking at how we now have 10 opposition MPs in parliament (with more expected to be voted in in future) it will be interesting to see if PAP ISN’T in a coalition government in 15 to 20 years time.

    Goondu isn’t very bright so there is a lot he would not have thought of. I’m sure he assumes that his party will still have more than 50% of the seats by the time his son takes over. We will see about that. With his tidak apa ways of handling matters and his reluctance to sack his people over massive lapses it will only result in a continuous vote share decline.

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  • left behind:

    The problem is probably greater than what written in the article. PAP is entrenched and its power is everywhere. Supposing that now it is one of the most difficult times and the opposition power should be loud, yet it seems to be very quiet. The world press freedom index ranking tell it all. The power of PAP has people submit to it but not willing to serve pap for the nation. In other words, Singapore and Singaporean participation in politic is dead. It is a zombie nation. 61% vote PAP, give up the will to fight against PAP for better life. They prefer status quo. If the politic world a pond of dead water, then we know the nation will soon be dead too. What PAP do wrong, 61% pretend nothing happen, then in future villain will take over. Because there is no consequences for anything done wrong. It is sooner or later the pm successor will be someone who care not the people. It is not new that PAP do unpopular policy like POFMA. It will continue more and people will suffer the consequences.

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  • xoxo:

    What has he contributed to Sg so far?
    What is his special qualities?

    If not,pls decline,for Sg n sgs’ sake.

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  • Good begets good.....:

    It is popular belief that Lucifer Satan beguiles human beings into sinning and perversity so as to condemn their souls into the Hellfire he presides over – That’s only half the truth…
    In fact, the Quran pronounces that Lucifer Satan himself and his e*** minions will all suffer the perdition of Hellfire after the Day of Judgment. On that dreadful day, no secrets will remain undisclosed, and no wrongs will not be righted. Hell belongs to Almighty God, All-Just and Most Wise, and his hell angels will be a mighty thing to fear….
    On that fateful day when tempestuous Satan will be dragged into the Hellfire like a powerless plaything, the Son of Perdition will be cursing and swearing and disavowing his wi**** vicegerents on earth who had sold their souls to the dark side for gold, fame and name. They will in turn, curse Lucifer Satan for breaking his promise to absolve them of the retributions for their selfish and tyrannical acts when they were once lords and patrons on the face of the earth.
    Truly, Hellfire will be an e*** abode for eternity…..

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  • $:

    Tracey Ching:
    A well written article. Next time, another article perhaps, pls elaborate why your younger brother is like that? He seems very far apart from your Father and you. Why? How has the cunningness of the ruling elites got to your Brother?

    MONEY!

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  • MarBowling:

    Another GREAT piece of article by Kenneth.

    Mai Hum and his wifey Holee Jinx may have various GREAT SCHEME of THINGS to prepare and ensure their son, Li Horny will eventually squat on the Imperial Throne!

    Man Proposes, God Disposes! Both should borrow a Mirror and LOOK straight at the REFLECTION. What they have DONE and are DOING to date, is ONLY for THEMSELVES and to PERPETUATE the Reign of the Lee Kayu FamiLEE DieNasty. To safeguard the vested interest of the FILTHY RICH. NOTHING or VERY LITTLE for our beloved country, especially the common folks, period! Heaven has eyes. RWYS.

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  • Cotton comes from sheep:

    LHL will be minister mentor,Ho Jinx will be president and little Horny will be our future PM. All within the family. Whoever objects to this will be dealt with ISD and charged for treason.Attorney General and judge all in his pocket.The

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  • Cotton comes from sheep:

    So it is true what LSY said about LHL having political ambitions for Lee Horny. But one thing Lee Horny has no class same as Jo Jinx. He once worn slippers to address a crowd
    This Horny while doing his NS by passed all official channel to complain about a fellow officer. How can one who is above the law get his citizens to be law abiding.There is also rumours that Horny copy cat some software application from a group of school girls. Totally no class to be future PM.Like LHL he too would not have to earn his position as future PM.

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  • Read the tea leaves:

    The reason for Heng Suay stepping aside is simply to delay the transition of leadership.

    By so doing, someone else will come of age n push into the political arena.

    A long time of 10 years you say….never mind by then Ching ho son will be ready, let’s read the tea leaves.

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  • Ken truths, PAP fakes so POFMA:

    What Ken has said r what the first tier Singaporeans, who have the brain, integrity n dignity to reject Amos’s Orrible old fudgy’s teaparty invitation to walk thru the eighteen hell gates preparing them super greed, lesser than pigs n dogs bootlicking brownosing compliant trash for entry into its politically ownself xxxx ownself Millionaire Club, soon will be upgraded to Billionaire Club with the PRC bandits running from Xi. Riding on the pandemic crisis as arrogantly preannouncer of the winning of GE; recently self honored as Chief Cotton Sheep otherwise self entitled as having zero political accountability while faking children parent accountability, a stupidly camouflaged trash thrown at what he really think his dead benefactor’s NFI son loonie or domestically well known as Humkachan nicked by kopitiam elders as Bumkachan jumped with joy at his wisdom to realize loonie as nfi dhs n the passing of Heng, evidently as Seat warming Peanut Gone Choked TOon would opine to have gone astray like his old school buddy TCB contrary to what their classmates considered as enlightenment relative to the deeply buried smeared peatnut. Anyway Kopitiam elderlies lamented Hengah has stooped too low and to long tp be pathetically unable to straighten himself to have clearer view n a breath of fresh air then the stench he has long been submerged.

    Seriously, Singaporeans should take the cue from US Trumpic Political Saga. With a $ crazed RP, Trump as the after PE investigation revealed what Trump has trump himself better than the bitcoin laundry that he could break the spines of his RP members to b,c licked nosed for him. While president for just four years, what the NCB FBI n media found out were not able to nail him down unlike Nixon n Clinton who have not so much laundried $ to sweeten the minds n break the soul of his RP members succumbed and removed but not Trump. What Trump has done in 4 years has stunned the world. Just think if US presidecybis not limited to 2 terms n allowed to stay on for 5 decades, what would have happened to US. This calls to mind trump arrogance of getting away even if he shoot a person in public.if he has been reelected all the evidences so far revealed would have been swept under the carpet. Singaporeans should be curious why PAP down to FG cohort so fearsome of transparency that they have to have humkachan, cootlicking LW for privatization of SG to keep his cooty source salary a secret n the defamation suite with a horde of CBs to help dispose n conceal! Time to kick them out to hget the space to unravel just like Post Trumian US.,

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  • Megalomania taking off.....:

    (RE: Seriously, Singaporeans should take the cue from US Trumpic Political Saga. With a $ crazed RP, Trump as the after PE investigation revealed what Trump has trump himself better than the bitcoin laundry that he could break the spines of his RP members to b,c licked nosed for him. While president for just four years, what the NCB FBI n media found out were not able to nail him down unlike Nixon n Clinton who have not so much laundried $ to sweeten the minds n break the soul of his RP members succumbed and removed but not Trump. What Trump has done in 4 years has stunned the world. Just think if US presidecybis not limited to 2 terms n allowed to stay on for 5 decades, what would have happened to US. This calls to mind trump arrogance of getting away even if he shoot a person in public.if he has been reelected all the evidences so far revealed would have been swept under the carpet. Singaporeans should be curious why PAP down to FG cohort so fearsome of transparency that they have to have humkachan, cootlicking LW for privatization of SG to keep his cooty source salary a secret n the defamation suite with a horde of CBs to help dispose n conceal! Time to kick them out to hget the space to unravel just like Post Trumian US.)

    What an overload of schizophrenic bullshit to bootlick his presidential idol Mr. Dementia Biden who had subverted the US presidential elections to cheer lead big-time American $corporatism$ supported from the background by the insidious George Soros and their leftist socialist agendas moving closer towards Emperor Xi’s super high-tech state enterprise Communist China…. Now the Pretendplay President Biden has approved flying the Gay Pride flags at US Embassies around the world….

    Now not Sinchiapor only produce sheeples but now American sheeples in process of subjugation …. Big Brother will manage your life and your savings and dish out the “goodies” as they see fit

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