Is the election fair? (audio recording 3b)

Here is another section of the cross-examination of Mr Lee Kuan Yew by Dr Chee Soon Juan.


If you prefer, you can download the audio here (.aac, 1.7 MB) or here (.mp3, 0.7 MB).

CSJ : Mr Lee, you had some point said that the PAP, I take it a lot of times it is you, that said that “we have engineered elections that would make Singaporeans stupid to want to vote us out.” What do you mean by that, Mr Lee?

LKY : We have given Singaporeans something that we’ve never had before. Singapore society which is now well-educated, 20% of them in tertiary institutions, 40% of them in polytechnics, another 20% in ITE, everybody owns a home, everybody has got proper medical care and everybody is catered for and looked after. If they were not catered for and looked after, they wouldn’t have voted for this government to be re-elected. It’s as simple as that. The final test is not what Mr Chee says or what I say but the reality on the ground. Have we created Singapore better than 1959? When the Prime Minister goes for elections in a few years time, whether he wins or loses depends on whether the people believe they’re worse off or better off. It’s as simple as that. This is the acid test.

CSJ : Sure, sure, but unfortunately Mr Lee, it is not as simple as that because if you’re saying that the acid test is whether people feel they benefited from your system, then why is it, Mr Lee, that even you and the current Senior Minister continue to lament that Singaporeans are leaving Singapore in droves. Let me cite you a statistic that I didn’t do the study – it was your press that did it – cited that 50% of young Singaporeans didn’t feel that they were patriotic to this country. Can you explain when you say to Singaporeans that you’ve done so well, provided so much for them, and yet – now you have 50 years, no interruptions, there was never any change in governments in between, so you had an uninterrupted period of rule in Singapore, yet at the end of the road, you come to a situation where your young cannot wait to want to get out when they have a chance and tell you “we don’t feel patriotic at all to this country.” Have you failed, Mr Lee?

LKY : I am not aware of this particular survey, how wide it is, and I’m not particularly moved one way or the other. The final test is – are they leaving permanently? Because that’s what they can do. We have educated them to a point where those in the top 20% with tertiary qualifications can go to any English-speaking country and find a job. That is the acid test and that goes on all the time.

CSJ : Mr Lee, I am trying to tell that your worry is that they are leaving permanently, they are not coming back, they are even willing to break their bonds because they don’t want to continue living in a society which you have created. They don’t want to live in this society which they don’t feel a sense of belonging. They don’t want to live in a society where they have no say, that come elections, everything is railroaded, and they don’t have a way that they can pick their leaders.

LKY : Therefore, I advise you to find some way, get your NGO supporters, to discharge you from your bankruptcy, then you would be able to campaign against us.

CSJ : Mr Lee, how do I campaign against you when at every turn of the way, you put a stop to it? One way that I can campaign is through the media. You control it. One way that I can campaign is to get down to the street and talk to voters. You arrest me. One way that I can campaign is through my party’s newspaper. You sue us. Tell me, apart from using this word “campaign” in the most frivolous, the most egregious of manner, how do we campaign when you, sitting in the Istana, makes sure opposition parties can never, never compete on an equal footing?

Acknowledgement: much of the written script is credited to the work of Martyn See at

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