Anand: Copying Lee Kuan Yew won’t work

October 29, 2003
Singapore Democrats

This post is at least a year old. Some of the links in this post may no longer work correctly.

Bangkok Post
http://www.bangkokpost.com/Business/29Oct2003_biz06.html

Copying former Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew’s centralised working style does not guarantee this government success in administering the country, former prime minister Anand Panyarachun warned yesterday.

He suggested the government instead adopt a style of balanced leadership and team participation.

“Thailand is not Singapore and our people are different. What has been done in Singapore cannot be practised successfully in Thailand, where people appreciate those who are modest and not braggarts,” Mr Anand told a seminar.

“However, we’re encountering a person who really wants to become Lee Kuan Yew,” he added without saying whom he was referring to.

The former prime minister stressed the importance of creating trust, confidence and respect among the people working in an organisation.

“We have to ensure our people have trust, respect and confidence in their leader, by ensuring he is not just a populist figure,” he said.

Mr Anand, who has about 30 years’ experience as a businessman and diplomat, said a good leader needed the ability to be decisive and create community protocol.

Top-down management might be needed sometimes but it required flexibility in implementation.

“We need to be strict with our principles but be flexible in giving time to implement and realise the results,” he said.

Mr Anand said there was no ideal format for human resource management to ensure success, but people could share experiences about how to implement such policies and measures.

Sharing his view was Paron Israsena, director of Siam Cement Group, who said human capital was the most valuable asset of a company.

Every task could be done successfully with people. Money, computers and other assets were just components, he said, adding: “The most important thing is to create loyalty among our people to enable the success of an organisation.”