On 9 Nov, soon after the people of USA elected Donald Trump as their 45th President, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took to his Facebook to comment on the elections, and compared it with Brexit.
He said: “It has been a contentious, ugly election season, that has exposed a bitter divide in the American people. Many will celebrate this result, while others will understandably be surprised and disappointed. But like the Brexit referendum in June, Mr Trump’s victory is part of a broader pattern in developed countries – reflecting a deep frustration with the way things are, and a strong wish to reassert a sense of identity, and somehow to change the status quo.”
And added: “US voters have elected a President whom they feel best represents them. Singapore fully respects their decision.”
Soon after, he sent a dovish official letter, devoid of any mixed-feeling, to the President-Elect and invited Mr Trump to Singapore at his “earliest convenience”.
Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH) publication The New Paper however continued to pour scorn on the American President-Elect. It’s headlines screamed: “Why Americans voted in a racist, misogynist and liar as President”.
The article quoted a Vanity Fair magazine article’s subhead, drew attention to Mr Trump’s truthfulness.
“When it comes to telling the truth, Trump may be the least honest politician alive”.
While SPH is not government-owned, is closely supervised by the political leadership of the People’s Action Party. Former Minister Lee Boon Yang is the Chairman of the media conglomerate.
The following is the letter PM Lee sent to Mr Trump, reminding him of Singapore’s close relationship with the USA and welcoming him to Singapore at his soonest possible.
Dear President-elect Trump,
Please accept my warmest congratulations on your election as the 45th President of the United States of America.
The American people have elected you at a time when the United States is facing many challenges. I offer my best wishes as you lead your country forward and build a better future for the American people.
Singapore and the United States share strategic interests and an excellent, longstanding partnership. We have long supported America’s presence in the region, which has underwritten regional peace and stability for decades, and enabled the Asia-Pacific to grow and prosper.
Our two countries enjoy substantive and multifaceted cooperation across the economic, defence and security fields, underpinned by a Strategic Framework Agreement and an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement. We are collaborating to tackle emerging threats in cyberspace and to counter terrorism and violent extremism.
On the economic front, the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement has doubled trade between our countries to reach US$64 billion over the last decade. The United States has consistently maintained a trade surplus, which now stands at almost US$20 billion. Investments by Singapore companies in the United States, combined with America’s exports to Singapore, have created some 240,000 jobs for American workers. Your extensive business experience sets you in a unique position to tap into Asia’s growth.
I look forward to working with you and your Administration to further enhance our bilateral partnership and strengthen the United States’ engagement in the Asia-Pacific for years to come.
I wish you every success in your new appointment and hope to welcome you to Singapore at your earliest convenience.
This is an in-house report.