SINGAPORE: After it was announced that Lawrence Wong will be sworn in as Prime Minister of Singapore on 15 May, tributes and testimonials have been pouring in for outgoing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who took office nearly 20 years ago.

One of the people to have talked about PM Lee is former PAP Member of Parliament Inderjit Singh. Mr Singh, a serial entrepreneur, served alongside the Prime Minister at Ang Mo Kio from 1996 to 2015, the year Mr Singh announced that he would step down from politics.

In a 24 Apr piece in, the newsletter of the ruling party, Mr Singh, who has at times been outspoken and even critical regarding the government’s policies, underlined how humble PM Lee was during the time that they worked side by side.

“Given his stature, PM remained humble, and I never felt intimidated. Rather, I felt like he was a friend willing to teach me about politics.”

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He also said that they had “treated each other as trusted comrades and reliable friends,” and that he could “always be direct about many personal and political matters, and he never made me feel uncomfortable.”

The four-term former MP also noted that he had been “fortunate” to have worked closely with the Prime Minister, recounting a particular instance when he had been reluctant to carry out house visits prior to his first term, though he had been managing MPS (Meet-the-People) sessions and on-the-ground activities at Kebun Baru.

When PM Lee asked him why he wasn’t doing house visits, Mr Singh told him he felt uncomfortable and was at a loss when it came to introducing himself to residents. The Prime Minister’s advice to him was for volunteers to introduce Mr Singh as the second advisor to Kebun Baru, and the successful house visits that followed enriched his experience in building relationships with residents.

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And many years later, as Mr Singh was set to leave politics, PM Lee had wanted him to stay on for one more term. But Mr Singh told him that he wanted to spend more time on his family and work, and suggested to the Prime Minister that a younger person take his place.

PM Lee agreed, and Mr Singh later organised the campaign for him at AMK, which had good results.

Mr Singh also told how being a mathematician informed PM Lee’s work ethic, saying that he “managed through facts.”

“For any decision, as a mathematician, he needed to examine objective data and information. As an engineer, I also learned to manage facts and analytical data.”

Sharing the Petir piece on his Facebook page, Mr Singh wrote, “I spent more than 20 years with PM Lee Hsien Loong. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him in Ang Mo Kio and in parliament. Thank you for the opportunity, PM. We will soon see a new era for Singapore. Thank you PM for everything and wishing you good health and happiness in your next phase.” /TISG

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