My last election? That depends on...

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Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew spoke to the media after meeting People's Action Party (PAP) activists at the party's Radin Mas branch office yesterday afternoon:

In the past few elections, about a third of the population had expressed a desire for an elected opposition. This is still an issue today. What are your views?

It's a footloose generation that hasn't experienced the past and believes that Singapore is now an aeroplane that's flying safely and can be on auto-pilot. And anybody can take over.

But I don't happen to believe that. I think we'll run into all kinds of bad weather and we need capable people in charge.

Could you comment on the quality of the opposition this time round compared to previous elections? Do you see an improvement?

That they have more better-educated opposition candidates really reflects on our successful education policies. It's better to have an educated and intelligent opposition than if you have an uneducated and ignorant one.

What can their role be in Singapore politics?

Their role is to keep on going and get people who can become Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Finance Minister, Foreign Minister. The day they can do that, then they are a credible opposition. You must have a shadow Cabinet. If you watch the British Parliament, there is always a shadow Cabinet on the opposition benches. You ask them where is their shadow Cabinet.

Is this going to be your last election?

I'm 87. It depends when the next election is. If you have the next election in two years' time, I think I'll still be okay. If you have the next election in five years' time, I cannot say.

I've done my job. My job now is to help the Government run as best as I can, but not by telling them what to do because the younger generation has to decide on its own on what its priorities are. I think, as an experienced data bank, I can say if you go that way, look out for these dangers.

There have been criticisms of the GRC system again.

That's the rules of the game. If you don't have GRCs, look at all the minorities in the single seats. Is there a minority (candidate) other than Michael Palmer, whom we've put up because he's been established in the community? A single minority versus a single Chinese. What do you think will be the result?

The Workers' Party has suggested that there is no loss if Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo doesn't get elected because he can still contribute elsewhere - for example, as an ambassador.

I thank Mr Low Thia Khiang for his imaginative suggestion. But first, we fight to win. And if they do not win, and for Mr Chen Show Mao... I have no suggestions as to what he can do. He can go back to China, where he has been for 30 years.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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