Photo of Lee Hsien Loong with CNBC reporter Christine Tan from Ministry of Communications and Information

In his interview with CNBC yesterday (Oct 19), dictator Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that he can hear his deceased father Lee Kuan Yew encouraging him to continue:

“CNBC reporter: If he were alive today, what advice do you think he would have given you?

PM Lee: I think he would have said, “Press on, move on. Don’t be looking at the rear view mirror. Remember what has happened, understand how you got here, but look forward and press forward.”

CNBC reporter: You can hear his voice in your head?

PM Lee: (laughs) Yes, we can imagine that.”

When questioned how did the siblings dispute end, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong kept quiet about forcing his brother and nephew into self-exile and said the matter is still not resolved:

“Well the matter is in abeyance, I’m not sure if it’s solved… We have not recently communicated.”

The dictator also said he may call the election anytime in the next two years and that he will step down from PM by the next election. However, Lee Hsien Loong pointed out that he may still be controlling the new PM from behind the scene:

“CNBC reporter: As Prime Minister, you said you’d step down after the next election, before you turn 70. You’re 65 now. Are you ready to step down in the next couple of years?

PM Lee: I am ready. What I need to make sure of is somebody is ready to take over from me.

CNBC reporter: Is there somebody in the wings?

PM Lee: Well, as I’ve said, there are people in the wings. The question is, who it will be and that will need to be decided.

CNBC reporter: How will you ensure a smooth power transition?

PM Lee: By building up the team so that when I leave, the rest of the team will be able to work and carry things forward. And they’re doing that by being hands on, by having responsibility for major policies, by taking charge of…spiky ministries.

CNBC reporter: But you will still be there behind the scenes?

PM Lee: Well, that’s up to the next Prime Minister.”

You may read CNBC’s interview transcript here.