When questioned in Parliament if the government can do more to help women go for breast-cancer screening, PAP Minister Lim Hng Kiang said:
“Save on one hairdo and use the money for breast-cancer screening.”
The foot-in-mouth moment eventually scarred the PAP Minister who said that after that incident, he had become silent for the next 17 years after:
“My intent was to get across the message that health is a personal responsibility, but it did not placate everyone. Perhaps the memory of the episode 17 years ago still lingers…I’m not a good communicator as you know by now. To get around it, I turn to Cabinet colleagues and MPs with better communication skills. We share among ourselves arguments or examples that we believe will resonate and we use them. They don’t look to me to come up with a better communications plan.”
The former army general who held the rank of Lieutenant-General was a crony of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The two had been friends for over 40 years since they met in Cambridge University. Minister Lim Hng Kiang was brought to politics under Lee Kuan Yew’s Tanjong Pagar GRC.
Like the two other retiring Ministers, Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang claimed credits for the country’s economic growth in an interview with state media Straits Times:
“Singapore is constantly tweaking its economic strategy, and the results of its growth model speak for itself. Today, we are a $400 billion economy, which is not that big but not that small either. If you look at the world rankings, we are somewhere like 38th in the world. In terms of population we are probably 115th. So in terms of size of economy versus population, I think we’ve done fairly well.”
The PAP Minister however also pointed out that he failed in a number of initiatives like turning Singapore into a medical tourism hub and regional education hub, because Singapore does not have enough infrastructure for it’s own population. Among other notable government failures include plans to position Singapore as an aerospace hub (lost to Malaysia), biomedical hub and international jurisdiction centre.
Minister Lim Hng Kiang has been instructed to resign from his position, and instead become a “special adviser” for incoming Minister Chan Chun Sing – a former army general who have zero experience in economics and trade.