Chan Chun Sing – Singapore’s Leaders Must Be Caring, Committed, Competent, Cohesive


Singapore’s leaders must be caring, committed, competent, cohesive: Chan Chun Sing

Citing Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who was an MP at Tanjong Pagar for 60 years, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office said the role of a leader is to ensure that Singapore continues to be a leader among nations, for the benefit of the country’s citizens.

SINGAPORE: For the country to extend its success beyond its first half-century of Independence, Singapore needs a next generation of leaders who are caring, committed, competent and cohesive, Mr Chan Chun Sing said.

But underpinning all of that must be a common goal – that of building a better Singapore, said the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, speaking at the unveiling of the People’s Action Party’s candidates for Tanjong Pagar and Radin Mas constituencies on Wednesday (Aug 19).

And above all else, he said, that is the key job of the country’s leaders: Being able to pull Singaporeans in the same direction, for the country’s benefit.

“That is what we believe in, what I think our residents and Singaporeans believe in, regardless of race, language or religion, regardless of our differences in perspective on various issues. We are all committed and drawn to this common goal, to build a better Singapore,” said Mr Chan.

“And this is the role of leaders. Leaders are not just people who speak up for certain segments of interests. True leadership is about people who bring people together, mobilise them for action, beyond debate, beyond rhetoric.”


On what makes a good leader, Mr Chan, who became an MP in 2011 following a military career that saw him attain the rank of Major-General and become Chief of Army, said: “The kind of leaders that we hope for Singapore are people who care deeply about the welfare and well-being of Singaporeans, people who care deeply about the country. People who go down and ensure that every strata of society is taken care of.

“Second, we want leaders who are committed to the cause of Singapore. It has been a marvel that we have been Independent and free for the last 50 years. In order for us to continue this journey, we must have leaders who are committed to serve. Not for their own fame or glory, but for a higher calling.

“Third, we want leaders who are competent. Who know what they are doing, not just at the surface level but down in depth.

Mr Chan addressing the media at the PAP's unveiling of its candidates for Tanjong Pagar and Radin Mas on Aug 19. (Photo: Justin Ong)
Mr Chan addressing the media at the PAP’s unveiling of its candidates for Tanjong Pagar and Radin Mas on Aug 19. (Photo: Justin Ong)

“Last but not least, it is never about the individuals – it is about cohesion. We as a team, as part of the larger PAP team – it is the cohesion that stands up. Each of us has our weaknesses but it is our cohesion as a team that will allow us to amplify our strengths. This is how I think Mr Lee Hsien Loong would like to see the whole PAP team, performing as one.”

Added Mr Chan: “Individually caring, individually committed, but collectively competent, collectively cohesive. If we can achieve this then I think we have every prospect of continuing to beat the odds and taking Singapore to a higher plane.”


The NTUC Secretary-General said that a good leadership team needs to be able to balance two things: Understanding the different perspectives of different parts of society, and then pulling these disparate factions toward a common goal, of making life better for residents of constituency and country.

The team at Tanjong Pagar had Mr Lee Kuan Yew – Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, and a stalwart of elections at Tanjong Pagar since 1955 – to remind them of the need to put the benefit of people above all else.

Mr Lee passed away in March this year. His lying-in-state saw hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans queue for hours to pay their respects to the man who was Prime Minister until 1990.

Mr Chan with Mr Lee Kuan Yew, following their walkover in the 2011 General Election. (File photo: TODAY)
Mr Chan with Mr Lee Kuan Yew, following their walkover in the 2011 General Election. (File photo: TODAY)

Said Mr Chan: “As Mr Lee reminded us, we must not rest on our laurels. We must make sure that each and every living moment of our life, we strive for better living conditions for our residents, to ensure that Singapore can continue to be at the forefront of the league of nations, so that all of us can benefit.

“And just as Mr Lee has reminded us, we are not six individuals (at Tanjong Pagar and Radin Mas) – we are a team with strengths and weaknesses, but we will reinforce each other to do our job well. We are a team together with the residents and we will endeavour to do our best and make it an even better place for residents to come.”

What Singaporeans’ Say?

Edmund Sim Minister Chan came from a very humble background. He is a good example of Singapore’s meritocracy. Everyone has a chance to be the best they could be if we are determined enough. · 
Chris Tan I have known Minister Chan for quite a while. He is a very down to earth man with a big heart for his residents and Singaporeans. He will make a good leader for tanjong pagar and carry on Mr Lee’s legacy. There are few out there who are as trifty and practical as he is. Look at his watch and shoes, all given by the army. He could well afford to buy branded shoes and watches, but when I asked him why, he said “not spoilt, still can use what.” This is the man we want representing us and leading our country! · 
Jeff Yeo I think many mistaken caring for spoon feeding. If we constantly rely on the government for help then where is our resourcefulness? If we constantly blame the government for the woes we face then how can we move forward?
Joseph Lim A nice example of meritocracy at work here. I know even foreign officials have been awe by his capabilities.
Kilo Tami Very well said. A good leader is not just someone who is competent, but also someone who can keep this team of competent people committed and united even when they are mocked by Singaporeans online 365 days a year.
David Loh This guy is good. He don’t want to set any poverty line because those above the line will be left out. Instead we have multiple lines of assistance where every Singaporeans will get help from the Govt.
Tan Jheryl Minister Chan came from very humble family background, he work very hard to achieve what he has now. Everyone can be like him too if you are willing to work hard. No point commenting envy or inferior remarks here. Be positive people!

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