By A. H. Somjee, Geeta Somjee (auth.)
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Extra info for Development Success in Asia Pacific: An Exercise in Normative-Pragmatic Balance
And because he did not interact politically with the common man, he never developed a sense of popular mandate, a repository of electoral trust with accountability attached to the use of Singapore 35 public office. Furthermore, as his political party, the PAP, did well in election after election, and Singapore went from strength to strength, Lee did not have occasion to cultivate a sense of being a representative and therefore answerable to those who put him in office. On the contrary, each election was treated by Lee and his colleagues as an occasion merely to announce what they were going to do next.
Very early in its development strategy, it moved away from the short-sighted industrialisation which went with import substitution. Instead it aimed at export led growth and threw open its economy to various multinationals for investment. This no doubt increased its dependence both on foreign capital as well as on the transfer of technology. But as long as these could produce results, the external interest in developing Singapore's economy continued. In 1979, it entered another phase of development to 'supplant' labour-intensive, low skill, low value added economic activities, with capital intensive high technology and high value added ventures.
Such a triangular relationship worked very well because politicians were people of great skill and integrity, administrators had great efficiency, and the workers were willing to see the positive side of the various economic undertakings. What such a network also did was to shrink the arena of citizens' participation and their role as watchdogs of the actions of those who make use of public power. 23 Lee Kuan Yew's successor, Goh Chok Tong, tried to assuage the fears of the citizens who felt excluded.