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SIIA Media Note: 18 May 2011

Updated On: May 18, 2011
IMF Chief Charged with Sex Assault- France in Shock
“The arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn on sex assault charges creates a potential leadership vacuum at the IMF.  Together with John Lipsky’s recently-announced intention to leave as IMF First Deputy Managing Director later this year, the race for IMF leadership succession is heating up for sure.

For the G-20 and emerging economies, these developments present great opportunities for their continuing push to re-balance power and representation in the international economic institutions.

  Closer to home, Singapore Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who was appointed recently as Chairman of the IMF’s policy-setting committee, will also have these issues high on his agenda for the institution. 
The coming months leading to the IMF’s annual meeting in September/October could see some interesting developments that may change the landscape for global economic governance.” 

Mr. HO Seng Chee is an SIIA Council Member, and also the Joint Company Secretary of the Manager and Group Chief, Corporate Services of Mapletree Investments. [bio]
MM Lee, PM Goh step down for new generation
"Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s decision to leave the Cabinet should be welcomed as an opportunity for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to reform and rejuvenate the ruling PAP.  Their departure came in the aftermath of many Singaporeans’ alienation from the ruling party- demonstrated in the PAP’s worst-ever performance at a general election, on 7 May 2011, with the loss of a five-member electoral ward (which contained two PAP ministers).
As Lee and Goh noted in their joint statement, it is time “to leave the cabinet and have a completely younger team of ministers to connect to and engage with this young generation”.  The two former prime ministers have between them accumulated 84 years as dominant figures in the Cabinet.  The theme of renewal and the need to better engage with a younger, more demanding  generation is patent; the word ‘young’ or ‘younger’ appeared six times in their statement.
But the two statesmen remain as Members of Parliament.  It would be interesting to see if in the process of the party’s renewal, they also relinquish other important portfolios: Lee is chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) and Goh is chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. And whether a change of personalities will also lead to a change of substance, policies, and approaches to government.  A new cabinet is expected to be named this week."

Dr. Reuben WONG is an SIIA Council Member, and also the Assistant Head for the Department of Political Science in the National University of Singapore [bio].


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