The future according to Lee Jr. (interview)
THE FUTURE ACCORDING TO LEE JR.
He is 33 years old, the youngest brigadier general in the Singapore Armed Forces and the brightest star in the political firmament. His supporters and admirers would like him to be Singapore's next prime minister; his detractors say that if he is, it will be only because his father, Lee Kuan Yew, is the present holder of that office.
But for Lee Hsien Loong, Minister of State for Defence and Acting Minister for Trade and Industry, the biggest challenge today is not political but economic. As chairman of a high-powered committee given carte blanche to review the ailing economy and its future direction, the young Lee will be forever identified with what happens next.
The moves his committee has set in train are designed to create the conditions for economic recovery in 1987/88. But characteristically, he is looking and planning for economic development beyond the recession. Among the major recommendations of his committee, already accepted by the government, is the removal of the tight grip the state has over the economy. A rolling back of its investment in companies is expected to take up to a decade because it will involve privatizing more than 130 companies.