Friday, 3 March 2017

PM Lee on BBC's HARDTalk


HARDtalk - Lee Hsien Loong

HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur is in Singapore for an exclusive interview with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Singapore represents one of the great economic success stories of the last fifty years but clouds are gathering on its horizon. President Trump is challenging assumptions about free trade and traditional security alliances in Asia. Is the much vaunted Singapore model under threat?

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stephen sackur‏ @stephensackur  Feb 27

Can Singapore thrive in era of anti-globalisation and @realDonaldTrump? Exclusive interview with @leehsienloong

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Lee Hsien Loong 26 February at 18:00

Sat down with Stephen Sackur of BBC’s HARDtalk programme last week. We discussed a wide range of issues, both international and domestic, and how Singapore is navigating forward in these uncertain times. The programme will be aired from this Wednesday 1 March onwards on BBC TV and radio. Hope you’ll catch it then! – LHL

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PM Lee discusses gay rights and succession planning on BBC's HARDTalk
Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong in an interview on BBC's HARDtalk programme

Asked his personal view on whether he would get rid of Section 377A, PM Lee Hsien Loong said that "my personal view is that if I do not have a problem, this is an uneasy compromise, I am prepared to live with it until social attitudes change".

Mr Lee was speaking as part of a wide-ranging interview with the BBC’s Stephen Sackur on the HARDTalk programme on Wed (Mar 1).

"This is a society which is not that liberal on these matters. Attitudes have changed, but I believe if you have a referendum on the issue today, 377A would stand,” he said.

related: PM Lee on remaining honest to himself and what keeps him up

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Singapore’s anti-gay law will remain until social attitudes change, PM Lee

Speaking to Stephen Sackur on a wide range of topics, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has indicated that he is prepared to live with the Section 377A (the law which criminalises gay men) until social attitudes change. Sackur asked Mr Lee for his personal views on the contentious issue on the BBC’s HARDtalk interview programme. In answering Sackur’s question, Mr Lee veered off the topic of gay sex being criminalised in Singapore to that of gay marriage.
“I think that it’s a law which is there. If I remove it, I will not remove the problem. Because if you look at what has happened in the west, in Britain you decriminalised it in the 1960s, your attitudes have changed a long way but even now gay marriage is contentious. In America, it’s very contentious. Even in France, in Paris, they’ve had demonstrations in the streets against gay marriage.”
Mr Lee’s comments on the topic received mixed reviews. While commenters in the Facebook page ‘We are against Pink Dot in Singapore‘ welcomed his conservative views, others like acclaimed local movie director, Boo Junfeng, were upset by it.
“Wait, what “compromise”? That gay citizens should continue to be seen as criminals, just not locked up? For heaven’s sake, it has been 10 years since 377 was repealed and 377A conspicuously kept in the books. How many more years will it take for society to “evolve” before the govt takes a principled stand against discrimination?” – Boo Junfeng
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Government's role is not to lead on moral issues: PM Lee
A screengrab of the BBC HARDtalk interview with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

The Singapore government’s role is not to lead on social and moral issues, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in an interview with the BBC on Wednesday (1 March).

Lee was responding to a question by journalist Stephen Sackur on BBC’s HARDtalk programme on why the government has yet to abolish Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises sex between mutually consenting men.

“This is a society that is not that liberal on these matters. Attitudes have changed but I believe if you had a referendum on the issue today, 377A would stand,” said Lee.

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U.S. pull-out from Pacific trade deal hurts confidence, Singapore PM tells BBC

The United States' pull-out from the Trans Pacific Partnership hurt confidence in American policies, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, urging Washington to "focus" on its relationship with China.

In an interview with the BBC broadcast on Wednesday, Lee said Singapore was disappointed with President Donald Trump's decision to fulfill a campaign pledge and withdraw the United States from the long-negotiated 12-country trade deal.

Singapore placed great strategic importance on the TPP as the wealthy city-state views U.S. involvement in the region as key to its economic growth and security. The deal was a pillar of former President Barack Obama's pivot to Asia.

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Singapore will be in difficult spot if US-China ties worsen: PM Lee

Any strain in ties between China & the United States will not be good for Singapore, as it will be forced to choose between one of the powers, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, adding that Beijing & Washington will need to work closely together to develop trust & keep bilateral ties on an even keel.

“If America-China relations become very difficult, our position becomes tougher. Because then, we will be coerced to choose between being friends with America, & friends with China,” said Mr Lee.

He was responding to a question in a BBC interview on whether US President Donald Trump’s new America First policy would lead to rising tensions in the region & make things more difficult for S'pore.

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PM Lee on BBC's HARDTalk: Singapore's position will become tougher if US-China tensions rise
BBC HARDTalk presenter Stephen Sackur and PM Lee Hsien Loong. FOTO: MCI

As a friend of both America & China, S'pore can be put in a difficult situation if there is friction between the 2 giants, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an interview with British broadcaster BBC aired on Wednesday (Mar 1).

He made the point when presenter Stephen Sackur asked about rising tensions in the region & perceived Chinese unhappiness over Singapore's ties with America.

Mr Lee said: "If America-China relations become very difficult, our position becomes tougher. Because then we will be coerced to choose between being friends with America, & friends with China.

related: Most would back retaining Section 377A if a referendum was held

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BBC tries to grill PM Lee on press freedom and here's how he responded
PM Lee Hsien Loong speaking to Stephen Sackur on BBC HARDtalk

"Why should you presume to tell me how my country should run?"

That's what PM Lee Hsien Loong told BBC HARDTalk host Stephen Sackur when asked about Singapore's freedom of speech & trade.

Mr Lee's comments were made during a sit-down interview with Sackur that will be aired in full today (Mar 1).

related: HARDtalk host: DPM Tharman dodged 'Sackur punch' at symposium

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PM Lee scores first on BBC ‘HardTalk’ trailer, but will he win the battle?

PM Lee will be following the footsteps of his predecessors, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, in being interviewed on BBC HARDtalk.

How does the HARDtalk format work?

It is a 30-minute one-on-one current affairs interview program. The interviewee is subjected to nearly 30 minutes of tough questioning by the host.

related: 10 key PM Lee BBC HARDTalk quotes that will save U 30 minutes watching it

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PM Lee interviewed on BBC HARDTALK, declines to comment on restriction of press freedom in Singapore

BBC HARDtalk featured a trailer of an interview with Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, a short exchange between Stephen Sackur and PM Lee on questions regarding trade deals, human rights and press freedom.

The BBC HARDtalk is a current affairs program by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that features a 30-minute one-on-one interview. The interviewee is subjected to about 30 minutes of tough questioning by the host.

In the trailer, Sackur is shown, asking the Prime Minister, “This is what Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the UK said: if we’re to seek a deal with Singapore, Theresa May the Prime Minister must raise issues of freedom of expression and freedom of the press in any trade talks with Singapore; how do you respond to that?”

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HARDtalk host: DPM Tharman dodged 'Sackur punch' at symposium
Mr Stephen Sackur's HARDtalk interview with PM Lee Hsien Loong will be aired tomorrow on BBC

The last time Mr Stephen Sackur squared off with a S'pore politician, Deputy PM Tharman Shanmugaratnam earned rave reviews for how he fielded questions from a man regarded as one of the world's toughest interviewers.

Mr Sackur, host of the BBC's flagship interview programme, HARDtalk, earned that reputation from conducting 30-minute 1-on-1 inquisitions that have seen celebrity agent Max Clifford storm off mid-show and former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo threaten legal action.

Not that Mr Tharman was fazed.

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related: BBC’s Stephen Sackur gets sucker punched by DPM Tharman at St Gallen Symposium

DPM's tour de force performance in Switzerland. Hopp St Gallen!

Step aside Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam vs BBC’s Stephen Sackur was the verbal boxing match many Singaporeans were interested in during the past few days.

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related: PM Lee In The Limelight

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the city state belongs to all those living here that includes permanent residents and employment pass holders and was a special place to celebrate annual festivities amidst diverse groups.

Addressing a community celebration of the Indian New Year last night, Lee said:
"Singaporeans, new arrivals, people who are on permanent residence here, people who are on employment pass here, all participating in one big Singapore family... So that we feel that this is a place which is special, which belongs to all of us and where we all celebrate one another's festivals and happy events together."
Dressed in red Kurta, Lee joined 600 residents at a community club of his constituency, tried his hand at a Thanjavur painting which was on cultural display and watched performances by classical Indian dancers.

related: PM Lee in Focus

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