12 AUGUST 2004 AT 8PM
Ladies and Gentlemen
1 Tonight， we begin another chapter in the story of Singapore. We will witness the swearing in of Mr Lee Hsien Loong and his government. Mr Lee has chosen the Istana for this occasion to emphasize continuity in government and political leadership. Mr Lee Kuan Yew moved his office from City Hall to the Istana in 1971. Mr Goh Chok Tong also used the Istana as his office when he became Prime Minister. Mr Lee has decided to hold the ceremony in the open in order to accommodate more guests representing a cross-section of Singapore.
2 I thank Mr Goh Chok Tong for his stewardship of Singapore as Prime Minister and his orderly transfer of power to the next generation of leaders. Looking back on the pledge he made in November 1990 at his swearing in， it is clear that he has fulfilled the central mission he set out to achieve. He built upon what he inherited and has kept Singapore thriving. He has in his own inimitable way also reshaped Singapore into a kinder， gentler and more graceful society – opened up more civic and political space and adopted a more consultative and participatory approach in government. He rallied our people and mobilized their energies each time Singapore faced a crisis. He deepened the bond between the government and people， and strengthened our social cohesion. His common touch has won the hearts and minds of Singaporeans of all walks of life.
He led Singapore with a clear purpose and a steady hand through some of the toughest crises in our recent history. Singaporeans are grateful to Mr Goh and will remember him for what he has given of himself. They are also grateful to his government for their lasting contributions.
3 Mr Lee Hsien Loong has been an integral member of Mr Goh's Cabinet， having served as Deputy Prime Minister for the past 14 years. Each week， I receive and read the papers submitted to Cabinet. I have also read the report of the Economic Review Committee， which recommended fundamental changes to our economic policies and fresh strategies to sustain growth and prosperity. Mr Lee was critical in the process to restructure Singapore's economy and lift us out of recession. Many economic policies bear Mr Lee's imprint. These are by no means his only accomplishments in office. He has been shaping our Monetary and Fiscal policies， and making valuable contributions to Defence， Security， and Trade and Industry policy making. In foreign policy， he has been involved in all major decisions， and has been meeting key foreign leaders and establishing his own international network. Besides these， he has worked with the unions to develop the labour movement and advance the interests of workers. He has the ability， experience and mettle to lead Singapore in this new millennium.
4 This is only the second political changeover in nearly 40 years of our independence. Just as Mr Lee Kuan Yew did， Mr Goh is stepping aside to make way for a younger man when the country is in good working order. Political self-renewal is essential if the leadership is to refresh and remake itself， stay relevant to the changing political， economic and social environment and connect with a younger generation. An orderly and planned self-renewal process is being built into our political system. This is unique to Singapore and has served us well. It is the best way to ensure that Singapore maintains a consistent course， and continues to progress and prosper with each generation.
5 The political changeover also marks a generational change. Mr Lee Kuan Yew led the founding generation who fought for independence and made Singapore succeed. The second generation， under Mr Goh， had the less obvious but equally challenging task of building a nation and rallying the people， when times were getting better and life more comfortable. Mr Lee Hsien Loong now leads the post-independence generation， who have grown up amidst peace， comfort and growing prosperity. Mr Lee and his government must engage the young on external and domestic issues which affect their future， update policies to reflect the aspirations of a younger generation of Singaporeans and adapt their style to stay in tune with the times.
6 Singapore was never meant to be sovereign on its own. To survive， we had to be different， indeed exceptional. We progressed and thrived because we built strong institutions founded on sound values – integrity， meritocracy， equality of opportunities， compassion and mutual respect between Singaporeans of different ethnic， religious and social backgrounds. The government， judiciary， civil service， unions， schools and the media have promoted the interests of the common people. The public， private and people sectors have built a national consensus on what are the challenges and how we can overcome them. The people and government are united.
These are valuable strengths and intangible assets critical to Singapore's long-term survival and continued success. We must do all we can to preserve them.
7 Looking ahead， the pace of change in the world will only increase. Our economic and security environment is already undergoing sea change. The new realities in our economic landscape are already upon us – intense competition for capital， access to new technologies and new markets. External events can affect our peace and tranquility， suddenly and without warning. They will test our will and stress our basic vulnerabilities. But so long as Singaporeans – regardless of race， language and religion – work together to make this country an outstanding home， we will survive and prosper.
8 Over the past few years， I have watched Mr Lee and the younger Ministers in his team grow and mature in their jobs. Mr Lee's Cabinet is a tested team， with experienced hands and many fresh faces. They will develop their vision for Singapore and gain the trust and support of Singaporeans. They will have to galvanize the younger generation to step forward and help them bring Singapore to the next level. The future is full of exciting opportunities which we must together seize. When we are united in our hearts as one people and one nation， there is much Singapore can achieve. The future is full of promise.
9 I now ask Mr Lee Hsien Loong to come forward and take his oath of office of Prime Minister， followed by the Ministers he has designated as members of his Cabinet.