Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Home Ground, In Aljunied GRC (2)

Press Statement By George Yeo

Media press statement by George Yeo on Tuesday, 10 May, 2011

Thank you for waiting a couple of days for me to rest before meeting you.
Aljunied voters have decided and I respect their decision. Having committed 23 years of service to the residents, it is only natural for me to feel disappointed but this is politics.
It has been my privilege to have served them all these years and they have enriched my life. They have also enabled me to serve in various capacities as a Cabinet Minister in MITA, Health, MTI and MFA for which I am grateful.
Why did we lose Aljunied?
Mr Low Thia Kiang himself said that they won Aljunied not because the Aljunied team did not do a good job, but because the voters wanted WP to be their voice in Parliament.
Mr Low's analysis is fair and I agree with him. This desire for a strong WP voice in parliament was a political tide which came in through Aljunied which we were unable to withstand despite our very best efforts. Right from the start, the Workers party made Aljunied a national battleground.
The fight became one between a Workers Party voice in Parliament and an Aljunied team with two ministers, a potential Speaker of Parliament, a potential minister and a most effective Town Council chairman.
Though I wish the outcome had been different, Aljunied voters have made their choice.
Many of my supporters asked me to stay on to win back Aljunied in five years time. I wanted to level with them and told them last night that it is better for a younger person to take on this important task. I'm already 57 years old and would be 62 by then. Naturally I would help to ensure a smooth handover.
As we ended our campaign on 5 May, I talked about the importance of transforming PAP. This is a belief I've held for some time. It was not something I felt I could say when the campaign started. But, as the campaign went on, as we heard the growing cry from the heart, I decided to make it plain. Like it or not, we are entering a new phase in Singapore politics development. How we respond to it will decide Singapore's destiny in the 21st century.
I would help in whatever way I can to bring about this transformation of the PAP. I wish I had a mandate from the people of Aljunied to be a strong advocate of such transformation. But I don't.
As for remaining in public life, I will contribute in whatever modest way possible.
Many young people have stepped forward to help me in this campaign. Even more have cheered me on. It is not good that so many of them feel alienated from the Singapore they love. I look forward to continue working with them so that the Singapore we struggle for is the Singapore they feel is their own.
As to the actual role I can play, I'll be happy to respond to them. In the last few years, I have learnt much from my young friends. Often they led me rather than I led them. Since the GE results came out, there has been a flood of support for me expressed personally, through friends and relatives, on email and, in an astonishing way, on internet and FB. The words expressed are heartfelt. Many wrote me long passages, some in tears. I'm grateful for the kind words and the good wishes, and will be an advocate of their cause.
As for what I'll do professionally after stepping down as Minister when the new Cabinet is sworn in, I'm not rushing to make a decision. My wife and I thought we should take our time to think this over. We also need a break to spend more time with the family.
From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank the people of Singapore for the opportunity of serving them in the last 23 years.


Life And Career Of George Yeo
By Ion Danker

George Yong-Boon Yeo was born in Singapore on 13 September 1954.
After receiving his primary education at St Patrick's School and St Stephen's School, he continued his secondary education at St Patrick's School and St Joseph's Institution. In 1970, he was the top student in the 'O' level examinations and went on to be a President's Scholar and a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Scholar in 1973.
At Cambridge University, he studied Engineering and as an undergraduate, was elected President of the Cambridge University Malaysia-Singapore Association. He graduated with a Double First in 1976.
Mr Yeo returned to Singapore and served in the SAF as a Signals Officer and in 1979, he attended the Singapore Command and Staff College, graduating top of his class. He was then transferred to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAP), where he later became Head of the Air Plans Department.
In 1983, he attended Harvard Business School and graduated with an MBA with High Distinction (Baker Scholar).
In June 1984, he married Jennifer Leong Lai Peng, a lawyer. They have a daughter and three sons.

US President George W. Bush (R) glances over at Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong (L) as he signs documents during the …

He was appointed Chief- of-Staff of the Air Staff when he returned to Singapore in 1985. In 1986, he became Director of Joint Operations and planning in the Ministry of Defence, and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General in 1988. However, in August 1988, he resigned from the SAF to join politics.
Mr Yeo was elected into Parliament as one of three Members of Parliament (MPs) for the Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (GRC) on 3 September 1988. He was returned unopposed as one of four MPs in the same GRC in the 1991 General Election (GE).
Mr Yeo also served in various capacities as a Cabinet Minister.
From 13 September 1988 to 27 November 1990, he was Minister of State for Finance and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

George Yeo posing for a group photo prior to an ASEAN-China meeting held on the sidelines of the annual Association …

On 28 November 1990, he was appointed Acting Minister for Information and the Arts, and Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in the Government led by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.
On 1 July 1991, he was promoted to Minister for Information and the Arts, and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and was re-appointed to these posts on 7 September 1991.
He relinquished his post as Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and was appointed Minister for Health on 2 January 1994, but retained his portfolio in Information and the Arts.

George Yeo addressing the 62nd UN General Assembly at the United Nations on 28 September 2007. (AFP file photo …

On 25 January 1997, after the GE, he relinquished his post as Minister for Health and was appointed Second Minister for Trade and Industry. He retained his portfolio in Information and the Arts.
On 3 June 1999, Mr Yeo relinquished his portfolio of Information and the Arts to become Minister for Trade and Industry.
He was also re-elected as one of five MPs for Aljunied GRC in the November 2001 GE and re-appointed Minister for Trade and Industry.
Mr Yeo relinquished his post on 12 August 2004 as Minister for Trade and Industry and was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Government led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

George Yeo with his Aljunied GRC team at a rally. (Yahoo! file photo)

In the 2006 GE, he was again re-elected as one of the five MPs for Aljunied GRC and re-appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Mr Yeo was also Young PAP chairman from 1991 to 2000 and since 1992, has represented the Eurasian community in the Cabinet.

Sources: Sg. News. Yahoo

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