SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (Mar 3) commended the "cogent and balanced" speech delivered by the Workers' Party's Low Thia Khiang during the Budget debate, but said that Mr Low had ended his speech on a "partisan note".
Mr Low spoke in Parliament on Wednesday on Singapore's role in the region amid the rise of China as a superpower.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, Mr Lee said that Mr Low's speech was "firmly based on Singapore's interests and perspectives" and called it a "dispassionate assessment, by a Chinese-educated Singaporean, of the rise of China".
"It illustrates how domestic politics must stop at our shores, and we must all take a unified national position dealing with the external world," said the Prime Minister.
"Mr Low Thia Khiang spoke on how Singapore must respond as China grows in prosperity and influence," he said. "He pointed out that Singapore, a small multi-racial country in Southeast Asia, must be alive to the opportunities and challenges – not just the economic implications, but the political economic ones too."
However, the Prime Minister said that Mr Low ended his speech "on a partisan note".
"He called the GST announcement an unnecessary distraction," said Mr Lee, in reference to the planned hike in Goods and Services Tax announced by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget speech. He added that People's Action Party (PAP) ministers and members of parliament had "engaged Mr Low and the Workers’ Party on that point."
"But I am sharing Mr Low’s speech to highlight and commend the rest of it, which could have been delivered by a PAP MP."