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Quotes by Mr Ong Teng Cheong


"Having a good government is better than having a good President to check on a bad government. Singaporeans are fortunate to have a clean and able government for the last 35 years"

- 30 August 1999, making his farewell speech



"I hope I have not disappointed the people of Singapore who elected me into this office. I've enjoyed their concern and support for the past six years, and I want to thank them"

- August 1999, before stepping down as President



"I find no compelling reason to do so. Six years is a long time. I've achieved what I've set out to achieve when I took office six years ago, and I'm gratified to see that the White Paper on the determination and safeguarding of the protection of the reserves of the government was tabled in Parliament and published on July 2. The lessons that we have gathered in the course of working out or testing out the new systems has been incorporated into the White Paper, and that gives a clearer, give a better arrangement system to the government and the president to work to avoid unnecessary conflicts and misunderstandings. I think I'll take a break and spend a bit more time with my family, before I decide what to do next. Well as you know, 64, 63 going on 64 is not too old, so I'll decide later."

- 16 July 1999, at the press conference to indicate that he would not be seeking a second term in office



"In time, the Presidency should grow into an institution which strengthens our political stability, guarantees high standards of government, and assures Singaporeans of a secure and prosperous future...... The President must be above partisan politics, even though the decisions he makes are, in the wide sense of the word, political ones. He must protect the interests of Singapore as a whole"

- 1 September 1993, in a speech after the Presidential swearing-in ceremony



"I, Ong Teng Cheong, having been elected President of the Republic of Singapore, do solemnly affirm that I will faithfully discharge my duties, as such, to the best of my abilities, without fear or favour"

- 1 September 1993, at the Presidential swearing-in ceremony



"The support that you have given me helps to give me confidence in discharging my duty as President. You have given me a strong mandate and moral authority to carry out my duty. I pledge that I will do my best in discharging my duty"

- 29 August 1993, addressing the supporters after the presidential election results were released




"Some people still ask whether my long previous association with the PAP will stop me from acting independently. The answer is no. My loyalty is first and foremost, to the people of Singapore. It has always been so, and will always remain so"

- August 1993, in his final election broadcast speech



"I am no longer partisan and I will no longer come under the control of the party whip. So I am an independent person and my main duty, if elected as President, is to look after the interests of the nation and the people as a whole - not any sectoral interests"

- August 1993, in pre-election broadcast speech



"There are so many things to be done. I intend to live every minute of it as fully as I can and press on with the work"

- 1992, at a press conference after being diagnosed with lymphoma




"It's not easy to please everyone. So it's not possible for the Government to score 100 marks every year. Singapore, under the PAP leadership, has been scoring 70-80%. The opposition are always nickpicking the remaining 20%. They are like the spoilt members of a family, complaining about mum's cooking ....... but if you ask them to cook, they would not know how"

- 1988, during General Election campaigning


"This is like a 20-years love affair, from conception to delivery. Now the baby is born. Well, to say that I am happy and pleased is an understatement"

- 1987, at the opening of the MRT line



"An important architectural expression of our culture and our people"

- 1980s, on the Esplanade, as he envisaged the future theatre complex as a magnet for top-rank international artists



"We must adjust ourselves and adapt ourselves as we grow up, as we mature. Some of these controls are necessary, but we will move away from them as we go along. It's like film censorship and controlling people from going overseas to communist countries. Slowly we are changing. We have been de-controlling some of these things. It was the same with censorship of film publications. We will relax these controls as we go along, as we progress, become more affluent, become more mature"

- Dec 1984, during General Election campaigning



"This is going to be the most expensive single project to be undertaken in Singapore. The last thing we want to do is squander away our hard-earned reserves and leave behind an enormous debt for our children and grandchildren. Now, since we are sure that this is not going to be the case, we will proceed with the MRT. And with the MRT, we will usher in a new phase in Singapore's development and bring about a better life for all of us"

- Early 1980s, at the conclusion of the MRT debate



"Government has now taken a firm decision to build the MRT. The MRT is much more than a transport investment, and must be viewed in its wider economic perspective. The boost it'll provide to long term investors' confidence, the multiplier effect and how MRT will lead to the enhancement of the intrinsic value of Singapore's real estate are spin-offs that cannot be ignored."

- March 1982 (Mr Ong was a firm believer in the pros of having the MRT system as compared to an all-bus system)



"A vote is a representation of the individual Singaporean citizen's birth-right"

- 1980, during General Election campaigning



 

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