Why Singapore needs a minority president from time to time
At his National Day Rally speech, PM Lee addressed the review of the Elected Presidency
Despite Singapore's multiracial harmony, we are not "completely race blind".
Mr Lee acknowledged that we are not a homogenous society.
He cited in his Chinese speech how, when he visited Tanjong Pagar after Mr Lee Kuan Yew's death, residents asked for a "bilingual minister" despite the fact that he was accompanied by Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law and Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Indranee Rajah, who had served in the ward for many years and could speak Cantonese fluently.
Recent surveys also showed that people were more comfortable electing their own race.
A survey commissioned by Channel NewsAsia in partnership with the Institute of Policy Studies polled 2,000 Singapore citizens and permanent residents aged 21 and above between June and July on their views on relations between the country's races.
The survey showed that most Singaporeans would prefer someone of their own race as the nation's prime minister or president, if given a choice.
Mr Lee said that under the current system of contested elections for the president, Singapore might not have a minority president for a long time.
He said in his Chinese speech: "If so, this will weaken the sense of national identity among minorities and affect our unity. This is serious for it concerns our social cohesion, our multiracial society, and our future."
In his National Day Message on Aug 8, Mr Lee had said that there was a need to make the elected presidency "a more effective unifying institution and a stabiliser".
Addressing the threat of terrorism in Singapore, he also said: "It comes down to our collective resolve to stand with each other.
"That in turn depends on how well we have prepared ourselves before an attack, to build trust, to strengthen bonds, to maintain and expand our common space, so that we feel instinctively one people."