News24

Singapore PM joins Facebook 'fun'

2012-04-20 20:00

Singapore - Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched his own Facebook page on Friday to better connect with citizens who have increasingly vented their frustrations with his government on social media.

Lee, 60, said he decided to "join the fun" and set up a Facebook page after being encouraged by cabinet colleagues who are already using the popular social networking site.

"I hope you will find my Facebook page interesting. I will use it to talk about some of the things I am doing, and thinking about, but I would also like to hear from you," he said in his first post, signed with the initials LHL.

"Let's use this page to help shape ideas and understanding of what we can do together to improve our lives. As a Facebook newbie, I would appreciate your advice, suggestions and, most of all, your patience," he said.

The page was approaching 1 500 "likes" and had over 400 comments just hours after it was launched.

Setback

"It's about time you come down from your Ivory Tower and touch the Ground," wrote one reader who identified himself as Raul Panday.

"Hopefully you will take the comments in stride and Listen to the views put to You."

Another reader, Ten Kuet Fui Brovo, wrote: "It's a good platform for you to connect with the ground, especially the young and restless."

With the mainstream Singapore media widely seen as pro-government, an increasing number of Singaporeans have gone online to complain about everything from an influx of foreign workers to breakdowns in the metro train network.

The ruling People's Action Party, in power since 1959, suffered its worst setback in general elections in May 2011, winning an all-time low of 60% of the vote.

News portals and social media played a crucial role in shaping the political debate.

The prime minister, in office since 2004, is the son of Singapore's first leader Lee Kuan Yew, 88, who retired from the cabinet after last year's polls but remains a member of parliament.