Singaporean leader offers apology for comment about opposition

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong offered an apology Friday if he offended anyone by saying he would need to "fix" the opposition if they won too many seats in Parliament at weekend elections.

Opposition leaders demanded an explanation from Lee after he made the remarks at a campaign rally on Wednesday.

In the remarks, Lee said that if the opposition were to hold 10 to 20 seats in Parliament he would have to spend more time dealing with them, which would distract some of his attention from running the government.

"Instead of spending my time thinking of what is the right policy for Singapore, I have to spend all my time thinking what is the right way to fix them, what's the right way to buy my own supporters over," Lee said.

At a campaign rally on Thursday night, leaders of the opposition Workers' Party demanded an explanation from the prime minister

A statement from Lee's press secretary Chen Hwai Liang said, "What (the) PM meant by his remark was that if there were many more opposition MPs in Parliament, the government and opposition would spend all their time and energies countering each other, and Singapore would be worse off for it."

"He used direct language to get this important point across to a mass rally crowd. If the exact words he used offended, he is sorry," the statement said.

Singaporeans cast their votes Saturday in an election expected to be dominated by Lee's ruling People's Action Party, which has governed the country for more than four decades and is credited with bringing growth and stability to the resource-scarce tiny territory.

Opposition parties currently hold two out of 84 elected seats in Parliament, and Lee's People's Action Party hold the rest, reports the AP.

I.L.

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