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“I’m Not Proud of This Project”: Philip Yeo on Suzhou Industrial Park

“This project will fail,” said Goh Keng Swee. The China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) project in the 1990s between the two countries was fraught with problems from the get-go. But few have spoken openly about them until now. In the book, “Neither Civil Nor Servant”, former chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB), Philip Yeo, shares why the project ran into so many issues that the majority ownership of the project was subsequently transferred from Singapore to China. Mr Yeo, known for his shoot-from-the-hip bluntness which is matched only by that of the late former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, opens up in the book by Peh Shing Huei, former China bureau chief at the Straits Times. “I didn’t want to get involved,” Mr Yeo said in the book when asked about the SIP. “I never asked for this project and never wanted it. I did it for Lee Kuan Yew.” “I’m not proud of this project,” said the man who has spent the better part of 40 years dedicated to his role as Singapore’s “salesman”, as he is sometimes referred to. The SIP project was the first-ever state-to-state collaboration which China had been involved in at the time, and…