Lee, Singapore's founding father and prime minister from 1959 to 1990, said that in his day people were hungry, poor and not well-educated, while today's Singaporeans are well-educated, comfortable and more demanding.
He said that new problems require new solutions, and that he was concerned that people would compare his son with himself, The Straits Times reported Tuesday.
Lee conceded that Lee Hsien Loong would have to deal with the public perception that he got the post because of his father. But he said the younger Lee's experience as deputy prime minister for 14 years gave him the necessary qualifications for the job.
The elder Lee denied that he consciously groomed his son for a political role from a young age, saying he and his wife gave their three children broad educations so they could pursue whatever they wanted to do.
"He picked up from me a certain way of thinking, certain logic, certain cut of mind," Lee said of his son. "He has got from his mother a facility with words, and a certain intuition."