Singapore— At ruling People’s Action Party PAP65 Awards and Convention at the Singapore Expo on Sunday, November 10, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told over 2,500 party activists in attendance that the upcoming General Election (GE) would be a “tough fight” that they must be prepared for.
In a gathering that is being characterized as possibly the last one before the GE is called, PM Lee talked about what’s at stake for the whole country, saying that it’s not necessarily about the future of the party.
“This election is not just about the PAP doing a little bit better or a little bit worse. This election will decide if Singapore can sustain a good and stable government, to be different from other countries for a long time to come.”
In his speech, the Prime Minister discussed current problems in other parts of the world, wherein people have lost their trust in their leadership, mentioning an example from Chile, where the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit had been cancelled because of mass protests due to various social problems in healthcare, public transport costs, and others.
He also talked about Hong Kong, wherein he said that “young Hong Kongers are deeply unhappy with their government. But the angst and pessimism is also about social and economic issues. Their young people feel that no matter how hard they study or work, there is no path to a better future.”
The Prime Minister added that while Singapore is “not immune” to similar problems, “the anger and frustration that have divided societies elsewhere have not taken root here,” which would be detrimental to the country.
“And if it happens to us the consequences will be worse for us than other countries, may even be irreparable, because we are so small and so vulnerable,” he said.
And in the midst of global uncertainties, PM Lee said that what is crucial is for the country to stay united.
“The unity of Singaporeans is our first line of defence.”
Strong leadership was also a recurrent theme in the Prime Minister’s speech. According to a report from Channel NewsAsia (CNA), he emphasized the need for the country to have a leader who is confident of people’s complete support and is able to “negotiate skillfully” in order to minimize tensions stemming from bilateral issues.
He added, “Managing these external issues will not be easy. We will need a capable government. Leaders who are tactful but firm, who can negotiate skillfully to defuse bilateral issues, and who are confident that they have the full backing of the people.”
We must convince Singaporeans to give us a strong mandate. Not just to return a strong PAP government, but also to secure Singapore for the long term.”
In the course of his speech, the Prime Minister also touched on the choice to amend the constitution to reserve the elected presidency for minority candidates at specific periods, saying it had been a “political minus” both for the government and for PAP, but it had been the right thing to do.
Moreover, the Prime Minister emphasised that he knows the decision he made was right for Singapore, saying, “I am convinced that we did the right thing. We must never, ever be afraid to do what is right for Singapore.” -/TISG