Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has promised to uphold the trust supporters have in the People’s Action Party (PAP) Government, on the occasion of the PAP’s 65th anniversary.
In an email sent to those who subscribe for PAP website updates, PM Lee said the PAP’s founding mission has not changed in the last three generations of leaders and that this mission will “never change” even as the fourth-generation of leaders prepare to take over.
The ruling party has been gearing up for a leadership renewal over the past several months with Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat expected to take over to become Singapore’s fourth Prime Minister after the next election.
Calling on supporters to work with him and his party to “advance Singapore together,” PM Lee wrote: “Today, 65 years ago, the People’s Action Party launched on its mission to build a fair and just society, and to spread the benefits of progress widely to all.
“This mission has not changed, from our first Secretary-General Comrade Lee Kuan Yew and his team, to Comrade Goh Chok Tong and his team, to my team, and the next 4G Team. This mission will never change.”
The PAP has officially registered as a political party exactly 65 years ago, on November 21, 1954. Founding members included Lee Kuan Yew, Abdul Samad Ismail, Toh Chin Chye, Devan Nair, S. Rajaratnam, Chan Chiaw Thor, Fong Swee Suan, Tann Wee Keng and Tann Wee Tiong.
The party’s secretary-general Lee Kuan Yew became Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, post-independence from colonial rule.
Goh Chok Tong, who was succeeded by current PM Lee Hsien Loong, who is also Lee Kuan Yew’s eldest son succeeded Mr Lee. Lee Hsien Loong has served as the PAP’s secretary-general since December 2004.
The head of government says that while Singapore has progressed significantly since the PAP’s formation in 1954, the party needs to maintain a capable and effective government with responsive leaders to overcome today’s challenges:
“Singapore has been totally transformed from when the PAP was founded in 1954. We face increasing external challenges, and our domestic political landscape has evolved too. To overcome these challenges, and keep Singapore politics working for Singaporeans, we need a capable and effective government.
“Leaders must be responsive yet firm, to navigate Singapore skilfully through the difficulties ahead. Singaporeans must be united, to show the world that we are a strong, cohesive red dot.”
Asserting that there is “more to be done” even though “Singapore, together with the PAP leadership, has come a long way,” PM Lee said his party is working to “maintain the trust of Singaporeans”.
He promised, “We will continue to uphold your trust in the PAP Government. We will continue to create opportunities for Singaporeans to improve their lives, to give people hope that the future Singapore will be better than today’s.
“We will continue to build a united and cohesive society, where everyone, regardless of race, language and religion, has their rightful place.”