Singapore—In an interview with The Straits Times (ST) Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said he had expected the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) to have done better at the recently held General Election, noting there may have been a mismatch between the party and what Singaporeans, especially younger people, want.
The ST quotes ESM Goh as saying, “To be very frank, I was expecting a better performance for the ruling party because of the Covid situation. I do believe that people generally will take flight to safety.”
Mr Goh retired from Parliament last month after a long and storied career, which included succeeding founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who undoubtedly left very big shoes to fill indeed. For the first time in 44 years, Mr Goh did not contest in the election, which does not mean he has bowed out of public life completely.
He told the ST that he will be doing fireside chats with the new MPs, and, since he is still an Emeritus Senior Minister with special ties to India and Myanmar, he is still making himself available in this area. Of late, he has also become the Senior Adviser to the People’s Association (PA), where he would like to bring more attention to vulnerable residents.
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The Emeritus Senior Minister told ST that the PAP may have missed out on paying attention to what the youth want.
“I don’t think the party was addressing the aspiration side of what the young wanted, because they started to message on Covid-19 challenges and so on. But the young felt it’s your job, you can handle it; but what about my aspirations?” he said.
He told the story of a young woman from Marine Parade who pointed out that the PAP slate in the GRC were all males, which underlines the need for greater diversity and representation.
ESM Goh said that the PAP is going in this direction, what with the addition of people such as animal rights activist Louis Ng to its ranks, even though all new additions do need to adhere to what the ruling party says.
Where Singapore is now, he added, is an ‘inflexion point.’ This is a term used in business that indicates “a time of significant change in a situation; a turning point.”
“We’re at an inflexion point in terms of political mood and expectation.
I was expecting this change, but not now. I was anticipating it maybe in 2025, when the 4G takes over and there’s a change in leadership. If not, the one after that.”
Regarding the PAP’s 4G leadership, ESM Goh said, “I think the 4G has not yet shown themselves politically. They are intelligent, very competent, hard-working and good in running ministries. To be fair to them, they have not quite yet shown that political acumen, political leadership.” —/TISG
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Goh Chok Tong: “‘Diversity’ is the buzz word in Singapore politics now”