SINGAPORE - The Sept 11 general election is about Singapore's future, choosing the government and leadership, and setting direction, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Saturday (Sept 5) morning.
In a press conference taking stock of the campaigning for the Sept 11 polls, he reiterated how the election was about the need to elect the right people to government.
"Government is not something that's just up there but it's made up of people who make it work," he said at party headquarters in New Upper Changi Road.
He said the People's Action Party has put forward three issues in its campaign: content, communication and conviction - that is, "the right ideas, the right way to get them across, and the confidence that this is real and we will make it happen".
Some policies like housing will continue to be worked on, said PM Lee, who is the secretary-general of the party. Others, like moving the port and Paya Lebar Air Base, were not just for the next term of government but for the next 30 years.
"This is what the PAP does," he said, "long-term planning for people".
"This is the nation we are aiming for. A future where tomorrow is always better than today, that the young can live lives better than their parents. We are saying, we can do this together with you."
On the issue of immigration policy which has come up at the hustings, he said that the pre-2010 policy on this had put Singapore in a good position to weather the global crisis.
As for the ongoing debate about the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council with the Workers' Party, PM Lee said the debate was a significant and important issue.
"As the ferocity of the the response shows, I think the facts have exposed a raw nerve," he said of the opposition party, which holds the Aljunied GRC and the single wards of Hougang and Punggol East.
"As the dust settles, I think the record will show that there remains important questions to be answered. They know what the questions are, they know what voters need to know."
But he seemed to indicate that the PAP will not harp on the issue anymore during the campaign.
"We have made our points. Voters are clear-eyed and we will leave it to them."
As for the opposition, he noted: "Good policies are a result of the people working directly with the PAP - no need for intermediaries or co-drivers."
He urged Singaporeans to compare the candidates, "compare them for the quality of the person, the integrity of character, commitment to serve", and to "vote in good conscience".
"With your mandate, we can make the next 50 years an upward path like the last 50 years have been."
PM Lee was joined at the press conference by PAP candidates Lim Swee Say, Ng Eng Hen, Halimah Yacob, S. Iswaran and Desmond Lee.
Asked about Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang's statement that a strong mandate for the PAP Government might mean popular policies being reversed after the polls, or even a GST hike, Mr Lee said that it was a strange psychological tactic to paint the PAP as "dying to do bad things to the people".
He said that the Government does not play such games with voters and that it makes long-term plans in the interest of Singaporeans. Regarding a GST hike, he said it would be necessary only if there is unsustainable spending, adding that many opposition parties' manifestos contain proposals for such spending.
The Government will always explain its actions to Singaporeans, he said.
Asked about whether the "heat level" of the hustings is lower than in the 2011 General Election, Mr Lee said that in his view, "cooler is better" as voters should make decisions in a calm and rational way.
This article was first published on September 5, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.