S'pore 'must get politics right to succeed'

S'pore 'must get politics right to succeed'
PHOTO: Reuters

With two days to go before ballots are cast, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday told voters that Singapore has to get its politics right if the country is to continue to succeed for the next 50 years.

At a lunchtime rally near the historic Fullerton Square, he spoke of how the pioneer generation had worked with the People's Action Party (PAP) to transform the country and uplift the lot of its people so that Singaporeans could celebrate SG50 proudly as one people.

For this little red dot to continue to move forward, younger generations would need the same pioneering spirit. "The world is changing. Singapore is changing. Our politics will have to change... But we have to work together even if we have to work harder to have a national consensus," he said.

"So when we move forward, we move as one people and we get there as one united people."

He identified three elements of politics in Singapore that should be retained even as it evolves.

One, it had to be honest and clean. "These are the PAP's standards and these also have to be the opposition's standards," he said, adding that whatever colours a party might wear, it also had to be white, or clean.

Two, the Government has to take care of its people today and also for tomorrow. "You cannot write cheques for your children to pay," he said of promises by opposition parties, from free healthcare to handouts and a minimum wage.

Three, good people have to be in government for politics to work. And Singapore had to continue voting in the right people who can put the country on the right path. The country could go down the wrong road with the wrong people in charge, he said.

All 89 seats in the next Parliament are being contested at the Sept 11 General Election, with opposition parties seeking to tap a desire among voters for greater opposition representation.

The Workers' Party (WP) has called on voters to back it as insurance for Singapore, a point party chief Low Thia Khiang repeated at a rally in Aljunied GRC last night.

On this, PM Lee said: "We don't need an opposition who says, 'I'm not ready to form the Government, never mind, just vote for me, you're buying insurance'. Insurance is good but you must buy the right insurance from the right company."

Voters would find themselves in trouble if they bought insurance from companies without a track record, or which "do not know how to handle money", he said.

He also described as "perverse" the call by opposition candidates to elect more of them so the PAP Government would work harder.

Instead, Mr Lee said the opposition is "not working hard enough. They are not talking much sense. Vote PAP, make the opposition work harder".

Stressing the need for leadership renewal, he outlined how he had been assembling the core of a new team, and adding more people to form the best possible team.

"It's starting to come together but I need more, you need more, Singapore needs more."

He called on voters in all constituencies to back PAP candidates if they believed in him and his team.

"Whichever constituency it is, whether it's West Coast or East Coast, whether it's Fengshan or Aljunied, whether it's MacPherson or Bukit Panjang, the PAP candidate standing there is standing on behalf of the PAP," he said.

"By voting for him, you're voting for me, you're voting for my team, you're voting for my programme and you're voting for my promise.

"The promise is: We will work with you to make Singapore better for you and your children," he said.

The nine-day campaign ends tonight, with 15 rallies islandwide, including six by the PAP. East Coast GRC, tipped to be a close fight, will see two rallies, one by the PAP in Simei and one by WP at Bedok Stadium. Tomorrow is Cooling-off Day, a day of campaign silence meant to give voters time to reflect on their choice before voting on Friday.

zakirh@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on September 9, 2015.
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