PAP resolution lays out its goals at 'a crucial moment'

PAP resolution lays out its goals at 'a crucial moment'
Profile of Joshua Benjamin at the PAP Party Convention 2013 held at the Kallang Theatre on 8 Dec 2013.

SINGAPORE- The People's Action Party's (PAP's) new resolution updates its founding goals at a critical time in its history, as it faces questions internally and externally about what it stands for, several of its Members of Parliament and activists said yesterday.

Ms Ellen Lee, an MP for Sembawang GRC, said some PAP members had feared that the ruling party had turned populist after a watershed general election in 2011, even as outsiders had continued to accuse it of being elitist.

But the new resolution, which the party adopted at its convention on Sunday, answers both groups of critics, she said, by affirming its goals to build a fair and just society, and to create opportunities for all Singaporeans.

The other four goals set out in the resolution are to strengthen the Singaporean identity, uphold an open and compassionate meritocracy, develop a democracy of deeds, and ensure a responsive and responsible Government.

Ms Lee said: "We're prepared to listen and make changes, but fundamentals have to be upheld."

Last revised 24 years ago, the goals are being updated as the PAP forges a new way forward in a society more diverse than before, with a mature economy and greater political contestation.

The resolution is also a response to the challenges of a growing income gap and slowing social mobility.

Mr Seah Kian Peng, an MP for Marine Parade GRC, said the resolution "tells all Singaporeans what the PAP is about, what it intends to do and create for the country".

Eunos branch activist Fong Yoong Kheong, 27, felt the resolution struck a chord with "an emotional element... not going for just pure meritocracy, but a compassionate one".

But Mr Victor Lye, an Aljunied GRC party activist, said the resolution has to go beyond words, to activists going out to the ground to "get people to appreciate us for what we do".

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