People need to vote in MPs who are good checks on govt: PM Lee

People need to vote in MPs who are good checks on govt: PM Lee
PM Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore.

There remains a desire for alternative views in parliament, but Singaporeans by and large still want the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) to govern the country, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"If you ask the opposition parties, whether it's the Workers' Party or the SDP (Singapore Democratic Party), nobody says: 'Vote for me, I will form the government, I will be the prime minister, I will run this place better'," he said in an interview on Wednesday.

It is thus crucial that the government continues to maintain its level of support and be able to carry the consensus of the population over the long term. But much will depend on the different situations the country encounters in the years to come, he added.

"If you run into turbulent situations, people will be very worried about the dangers and there will be a flight to safety.

"If you are in a peaceful, prosperous environment, people say: 'Well, this is the way the world is, why do you need the government? We can prosper without the government'. So there is no safety net. There is no certainty that what we have now is going to continue."

Every general election - the next one must be held by January 2017 - is a "very serious contest" to determine who will form the next government, said Mr Lee, who is also the PAP secretary-general.

Addressing the ongoing desire by the opposition to act as a "check" on the PAP in parliament, Mr Lee stressed that there was no chance of Singapore's parliament being completely occupied by the PAP.

There are provisions for non-constituency MPs and nominated MPs; outside of parliament, there is an "infinite" number of voices among the new media and internet blogs.

Mr Lee's message to the electorate: Vote for somebody who you think will be a "good check", and make sure he or she is up to the standards you expect.

"A person who sits in parliament and is not competent, is not going to be a check on the government. A person who can be in parliament and raise questions, ask and debate, and intelligently questions what the government is doing and why you are doing this and not that - that is what you need when you talk about checks and balances," he said.

In a separate interview with journalists conducted in Mandarin on Thursday, he revealed that the number of new candidates the PAP was planning to field for the next GE would be about 24 - similar to the number introduced at the 2006 and 2011 polls - although the final number was still being worked out.

He also disclosed that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee, a group that reviews the electoral division boundaries and recommends changes, was yet to be formed.

Mr Lee said his team was currently busy with the country's year-long golden jubilee celebrations and had not thought about when to set up the committee.

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