The General Election is about Singapore's future, choosing the Government and setting the direction for the country, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.
But beyond voting in people with integrity, it is also about a vision and concrete plans for the future, and whether they can be delivered, Mr Lee said, in taking stock of his party's campaign at the mid-point of the hustings for the Sept 11 polls.
The People's Action Party has been trying to get across the finer points of its policies in areas such as housing, healthcare and education, and will continue to do so, he told the press at the party's Bedok HQ. Mr Lee said voters seem receptive to the PAP's message that this election is about electing the right government and the right people.
"But this election, apart from people and integrity, is also about our vision and our plans for the future, and also whether we're able to deliver on these plans," he said.
These plans, in the PAP manifesto, are the product of years of work and public consultation, not plans "which sprang out of nowhere one day, a few weeks before the elections". He added: "No need for intermediaries, no need for co-drivers - just the people, working directly with the PAP and our team."
The party's task comes down to policy content, communication and conviction: "Do we believe in it and do people believe that we are able to make it happen? ... That's what we've been trying to do."
He cited videos to explain policies like Workfare income top-ups, and explanations of MediShield Life and CPF at rallies last week.
"We're trying to get across to the people in simple, direct terms what these policies mean and how they make a difference to you." He also gave a rundown of policies the party has worked on, in housing, healthcare and education.
He asked voters to compare what the PAP had with what other parties had, and judge "fairly, dispassionately, in your own interest" what was best.
"You vote for the party and the team whom you trust and whom you approve of. If you approve of us, vote for us. If you don't approve of us, vote for somebody else.
"But if you approve of us but don't want to vote for us, then I think something will go wrong," he said.
Mr Lee will say more about these issues tomorrow when the PAP holds a lunchtime rally in the city.
At a rally in Chua Chu Kang GRC last night, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong spoke of how the Pioneer Generation Package eases the burden of not only pioneers but also their children, and such help was possible only because the Government had been careful with its finances.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam responded to opposition parties' calls for higher social spending by telling a rally in Bukit Panjang SMC that no country had been able to offer free healthcare and social services without raising taxes for middle-income earners.
The Government, he said, has taken measures to raise the revenue needed for the next five years, including raising income and property taxes, and taking more of the returns earned by Temasek Holdings.
These moves will raise an extra $4 billion a year over the next five years, Mr Tharman said.
Asked if the political temperature in 2015 is proving lower than in 2011, PM Lee declined to give a reading but said "cooler is better" for such clear-eyed evaluation. "You are making decisions for the long term concerning our future, our children, you want to do it dispassionately and in a collected way."
This article was first published on September 6, 2015.
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