Support from all quarters, especially the young: PM

PHOTO: The Straits Times

The 2015 elections were a good result for the People's Action Party (PAP) and an excellent result for Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said today.

In an early morning press conference after final electoral results showed a 69.9 per cent national vote share for the ruling party, he said he was happy and "deeply humbled" by the strong mandate.

Such a broad, deep swing towards the PAP could not have happened without support from Singaporeans of all races and ages, he said, highlighting in particular the young.

This support from young Singaporeans was an "important conclusion" from the polls, he said.

"It shows that the young people understand what is at stake, support what we are doing to secure a bright future for Singapore, and, in due time, will be able to take up this responsibility and take the country further forward."

Flanked by nine other re-elected and newly elected PAP politicians, he said that one of his first orders of business is to reshuffle the Cabinet so that the younger members are put into positions of greater responsibility quickly.

PM Lee expressed the belief that the results would greatly bolster confidence in Singapore from foreign governments and investors.

The mandate is also "a strong signal of confidence to ourselves that we Singaporeans in the post-Lee Kuan Yew era are able to find the winning formula which can keep us progressing and succeeding".

Earlier, speaking in Mandarin, he said the results would have put the founding prime minister, who died in March, at ease.

Asked for his view of the factors that swung support towards the PAP, he pointed to policies that have increased social and economic assistance in the last four years, as well as measures taken to ease housing supply and to improve the public transport system.

He added that a certain moment of national reflection on the occasion of the country's 50th anniversary played a role: "It's time for introspection, time for commitment, time for resolution. And this election is part of that.

"I think Mr Lee Kuan Yew's passing reminded the people of these same verities and they are verities which have helped us come this far, and I believe are relevant to us as we go forward into a changed world. And I'm glad that Singaporeans understand that."

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, whose Jurong GRC polled the highest across the nation at 79.28 per cent, attributed the results to Singaporeans' confidence in both the PAP's agenda and in the PAP leaders themselves as "trustees and stewards" who will take Singapore forward.

PM Lee expressed his delight that the PAP's Charles Chong had wrested back the Punggol East seat from the Workers' Party and in so doing showed that the PAP "can take the fight to the opponent, make the case to voters and win them back".

The strides in PAP vote share in Hougang SMC and Aljunied GRC, which remain with the WP but by slimmer margins, were also encouraging, he said, and expressed confidence that the PAP would one day win those wards back.

In the next Parliament, there will be six elected MPs and three Non-Constituency MPs from the WP, PM Lee noted, adding that he hoped they would come "fully prepared to engage and have a robust exchange on significant issues", including topics they raised in the hustings like the minimum wage.

As for the PAP, it will "work very hard to meet the expectations of Singaporeans who have supported us", he said, concluding the long night for the PAP by saying: "Go forth to SG100."

Additional reporting by Charissa Yong and Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh

This article was first published on September 12, 2015.
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