Lee Kuan Yew: Why PAP lost votes in the May election

Alicia Wong

Rising home prices and the influx of new faces caused PAP to lose votes in the recent GE, said Mr Lee Kuan Yew. (AP file photo)

Rising home prices, pushed high by too many new permanent residents and citizens buying properties, were the main reason for the People's Action Party's (PAP) loss of votes in the May General Election, said former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

But the government has done a revamp and the Housing & Development Board has promised that supply will meet demand within four years, he assured on Saturday according to The Sunday Times.

Speaking to over 1,000 constituents at a National Day dinner in his Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru ward, Mr Lee revealed the findings of the party's internal analysis on why its vote share declined in the recent GE.

The PAP's overall vote share fell by some 6 percentage points from 66.6 per cent in 2006 to 60.1 per cent this year.

High housing prices and the influx of foreigners were two hotly debated topics online and offline during the May polls.

Mr Lee, who stepped down from Cabinet after the GE, also said Singaporeans also felt uncomfortable seeing new, strange faces on overcrowded trains and buses, reported the paper.

"It cannot be helped", he said, but noted that the situation will ease in a few years as more MRT lines, trains and buses are added.

He also pointed out the government is decreasing the inflow of new residents so they assimilate better.

Mr Lee, however, reminded residents that Singapore must stay open to young, talent immigrants given its declining birth rate. Otherwise, the Republic could end up like Japan, with a shrinking population and stagnating economy.

Singapore's fertility rate was 1.15 last year. The replacement rate was 2.1.

"If we do not take in migrants, we will become an old, diminishing society with no vitality and no drive," he said.

New immigrants will also go all out to succeed here and Singaporeans must "accept that they are going to do their best. And if doing their best puts pressure on us, our children, it may be good for them because they will also have to put in effort to do their best to keep up," he added.

Mr Lee also touched on the global economy, pointing out that Singapore is fortunate China and India are growing rapidly.

Singapore has a highly skilled workforce that will attract foreign investments and hence, ensure employment opportunities and income, he added.