SINGAPORE — From COVID-19 measures to its bumper slate of new candidates, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) – the “mainstream party in Singapore” – is focusing on immediate priorities in its manifesto, said the party’s secretary-general Lee Hsien Loong.
Unveiling the manifesto – titled Our Lives, Our Jobs, Our Future – via live broadcast online, Prime Minister Lee made it clear that “the central focus of the party’s manifesto is how we will work together to overcome this crisis of a generation”.
He pointed out that in a normal election, voters are much less interested in the “routine business of keeping Singapore going”. But, “right now, keeping Singapore going, flying straight and level through turbulent weather is the most challenging and urgent priority for the government”.
Lee said it addresses questions such as, “how we will keep Singaporeans and our migrant workers safe, and prevent COVID-19 from overwhelming our health care system” and “how we will restart and transform the economy, save jobs and businesses, and reskill workers for new jobs”.
The manifesto also outlines some longer term plans to build a better Singapore.
Bumper crop of new faces
For all these ideas to become reality, Lee said, the PAP has assembled a “national team”.
Bringing attention to the party’s slate of 27 new candidates – “more than in any previous election” – he said that the PAP had made “an exceptional effort” to put the team together.
“We also have a good mix: entrepreneurs, businessmen and women, lawyers, social workers, public servants and SAF officers. And we have more women too – double the last round– including our first female SAF general.”
Because the PAP’s new candidates represent a wide range of life experiences and backgrounds, Lee said, “This is what makes the PAP the mainstream party in Singapore. A broad tent that occupies the middle ground, and represents the vast majority of Singaporeans.”
Many of these candidates have lived “the Singapore story”. He referred to a few who rose through hard times, became successful and are now giving back to society in myriad ways.
Despite this, he warned party comrades, “Make no mistake – this will be a tough election. Singaporeans have lost jobs, families have suffered, many are hurting from the pandemic.
“We cannot take any vote for granted. The Singaporean voter is a tough judge. We must to fight hard for every single vote, in every constituency.”
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