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After a sweeping election victory by his party, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Saturday he plans to give bigger roles in government to new younger members.
Speaking during the wee hours of the morning after the election result showed the ruling People’s Action Party had won 83 out of 89 seats, Lee said he hopes to form his Cabinet very soon -- likely after Hari Raya Haji, which falls on the 24th of September.
“I think that the first order of the day is to form a new Cabinet, and to bring in the new faces and also to reshuffle my Cabinet so that the younger members are put into positions of greater responsibility quickly,” he said.
Lee has said that one of the major items on his agenda was to prepare the fourth generation of leaders to take over. “And I want that to be done in this term,” he said.
Together with Lee at the press conference were new PAP faces Cheryl Chan, Ng Chee Meng and Ong Ye Kung.
Also with him was Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, whose team garnered a vote share of 79.28 per cent in Jurong GRC, the highest out of the group constituencies.
Asked whether the high percentage reflected his personal popularity, Tharman, whom even opposition candidates have praised, said he didn’t read very much into the differences in the constituencies as much as the large vote swing of the PAP.
In the polls that closed on Friday, the PAP drastically improved its share of the popular vote to 69.86 per cent from the last election. In the 2011 general election, there was high dissatisfaction with liberal immigration policies and cost of living, and those factors brought the PAP’s popular vote share to its lowest level ever at 60.14 per cent.
Speaking about the election results as a whole, Lee said he was very pleased with the results, particularly that the PAP won back Punggol East SMC, which was lost to the opposition Workers’ Party in a by-election in 2012.
Lee also noted that the PAP had narrowed the margin in Hougang SMC and Aljunied GRC, both of which were retained by the WP.
“We very nearly won to the point that we sought for a recount,” he pointed out, adding that the difference was 0.9 percentage points.
Lee said the latest results were an endorsement of the policies and performance of the PAP government.
-- with reporting by Nurul Azliah Aripin