PM Lee: GE2020 not about my family dispute, but about Singapore's future amid crisis

·4-min read
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during a PAP virtual media conference to introduce candidates for Ang Mo Kio GRC for upcoming General Election. (PHOTO: Screenshot/Facebook)
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during a PAP virtual media conference to introduce candidates for Ang Mo Kio GRC for upcoming General Election. (PHOTO: Screenshot/Facebook)

SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the upcoming General Election is about Singapore’s future at a “very grave moment in our history”, and not about his ongoing family dispute with his younger brother Lee Hsien Yang.

PM Lee was commenting at a virtual media conference on Monday (29 June) to introduce the People’s Action Party (PAP) candidates who are joining him to contest in the Ang Mo Kio group representation constituency (GRC).

When asked of his thoughts on Hsien Yang joining the Progress Singapore Party, the PAP secretary-general said, “He is within his rights as a Singapore citizen.

“This GE is not about me or any family disputes which may involve my brother and me. It’s about the future of Singapore at a very grave moment in our history, when we are facing the most serious crisis we have seen since independence.

“Health, jobs, and our future – I think we should focus on those big issues.”

PM Lee comments on Ivan Lim

PM Lee was also asked about the withdrawal of PAP’s Ivan Lim as a GE candidate, after numerous social media criticisms on his character surfaced in recent days.

“The PAP has a thorough process... and we have confidence on how the process has worked this time,” he said.

"I think if we look for the perfect candidate, we will lose many good men and women. And if we encourage a culture of trial by Internet, then we will not find anybody willing to stand and put themselves and their families through this ordeal, even if at the end of it, they're able to clear themselves.

“Ivan Lim was right to withdraw from the campaign to avoid distraction from the important issues of this election.... But we can’t simply write off and destroy people like this, so after the election, we will investigate the veracity of the allegations and we’ll come up with a review on the matter.

“If (he has) done nothing wrong, if (he is) straight and open and candid with the party, and we know what is the truth and we are satisfied that he is fit to be a candidate, we’ll stand by him and we will defend him.”

PAP sweep? Not a realistic outcome, says PM Lee

During the virtual conference, PM Lee introduced Ang Mo Kio incumbents Darryl David and Gan Thiam Poh, as well as newbies Ng Ling Ling and Nadia Samdin as PAP’s candidates for the GRC at the 10 July GE.

Previous Ang Mo Kio GRC MPs – Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar, 43, Mr Ang Hin Kee, 54, and Dr Koh Poh Koon, 48 – are no longer on the team, with details of their movements to be revealed later.

When asked about opposition parties saying that there might be a potential PAP sweep in all 93 seats at the GE, he said, “I don’t see that as a realistic outcome.

“I think this is a hard fight because, although we’re in a crisis and people want a strong government, people are hurting badly – those who have lost their jobs or seen their pay substantially reduced, those who are very worried whether they’ll find their first job or whether they’ll lose their jobs in the coming months or years.

“I say it’s a tactic, because at the last election, the opposition parties were overconfident and the Workers’ Party was saying it wants to form the government one day. I think the voters showed that they were not ready for the Workers’ Party to do such as thing.

“So this time they’re trying to do the opposite, use some reverse psychology and hope the voters will vote for them to make sure there is not going to be a wipeout. I can tell you that I don’t take that attitude at all, and we will fight for every vote and every seat. But I know that, in Singapore (politics), there is a certain kind of balance, and I don’t think the balance will be upset at this election.”

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