SINGAPORE: The People's Action Party (PAP) manifesto for General Election 2020 focuses on saving jobs and restarting the economy; migrant worker welfare; as well as supporting each other to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
PAP secretary-general Lee Hsien Loong launched the manifesto titled Our Lives, Our Jobs, Our Future on Saturday (Jun 27), pointing out that the election will take place "in the middle of the most severe crisis the world has faced for many decades".
"Right now, keeping Singapore going, flying straight and level safely through the turbulent weather is the most challenging and urgent priority for the Government," he said.
Mr Lee, who is also Prime Minister, said the central focus of the manifesto is how the PAP wants to work together to overcome this "crisis of a generation".
He said this includes:
- How it will keep Singaporeans and migrant workers safe, and prevent COVID-19 from overwhelming Singapore's healthcare system
- How it will restart and transform the economy, save jobs and businesses, and reskill workers for new jobs
- How it will provide care and support to one another, so that people can keep themselves safe amid the uncertainties and dangers
Mr Lee said these issues are at the top of people’s minds, adding that Singaporeans understood this was not business or politics as usual, and that they want to know how the Government would solve their problems.
The PAP said in a statement that the manifesto outlined these plans, including ensuring public health, investing in the healthcare system, as well as saving and creating jobs and upskilling workers.
The manifesto also details plans to stabilise businesses and help them transform and grow; provide support to households, vulnerable and those in need; rejuvenate the city and heartlands; as well as to live sustainably.
Beyond COVID-19 and jobs, Mr Lee said the manifesto also sets out the PAP's longer-term plans to build a "better Singapore", adding that its aim was not just to survive the storm.
"But also to maintain the long-term direction for the country, and keep on building and improving Singapore," he stated.
To put the manifesto in action, Mr Lee said the PAP needed the full support of Singaporeans and capable leaders with experience, new ideas and dedication.
"But even the best leadership team is only as strong as the support it gets," he said.
"So we must fight hard to convince Singaporeans that our PAP team is their team, and deserves their full support."
PAP NEW CANDIDATES
Mr Lee said the 27 new candidates the PAP was fielding comprise a "good mix" of entrepreneurs, businessmen and women, lawyers, social workers, public servants and military officers.
Representing more than a quarter of its total slate, this was the highest number of new candidates the PAP has fielded in any election, he said, with double the number of new female candidates compared to the General Election in 2015.
"Most of them were already familiar to many residents, because they have been working on the ground for some time," he said.
"Quite a few have been grassroots leaders and party activists for several years now."
Mr Lee said the wide range of life experiences and backgrounds of these candidates was what made the PAP the mainstream party in Singapore – "a broad tent that occupies the middle ground, and represents the vast majority of Singaporeans".
"Our new candidates come from all walks of life, and they are representative of the complexion of our society," he added.
ABOUT 20 MPs RETIRING
Mr Lee also revealed that about 20 Members of Parliament were retiring this year, including Deputy Speaker Charles Chong, the former Punggol East MP who has served seven terms in total.
Mr Lee said that of all the PAP MPs, Mr Chong had probably the narrowest wining margins in elections, including winning Joo Chiat in 2011 and Punggol East in 2015 with 51 per cent and 52 per cent of the vote, respectively.
"Not because he is a weak MP, but because when there is a tough fight, and we need a strong candidate who will fight hard and fight smart, we send in Charles Chong," Mr Lee said.
"And every time, Charles has delivered."
Mr Lee said the coming election will be a tough one, especially as Singaporeans have lost jobs, families have suffered and many are hurting from the pandemic.
"We cannot take any vote for granted," he said.
"The Singaporean voter is a tough judge. We must fight hard for every single vote, in every constituency – PAP or opposition, SMC or GRC."