SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says the government has always been working with Singaporeans to improve their lives and that the ruling party, through successive generations, has always kept the people’s interests at heart.
He was speaking at the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) rally for Punggol East by—election on Thursday night.
Joining candidate Dr Koh Poh Koon in his final rally for the campaign, Mr Lee urged voters to consider carefully what the by—election is about.
He stressed that the by—election is about choosing the right person with the heart and abilities to serve.
The by—election is also about supporting a good government that will serve Singaporeans and their family. It is also a vote for a better life.
Mr Lee stressed that by working together, the PAP government has transformed Singaporeans’ lives.
One example is Punggol, which has been totally transformed from pig farms, kampongs and dirt roads to the Punggol 21 Plus and the award winning Punggol Waterway, he said.
And this is the same all over Singapore, said the Prime Minister.
He stressed that what Singapore has achieved no other country has done and this was done together with Singaporeans working together with successive PAP governments.
Mr Lee also refuted the opposition’s accusations that the PAP has changed. He said successive PAP governments, from Mr Lee Kuan Yew to Mr Goh Chok Tong to his leadership team, have had to change policies with the times.
But the party’s fundamental ideals have not changed, neither has its goal to help the low—income, elderly and the middle—class.
For the elderly, Prime Minister Lee emphasised that they had helped build Singapore together and that the government will not forsake this generation.
He stressed that the government will always stay on the side of Singaporeans and continues to maintain high standards of integrity.
He went on to explain that another thing that has not changed in Singapore is that the PAP still maintains high standards of integrity.
One aspect of this is honesty, and the PAP has always been honest with Singapore, said Mr Lee.
Another example of integrity is how the party handled embarrassments and mistakes, and one example was the resignation of the former Speaker of Parliament, Michael Palmer.
The Prime Minister recounted that when Mr Palmer offered to resign, he accepted and handled the matter transparently and openly and hence the Punggol East by—election.
Mr Lee once again apologised for putting residents through another election but added that the way the PAP had handled the matter was completely different from the way the Workers’ Party had handled the Yaw Shin Leong affair in Hougang when the former MP went missing in action.
The Prime Minister conceded that nobody is perfect and certainly not the PAP.
He said the party makes mistakes and lapses from time to time but it admits to its mistakes and shortcomings and did its best to set things right and work with Singaporeans to do better.
Mr Lee said that is how the party has maintained its reputation for so long and that is how it must uphold the integrity of the system in future.
So the Prime Minister stressed that the question to ask is: what will Singapore be in 10 to 20 years and the kind of leaders the country wants — honest leaders who will explain the challenges and work with the people to overcome them or those who make empty promises and leave it to others to get the job done.
Mr Lee said the country needs to develop a capable and committed leadership for Singapore with good MPs to represent the people and constructive politics to tackle the country’s challenges together.
Mr Lee urged Singaporeans to continue to support the PAP.
"The People’s Action Party has not changed its purpose and what’s its purpose? Action for the People; to act on your behalf, to be your representative, to be your servants, to be your agent to make happen in Singapore what we all would like to see happen. That’s the reason why the people join the PAP," he said.
Mr Lee called on Singaporeans to vote for PAP candidate Dr Koh, saying he will be able to contribute significantly.
He said Dr Koh will not only be able to help Punggol East residents, but that he has the potential to do more for Singapore.
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