There are three key issues the People’s Action Party must come to grips with, said Comrade Chan Chun Sing.
These are: the pain points of Singaporeans must be quickly addressed, the basis for different policies must be better communicated and the party organisation must be strengthened to meet evolving challenges and changing demographics.
Addressing some 1,400 party members at the biennial party convention on 8 December 2013, the Young PAP chairman elaborated on the PAP’s 3-2-1 Plan for the coming years. These refer to: three national priorities, two local areas of focus and one resolution at party level.
At the national level, the PAP must Deliver, Enable and Communicate. The party must deliver a better life for Singaporeans by integrating policies across different areas such as housing and transport.
At the same time, the government must also enable people to seek and develop solutions for themselves and their communities, so as to engender a sense of commitment to community and nation.
The way that the party communicates its message must be customised and simplified. In this regard, said Comrade Chan, the common space for people to speak up must be “continuously and strenuously” defended.
At the local level, the party must Contact and Connect. Where national policies are not well connected at the local level, the MPs must connect them to deliver across the last mile.
But Comrade Chan pointed out: “Solving the problem is not the only measure of success. We must touch the hearts and minds of our people.”
And at party level, PAP Resolution 2013 spells out the way forward.
Comrade Chan concluded: “We must do our best. We must not fail Singapore and Singaporeans. This is our promise. We must do the right things and we must do things right.”
Views from our activists
Left to right: Rahul Shah, Chan Hui Min, Benjamin Tay, Hamidah Aidillah Mustafa, Kartini bte Abdul Khalid and Benjamin Joshua.
Rahul Shah and Hamidah Aidillah Mustafa:
The true potential of young people must be nurtured, and the passion for servant leadership re-ignited. In order to do so, there must be a change in the way that fellow party activists and Singaporeans are engaged. Rahul Shah and Hamidah Aidillah Mustafa of the Young PAP therefore urged the party to change its old perception of being “rigid, unforgiving and harsh”. Comrade Hamidah added: “It is the wish of the Young PAP to see the Party evolve to becoming more approachable, attractive and – if I may say – a sexier Party.”
Chan Hui Min:
Comrade Chan Hui Min of the Women’s Wing called for a “Silver Wing” of the PAP to be formed, made up of senior citizen activists. Given that a large segment of the population will be coming into their “silver years” within the next two decades, there is an urgent need to address ageing issues. Comrade Chan stressed: “It is important to provide for the ageing population in a sustainable way, so that it remains fair for younger taxpayers.”
“Do not write us off!” was the rallying cry from Comrade Benjamin Joshua, a senior activist from the Punggol East branch. While he was heartened by the sight of young and old activists working alongside each other, Comrade Joshua urged the party to tap on the “institutional intelligence and memory” of senior members. He added: “It is only right that we do more to recognise and appreciate the efforts of our senior members, especially the pioneer generation among us, who helped to build the party and to build the Singapore that we have today.”
Kartini bte Abdul Khalid:
Singapore may not quite be a paradise, but it is the system of meritocracy that enables us to strive and do well. “One of the things that the PAP has done right and must continue to do is in the provision of a system that is fair and just, and one that uses education as a means to social mobility,” said Comrade Kartini bte Abdul Khalid of the Joo Chiat branch. She urged: “We must not allow ourselves to get carried away and measure a person’s worth only by his ability, intelligence or wealth.”
Meritocracy plays a key role in creating a fair and just society, but it can also breed excessive competition and division. While Comrade Benjamin Tay noted that his own brotherin- law benefitted from government scholarships, he added: “Perhaps it is time to consider what version of meritocracy is most in line with our founding mission.” He added that as far as possible, each child should have an equal chance to excel and lead a full life, in spite of the inequalities which will always exist in reality.
This article was first published in the Jan 2014 issue of Petir Magazine