With an overall mandate of 61.2% and winning 83 out of 93 seats in Parliament in the 2020 General Election, the People’s Action Party will be hitting the ground and working hard to bring Singapore out of the COVID-19 crisis.
In a press conference held at about 4:30 am on 11 July, following the close of the polls at 10pm the previous day and vote counting, PAP Secretary General and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, “The percentage of the popular vote is not as high as I had hoped for.”
In the previous 2015 General Election, the PAP had received an overall mandate of 69.86 percent.
“But the result reflects broad-based support for the PAP,” said Mr Lee. A total of 24 new PAP candidates, two of whom stood in SMCs – Gan Siow Huang and Yin Hon Weng – were voted in.
“Singaporeans understand what is at stake and why we must come together to uphold our national interest. I will use this mandate responsibly to deal with COVID-19 and the economic downturn, and to take us safely through the crisis and beyond.”
Nod to Diversity
Referring to his comments at the start of the campaigning period that there would not be an opposition wipeout and that the PAP would be in for a tough fight, he acknowledged that the results show that Singaporeans – especially younger voters – want a diversity of voices in government.
The Worker’s Party retained its Hougang SMC and Aljunied GRC stronghold while wresting the newly-formed Sengkang GRC into its fold.
This has resulted in the “major loss” of Mr Ng Chee Meng, who is also the NTUC Secretary-General, Mr Lam Pin Min who has been building up the Sengkang West SMC since 2011, Mr Amrin Amin and new candidate Raymond Lye.
“It’s a loss, not to have them in my MPs team, and in my Cabinet. But we will move forward and move on from here, as we did after Aljunied went to the Opposition in 2011,” he said.
Hence, Parliament will have 10 Opposition MPs from the Worker’s Party, and another two NCMPs if the opposition parties take up the offer.
Mr Lee also designated Worker’s Party leader Pritam Singh as the leader of the opposition, and that he would be provided with staff support and resources to carry out his duties.
He said, “Whether (our plans) work out, whether it is seen as the strengthening of Singapore, will depend not only on what the PAP does but also on what the Opposition does, because the Opposition now has 10 MPs elected from constituencies.”
This would have repercussions even on how Singapore is perceived by global businesses and investors.
He said, “We have got a good result, we will make the most of it, and we will continue to fight to persuade them that Singapore is worthy of their confidence and their investment.
“We will demonstrate that by the way we take Singapore forward. But it also depends on how the opposition conducts itself to convince them that there is a respectable opposition in Singapore who puts national interests before party politics.”
Coming back together
What is critical now, he said, is to unite and tackle the COVID-19 crisis together.
Mr Lee, together with political veterans including Teo Chee Hean, Tharman Shanmugaratnam and K Shanmugam, will work alongside the 4G PAP team.
He said, “I’m determined to hand over Singapore intact and in good working order to the next team.”
He added, “The challenges ahead call for not only a whole-of-government response, but a whole-of-nation response. Now that the election is over, we need to put our differences aside, close ranks, and work together on the task at hand which is to get us through the crisis safely.”