The People’s Action Party’s will continue to serve our people, lead the nation, and strengthen the public’s trust for a common vision for Singapore. Secretary-General and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reaffirmed the party’s commitment to journeying with Singaporeans – doing right by Singaporeans and seeing Singapore safely through the crisis.
Speaking to more than 2,000 activists through a hybrid event format from Suntec Convention Centre to across Singapore, Mr Lee said that every crisis is a test of trust. Our measures against COVID-19 have worked because PAP government has the public’s trust to keep Singaporeans safe and keep Singapore in working order. This is built over years of working closely with Singaporeans, delivering on promises, and consistently producing results for the people – housing, healthcare, education, well paying jobs and better futures. “We have shown year in, year out, in good times and bad, in crisis after crisis, that the PAP will always be with you, for you, for Singapore.”
Mr Lee stressed that the Party must continue nurturing Singaporeans’ trust. That means dealing with the problems competently, be open and transparent, communicating clearly, and leading by example. The Party will also continue to strengthen our party machinery, be a “vigorous, effective party that Singaporeans can trust to lead Singapore forward”, he added.
Calling on party members to continue serving our people to the best of their ability, he said that as Singapore continues to progress, the Party’s task does not end.
“We must keep on upholding our values, rallying the people behind us, so that Singapore can emerge stronger as one, into a brighter post-COVID-19 future.”
In his opening address, PAP Chairman Gan Kim Yong reminded activists that the Party must keep to its promise, keep listening, and keep delivering better lives for Singaporeans if it wants their continued support. He also paid tribute to the activists who have served with unwavering conviction and encouraged Singaporeans to take action with the Party towards building a home that is inclusive, sustainable and full of opportunities.
This theme of shared activism was echoed by the other speakers at the Convention.
MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC Nadia Ahmad Samdin spoke on the need to understand and embrace alternative views, as we all aim to preserve the common space we share as fellow members of our Singapore society. This is especially when youth from different walks of life in Singapore are stepping forward and wanting to co-create Singapore’s future. Branch Secretary of PAP Bukit Timah Gho Sze Kee supported the need to include diverse voices in all ranks of the Party. The strength of this diversity in the Party’s membership is a firm grasp of the issues facing Singaporeans, and presenting new perspectives and solutions to better journey alongside the people.
As we adapt to be in step with Singaporeans, Branch Secretary of PAP Sengkang Central Branch Ling Weihong emphasised the importance of being guided by our Party’s mission and values, especially as he serves in an opposition-held ward. This had enabled his team to remain resilient amid any challenges, steadfast to do right by the people we have promised to take care of.
We can bring about greater change for good if we all work as one. In his speech, General Secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees (AUPE) Sanjeev Kumar Tiwari spoke about the need for the Party and Labour Movement to reinforce the foundations of their symbiotic relationship. To strengthen the connection between the PAP and the unions, he advocated greater involvement in each other’s outreach efforts at all levels.
This year’s Party Awards & Convention also recognised 672 activists for their dedication and service to Singapore. Former political office holder and Member of Parliament Associate Professor Koo Tsai Kee received the Meritorious Service Medal from SG Lee and Party Chair Mr Gan for his dedicated service and outstanding contributions to the Party for more than three decades (refer to Annex A on A/P Koo’s award citation).
At the convention, SG Lee also launched Petir.sg, the digital platform of the Party’s newsletter Petir officially. The platform will produce content that reflects the Party’s values and its purpose so that readers can know more about the Party and its stance. Besides galvanising activists and supporters, Petir.sg aims to engage Singaporeans and bring about constructive discussions (refer to Annex B on Petir.sg).
Refer to Party Chairman Gan Kim Yong’s speech.
Refer to Secretary General Lee Hsien Loong’s speech.
Refer to 1st Assistant Secretary General Heng Swee Keat’s speech.
Refer to 2nd Assistant Secretary General Chan Chun Sing’s speech.
Meritorious Service Medal recipient (功绩奖章)
Koo Tsai Kee, 66 (顾蔡矶)
Having served the Party with distinction for more than three decades, Associate Professor Koo Tsai Kee was first elected as a Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC in 1991, serving alongside former Party Secretary General and founding Prime Minister the late Lee Kuan Yew. Over four terms, A/Prof Koo served residents in his Tiong Bahru ward and assisted Mr Lee in the Tanjong Pagar ward. He played an integral role in building up these branches and rejuvenating the towns.
During his term, Koo served in various ministries, including Finance, National Development, Defence, and Environment and Water Resources. He was last appointed Minister of State for Defence in 2006.
Since retirement as Member of Parliament in 2011, A/Prof Koo has continued to serve in the PAP Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru Branch and the Tanjong Pagar Town Council. He continues to maintain a close relationship with grassroot leaders and residents and actively support the Party during General Elections.
Question and Answer with A/P Koo
- What are your thoughts about receiving the medal?
It is a great honour to receive this award. However, I wish to share this award with my comrades from the Tanjong Pagar and Tiong Bahru PAP branches. They were my soul mates and collaborators. My deep gratitude to Mr Lee Kuan Yew for trusting me to help him in Tanjong Pagar. He was my mentor and hero. It was a privilege to work with Mr Lee and his loyal and capable team in Tanjong Pagar.
- Can you share your most memorable experience serving the Party? Any episode, or person whom you have helped that you found particularly rewarding?
There are many memorable experiences. My best memories are the deep friendships which I have forged with the residents in the community. I had an Indian grassroots leader who was a very quiet and reliable worker. Whenever we needed help, he was there. Sadly, he died about 10 years ago. I attended his wake. On his first-year death anniversary, his daughters held a special commemorative religious ceremony in his flat. One of the daughters made a special appeal for me to be present in his flat for the religious occasion. I was no longer the MP. She said I was her father’s special friend when he was alive, and he would be happy if I was there for him. I was deeply touched.
Not all relationships began as friends. I remember a shopkeeper in Tanjong Pagar who was outright hostile and disliked the PAP and me. I had to spend time to win his trust through words, deeds, and coffee. It took some time. Today, he is not only a strong supporter of the PAP but also a good friend.
- What did you learn from former founding Prime Minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew, having served alongside with him in the same GRC?
When Mr Lee asked me to help him in Tanjong Pagar, he told me that good policies alone cannot win the next election. Good policies bring changes which often require painful adjustments in the short term. Good policies are designed to win future elections. People do not like pain. My job, he told me, is to win their trust so that even if they do not agree with us, they will not vote against us. At the municipal level, he said it is essential that I must make sure their needs are served expeditiously, and their problems attended to diligently.
- What’s your advice to younger comrades having served in the Party for more than 30 years?
The job of the MP today is far more difficult than mine. I did not face the onslaught of social media. Many new MPs have done well. Still, there will always be moments of frustrations and despair. My advice to them is do not let these problems overwhelm you. I had mine too. I planned to quit as an MP after my first term. The pressure of work, family and MPship was giving me enormous stress. In the first few months of my MP tour, my car was smeared with eggs. I was also planning to start a family. Most of all, I was enormously stressed working for Mr Lee who had very high expectations. He told me from the outset that if he found my political work wanting, he would not hesitate to sack me and call a by-election in Tanjong Pagar GRC. I shared my tribulations with a friend who conveyed it to Mr Lee. That same afternoon, Mr Lee Kuan Yew summoned me to his office and counselled me on staying the course. He was very encouraging, and I persevered. In time, I reaped many moments of jubilation. Today, whenever I go to Tanjong Pagar and Tiong Bahru, I feel a great sense of achievement and happiness because I have touched the lives of some residents. They do not know it, but they have changed my life too.
Petir （《行动报》）, the political newsletter of the People’s Action Party, has been an important means to update our activists, supporters and fellow Singaporeans on significant developments and news within the PAP which may not be picked up by mainstream media.
The new Petir.sg – a socio-political website of the PAP, will embody the values and the ethos found in the first print copy of Petir published in April 1956. It will communicate and explain the political and policy positions of the party to Singaporeans and seeks to be informative, insightful, and engaging.
It is the story of the PAP, as told from within.
Interview with Ong Ye Kung, Chairman of the Publicity and Publications Committee, People’s Action Party on Petir.sg
- Why did the Party decide to create an online platform for its newsletter Petir?
It will be an extension of our communications outreach and engagement efforts. So many of us have now moved into the digital space and are active on social media. It makes sense for Petir to go online to better serve our party activists, supporters, and Singaporeans.
- Will Petir.sg be replacing the physical newsletter?
We will continue to periodically produce printed copies of Petir to be distributed during our physical engagements and walkabouts, and for those who still prefer to read the physical copy.
- What is Petir.sg?
Petir.sg is the socio-political website of the PAP, and the digital alter-ego of the Petir newsletter.
- Who are Petir.sg’s target audience?
Petir.sg will reach out to activists, supporters, and Singaporeans, including and especially younger digital natives.
- How does Petir.sg intend to reach out to its target audience? What can we look forward to?
As a digital product, Petir.sg can be found on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Petir.sg will capture and express the same values, mission, and ethos of the PAP.
Readers can find insightful commentaries, key speeches and human-interest stories of our activists.
- When did the Party start Petir.sg?
Petir.sg will be launched on 28th Nov 2021.
Profiles of the speakers
Nadia Ahmad Samdin （娜蒂雅）
Gho Sze Kee (吴诗琪)
Ling Weihong （凌炜鸿）
Sanjeev Kumar Tiwari