The tone of the PAP’s biennial party conference speeches raises the alarm of an impending GE


37th People’s Action Party Central Executive Committee (Photo: pap.org.sg)

SINGAPORE — The People’s Action Party (PAP) elected its 37th Central Executive Committee (CEC) at the PAP’s biennial conference on Sunday (6 November).

More than 3,000 party members showed up for the event held at the Resort World Convention Center in Sentosa.

PAP General Secretary Lee Hsien Loong in his address to the party said that PAP – as the ruling party, has kept faith with Singaporeans and delivered on its promises in the 2020 general election manifesto.

These include growing Singapore’s economy, creating jobs, improving low-wage workers and strengthening support for vulnerable groups.

Highlighting the possibility that the PAP could have won the last general election in 2020 by a narrow margin, Mr Lee warned that a Singapore led by a government clinging to power by the nails would have to be pushed from stalwart to office by others country.

Mr Lee, who is also Prime Minister of Singapore, said there is a growing psychology among many Singaporeans who want the PAP to continue to rule Singapore because they are doing a good job and no one else is. can do better.

Mr Lee also claims that these Singaporeans don’t really believe any of the opposition teams can do better or even do it at all, but they want to see more opposition MPs elected to keep the PAP government on. his guards and so they vote for the opposition. expecting a sufficient number of other voters to vote for the PAP and return it to power.

He warns, however, that Singaporeans cannot have it both ways.

“Whether voters give the new government a strong or weak mandate makes a very big difference. With a strong mandate, when the government must act with force and determination, whether at home or abroad. Everyone will know that he is acting with the support of the people and everyone will know that Singapore is united, tackling problems as one person moving forward together in stable times.

“It allows the government to implement measures which may require sacrifice but which will improve people’s lives in the longer term and during turbulent times the government will have the confidence and support to make the difficult calls and lead. Singapore safely through the ups and downs. ”

Mr Lee also criticized the no-position stance taken by opposition parties on “pointy” issues such as the repeal of 377a.

“Now where is the opposition on Section 377a? Are they critical of the government’s approach? Do they support or oppose what the government is doing? Do they offer alternative proposals? asks Mr. Lee.

“None of these responses. The opposition is missing. They have said nothing so far and have refused to comment. They even refuse to say if they have a party position or if they are raising the whip on MPs when parliament votes on the amendments, which it will do at the end of this month, because why? official leave).

Mr Lee had earlier announced the repeal of Section 377a of the Penal Code – a law that criminalizes sex between consenting adult males, during his speech at the National Day rally this year.

The Penal Code amendment to repeal S377a will be put to a vote by Singapore parliamentarians later this month.

Mr. Lawrence Wong also addressed PAP members for the first time after being appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore and successor to Mr. Lee, who has served as Prime Minister for 18 years.

Mr. Wong reiterated what Mr. Lee had said about the people’s desire for checks and balances and noted that he does not assume that the PAP will win the next GE, or that it will inevitably become the next prime minister.

He goes on to warn party members that the political struggle ahead will undoubtedly intensify and become more difficult over time.

“We need to prepare and strengthen ourselves for more difficult and uncertain elections,” Wong said.

Party chairman Gan Kim Yong, who did not run for office this year, thanked party members for their efforts throughout the year and said he had fully convinced that his comrades in the new CEC will continue to serve Singaporeans well and will have their full support.

“So let’s trust each other and hold fast to our shared vision as we move forward and prepare for the next general election,” Gan said.

The 12 members of the CEC who are elected at the party congress are:

  1. Chan Chun Sing,
  2. Desmond Lee,
  3. Grace Fu,
  4. Heng Swee Keat,
  5. Indranee Rajah,
  6. K Shanmugam,
  7. Lawrence Wang,
  8. Lee Hsien Loong,
  9. Masagos Zulkifli,
  10. Ong Ye Kung,
  11. Tan Chuan Jin,
  12. Vivian Balakrishnan

Mr. Edwin Tong and Mrs. Josephine Teo were co-opted into the CEC.

Besides party members, representatives of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) led by its General Secretary, Mr. Ng Chee Meng, also attended the conference.

Mr. Ng, a former PAP minister, had already been co-opted as a member of the CEC in 2020.

At the conference, NTUC FairPrice pledged to donate $1.2 million in vouchers to distribute to needy Singaporeans to help meet their daily needs.

An early election on the near horizon?

Although Singapore’s next general election does not need to be held until 2025, rumors among opposition politicians and activists these days suggest that the PAP may consider a snap election early in the year. next year – supposedly to avoid finding itself smack in the middle of the impending recession that Singapore will have in the next couple of years.

Rumors are further fueled by recent government actions such as higher salaries for civil servants, generous GST vouchers, repeal of 377a and even the ability to grant legal ownership of cats in apartments HDB.

Civil servants such as teachers in public schools shared a few months ago that they had undergone electoral training and some even received confirmation of their official duties as electoral agents. Although some have suggested the nominations are for the presidential election due to take place by September next year.

The tone of the speeches of MM. Lee and Wong on Sunday somehow lends weight to such rumors.

Mr Lee’s speech last year was more about asking party members to keep up the good work. But this year he has focused on criticizing opposition parties and reminding the Singaporean public that the party needs a strong mandate to govern Singapore with confidence.

Mr. Wong’s first speech as Mr. Lee’s successor at the party conference also goes along the same lines by asking PAP members to prepare for a tough fight in the next GE.

Quite a strange subject to broach, given that it’s only been two years since the last GE and three more years until the next one takes place.

TODAY reported in a post-GE2020 thought piece on how PAP activists described a confusing and mad rush to put their plans into action.

The COT also understands that many PAP members were caught off guard during the last GE when elections were called amid the COVID pandemic.

Even as contractors prepared for polling centers after the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) report was released in March 2020, no rank-and-file members were informed of the impending election that s was held in July of the same year.

Perhaps learning from its mistakes during the last GE, the PAP is giving its members a warning to prepare for the inevitable in the coming year.

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