Thursday, 17 September 2015

GE outcome 'boosted confidence in Singapore': PM Lee

PM Lee urges PAP MPs to make wise use of support won; Parliament to open in January
By Chong Zi Liang, The Straits Times, 16 Sep 2015

The election results have given the People's Action Party (PAP) "precious political capital" that it must make good use of, wisely, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

In a speech to newly elected PAP MPs, which he traditionally gives soon after a general election (GE), Mr Lee said the Government will have to take hard decisions from time to time.

When it does, he told MPs they must justify them to the people and win their support to maintain trust and confidence in the PAP.

His comments on what MPs need to do, how they should behave and the significance of the landslide victory were made in the Parliament building on Monday behind closed doors. An excerpt was posted on Mr Lee's Facebook page yesterday.

Parliament will open in January, Mr Lee said, urging the MPs to think about what they want to say in their maiden speeches.

"We may all wear white, but each of us brings a different experience and perspective. Each strengthens the party in a different way, with different groups in our society."

Mr Lee said it was healthy for the PAP that every seat was contested, as this strengthened the party's fighting spirit and fighting skills.

"We must not assume that the next election will be easy," he said. "We must keep on working to persuade new voters of our ideals and convictions, and keep on updating our party and programmes to stay in touch with voters."

He said the Government will name and swear in the new Cabinet in a fortnight's time. His emphasis is on pushing leadership renewal, with younger ministers given positions of heavier responsibility.

The results, he said, were "better than we had dared to hope; indeed better than anyone expected".

PAP MPs on the ground and government agencies "put in much hard work over the last four years, and longer", he said.

"But election outcomes are never fully predictable, and we must never take anything for granted."

The PAP won 83 out of 89 seats in the Sept 11 GE, and got 69.9 per cent of the popular vote - a 9.8 percentage point swing from GE2011's 60.1 per cent, its lowest since 1963.

The PAP also regained Punggol East SMC, which the Workers' Party (WP) won in a 2013 by-election. The WP retained Hougang SMC and Aljunied GRC with reduced margins.

"Politics always requires a stout heart, wherever the contest may be. But the stoutest-hearted were our candidates who stood in the opposition wards and did very well," Mr Lee said.

He thanked retiring MPs whose "patient efforts tending the soil in years gone by have yielded the fruit we harvested this GE".

GE2015, he said, was an "important success" not only for the PAP, but also for Singapore and Singaporeans. "Since GE2011, investors overseas have been asking if Singapore is still open for business. A weak result this time would have affected their confidence," he said.

"Instead, GE2015 has boosted confidence in Singapore. This will create more opportunities for our people, despite a challenging regional and international environment."

The strong result also ensures Singapore's leadership renewal is given "the best chance to succeed".

"We have more good people whom we can groom and expose early, to enable us to build the strongest team to serve Singapore."

Mr Lee reminded MPs to "work even harder for Singaporeans".

"In victory, we must be humble, and stay close to the people whom we serve. The PAP must never become arrogant," he added.

MPs should also lose no time going to the ground, engaging residents and building support, he said.

"Winning GE2021 starts now.

"Together, we will work with Singaporeans to put the country on a strong start towards SG100."









General Election 2015

Strong mandate must be used wisely
The Straits Times, 16 Sep 2015

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the secretary-general of the People's Action Party (PAP), gave a closed-door speech to newly-elected PAP MPs on Monday in the Parliament building. He spoke on the significance of the party's landslide victory in last Friday's General Election, and urged his team to make wise use of the support won. This is an excerpt of his speech.

The General Election results were better than we had dared to hope; indeed better than anyone expected. People's Action Party (PAP) MPs on the ground and government ministries and agencies put in much hard work over the last four years, and longer.

But election outcomes are never fully predictable, and we must never take anything for granted.

Politics always requires a stout heart, wherever the contest may be. But the stoutest-hearted were our candidates who stood in the opposition wards and did very well - Charles Chong in Punggol East, Lee Hong Chuang in Hougang, as well as the Aljunied team, guided by Lim Boon Heng.

Retiring MPs deserve our thanks. Their patient efforts tending the soil in years gone by have yielded the fruit we harvested this GE.

The team at party HQ deserves our thanks too. Good execution bridges the gap between vision and reality.

WHY GE2015 IS IMPORTANT FOR SINGAPORE AND SINGAPOREANS

GE2015 is an important success for the PAP, and - more importantly - for Singapore and Singaporeans. Since GE2011, investors overseas have been asking if Singapore is still open for business.

A weak result this time would have affected their confidence. Businesses and jobs could have been impacted.

Instead, GE2015 has boosted confidence in Singapore. This will create more opportunities for our people, despite a challenging regional and international environment.

The strong result also gives leadership renewal the best chance to succeed. We have reinforced and rejuvenated our team.

We have more good people whom we can groom and expose early, to enable us to build the strongest team to serve Singapore.

GE2015 has assured Singapore's future beyond SG50. Retired MP Hwang Soo-Jin wrote to congratulate me, saying: "Thanks for giving me peace of mind in my old age." Indeed, our New Way Forward includes both creating opportunities for the young, and looking after those who helped build today's Singapore.

HUMILITY IN VICTORY

With this good result, the PAP must work even harder for Singaporeans. In victory, we must be humble, and stay close to the people whom we serve.

The PAP must never become arrogant - whether in the personal behaviour and attitudes of MPs and activists, or in the policies and actions of the party and Government.

POLITICAL COURAGE

A good mandate gives us precious political capital, which we must make good use of, wisely.

Inevitably, from time to time, the Government will have to take hard decisions. All governments have to do that, but especially ours on a small island with limited resources, in an unpredictable and often unfriendly world.

When we do, we must justify them to the people and win their support, to maintain trust and confidence in the PAP. We must be prepared to fight for what we believe in, and take the fight to the opposition when necessary. It is healthy for the PAP that there were no walkovers in GE2015.

Every MP has had to fight and win, and has learnt how to win votes and not to take voters for granted. The party has strengthened its fighting spirit, and fighting skills.

In contesting, we should not be belligerent or shrill. But whether loud or quiet in temperament, each of us must have the courage to stand our ground, to discuss and argue different points of view, and to persuade others.

Voters want leaders who believe in their cause and will fight for it, and for them.

We must not assume that the next election will be easy. Each election is different. Each generation has different values and ideas. We must keep on working to persuade new voters of our ideals and convictions, and keep on updating our party and programmes to stay in touch with voters.

In a fortnight's time, we will announce and swear in the new Cabinet. My emphasis will be on pushing leadership renewal, and putting younger ministers into positions of heavier responsibility as quickly as we can.

Parliament will open in January. Think about what you want to say in your maiden speeches. We may all wear white, but each of us brings a different experience and perspective. Each strengthens the party in a different way, with different groups in our society.

Meanwhile, MPs should lose no time getting going on the ground, engaging residents and building support. MPs and the Government must work to deliver on what we have promised to do, build on our mandate and consolidate our position.

Winning GE2021 starts now.

Together, we will work with Singaporeans to put the country on a strong start towards SG100.

This excerpt was first published on the PAP website on Tuesday, and was also posted on Mr Lee's Facebook page.










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