PM Lee: If good men can’t get elected... then we have a problem
PM Lee spends PAP's first rally talking about direction for S'pore
There was no mention of the Workers' Party or the town council saga.
No mouse in the House reference.
Instead, in its first rally, the People's Action Party (PAP) focused on its plans and candidates.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spelt it out:
Look at what the first prime minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, did for Tanjong Pagar and Singapore.
Look at what PAP has done the last 50 years for the people.
Look at what the party is planning to do for the future. And look at the quality of PAP candidates.
PM Lee was the last speaker yesterday at Delta Hockey Pitch in Tiong Bahru.
Said PM Lee: "In this General Election, we are talking about choosing a government, choosing a leadership team, choosing a direction for Singapore in order to make your lives better, in order to make your children's lives better, in order to make Singapore better.
"We need your support to do that. If you have good men but they can't get elected, or if they are elected but can't get support for the policies that they need to do, then we have a problem."
He said Singapore was changing direction, moving onwards and upwards.
He described Tanjong Pagar as a microcosm of what Singapore was, and will be.
"From a slum, from the place where people had no hope and no homes to live, (with) shared beds, shared clothes, sometimes even shared trousers, to today, where Tanjong Pagar is one of the most desirable places to live.
"That is quite a journey. I'm very happy that many of you have come along with us on this journey."
PM Lee said it was special for the party to hold its first rally in the Tanjong Pagar group representation constituency (GRC).
"It's where Mr Lee Kuan Yew first stood as a candidate in 1955 to be elected to into the legislative assembly. He won. He contested many times, often fiercely after that. And the residents, voters supported him time and time again.
"He was able to do this because he had the support of the people... who worked with him, who trusted him and his team..."
He spoke of the transformation of Tanjong Pagar in 2027, the ongoing expansion of Changi Airport, with Terminal 4 coming up soon, and how the Government was already planning for Terminal 5. Paya Lebar Air Base will also be shifted to Changi, freeing up land for a huge development project over the next 30 to 40 years, he said.
"But to do that, we must do it together. We ask for your support, and vote, for our ideas," he said.
The party wants to look after people's aspirations and needs, everything from housing to healthcare.
NOT AN AUCTION
In an earlier speech, Labour Chief Chan Chun Sing told voters to be wary of bold promises opposition candidates were making.
"Some of them promise you $300 per month (with) no questions asked. I say, please don't insult my residents. You think what, they are here to be bribed? No.
"Our residents are better than that. Our residents know who truly cares for them. If you offer $300, are you making this election an auction?"
The Reform Party had promised to give every Singaporean below 16 a $300 monthly child benefit, and to introduce a $3 billion a year pension scheme that will give $500 a month to seniors older than 65.
Mr Chan said it was not about grand speeches.
"To the young people here today, many people will promise you that they will use more reserves to do this and to do that.
"We are saving up because we want to take care of our young. With an ageing population we don't want our young with the need to take care of a large ageing population," he said.
Without long-term planning and savings, the younger generation could end up financially burdened in having to shoulder all the costs of caring and providing for the ageing population come 2030, he said.
Mr Sam Tan, PAP's candidate for Radin Mas single member constituency (SMC), acknowledged the work put in by the pioneer generation in making Singapore a success story.
He said the PAP will continue to take care of the pioneer generation and reminded voters not to take Singapore's success for granted.
'Special place' where late Mr Lee first stood
When Mr Lee Kuan Yew was in Tanjong Pagar, nobody dared to fight him.
Singapore's first prime minister defended it until the very end, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Referring to the opposition, he said: "But that didn't mean they had forgotten about (Tanjong Pagar), because they were waiting to see when one day Mr Lee wasn't there, they would have a chance."
The Sept 11 polls will be the first time that Tanjong Pagar GRC will be contested in 26 years, with the Singaporeans First party, led by Mr Tan Jee Say, contesting.
Mr Lee also shared that the party chose to kick-start the rallies in Tanjong Pagar because it "is a special place", where the late Mr Lee first stood as a candidate in 1955 and which he continued to fiercely defend for 60 years until he died in March.
Several speakers at the rally also spoke about the late founding father's contributions, not just to Tanjong Pagar but to the country as well.
PAP's Tanjong Pagar GRC candidate Melvin Yong, a former police officer, said that Singapore can only continue to withstand challenges and "remain special" because of the confidence the late Mr Lee gave the nation.