What must a political party do to help every Singaporean progress?

08/11/2023

From food to fashion, there is a reason why people are drawn to heritage brands, especially the ones that have been around for decades. Often, these brands are trusted for their values, philosophy and commitment to producing a high-quality product. While not a commercial enterprise, the PAP, in many aspects, resembles such a brand, providing Singapore with good governance for over 60 years.  

Now, will Singapore continue to stay well-governed for another 60 years? That is something Secretary-General (SG) Lee Hsien Loong wants to make sure of as he laid out plans for a leadership transition and reiterated the values of the PAP during the Party Awards and Convention on Sunday (Nov 5) 

“We are elected…not just to be popular or to seek power for the sake of power. We fight to form the government so that we can serve Singaporeans,” said SG Lee.  

And what does it mean to serve? According to SG Lee, it would require a government to solve problems, improve lives and watch over the nation to keep it safe and secure. However, if governing is that simple, there would be no pockets of discontent or failed states in our world.  

In the last fifty years, the history of post-colonial Singapore is one marked by exceptionalism, a textbook case study from third world to first. The journey has not been easy, requiring both foresight and determination to make difficult decisions even when they are politically costly.  

But beyond fiscal prudence and sound policies, competent governance must be followed by high standards of integrity and honesty, noted SG Lee. Now, and then, it is a non-negotiable for the PAP, without which there would be no trust and zero mandate.  

Today, opposition parties are fighting for influence in an increasingly crowded political space. To win support, some will pander to populist ideas. Others might play up identity politics, delivering a modern dose of divide and conquer. One must wonder – what lies beneath their motivation to enter politics? And assuming that the desire to serve Singapore is the goal, then why do some opposition parties continue to pursue policies that promote division and ambiguity?  

There will be long-term ramifications in who voters choose to place their trust and support. That is the hard truth, mainly because our vote is not just a reflection of our current needs. It is also an investment in the lives of our children and grandchildren in the future. Therefore, to build a better and brighter future for Singapore, any party, not just the PAP, must have the political will to make tough choices that may not necessarily be popular. More importantly, it must be able to refresh itself and address the changing aspirations of Singaporeans, which are becoming more diverse and complex.  

In an increasingly polarised and fractured world, the PAP is a safe pair of hands in steering Singapore through these turbulent times. It is also one that Singaporeans can count on to help them progress through all life stages. To live, work and play in a more caring and inclusive society. And that, is a future the PAP embodies. 

Photo Source: PAP/ Raj Nadarajan via TODAY