Singapore PM's ruling party unveils manifesto for General election
Singapore: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday launched his ruling People’s Action Party’s manifesto for the July 10 general election, promising a slew of initiatives to focus on saving jobs, restarting the economy dented by the coronavirus pandemic and migrant workers welfare.
Lee, 68, on Tuesday announced snap general elections to allow a fresh five-year mandate to a new government to take important decisions to revive the city-state’s economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
He advised President Halimah Yacob to dissolve the 105-seat Parliament and order a fresh election, 10-months ahead of schedule.
Titled Our Lives, Our Jobs, Our Future , Lee launched the manifesto pointing out that the election will take place “in the middle of the most severe crisis the world has faced for many decades”.
Lee, who is the secretary-general of the PAP that has ruled Singapore since independence, said taking care of Singapore’s economy was an urgent requirement.
“Right now, keeping Singapore going, flying straight and level safely through the turbulent weather is the most challenging and urgent priority for the Government,” the Channel News Asia quoted Lee as saying.
Lee highlighted issues on the top of voters’ minds: keeping Singaporeans and migrant workers safe from COVID-19 and keeping the disease from overwhelming the healthcare system, and providing care and support to Singaporeans amid the uncertainty and dangers.
The manifesto underlined the need to support each other to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Singapore has more than 300,000 foreign workers living in dormitories which were the main clusters spreading coronavirus disease in recent months.
About 120,000 migrant workers have either recovered from or tested negative for COVID-19 so far.
Singapore has reported 42,955 coronavirus cases and 26 deaths. Over 36,299 patients with the infection have recovered.
The government has acknowledged the importance of migrant workers, mostly South Asians and Indians, as builders of Singapore.
Singaporeans will go to the polls on July 10, while political parties have started preparing for fielding their candidates who would be nominated on June 30.
Lee said the central focus of the manifesto is how the PAP wants to work together to overcome this “crisis of a generation”.
He said: This includes how it will keep Singaporeans and migrant workers safe and prevent COVID-19 from overwhelming Singapore’s healthcare system .
How it will restart and transform the economy, save jobs and businesses, and reskill workers for new jobs. How it will provide care and support to one another, so that people can keep themselves safe amid the uncertainties and dangers, he said.
Lee said these issues are at the top of people’s minds, adding that Singaporeans understood this was not business or politics as usual, and that they want to know how the Government would solve their problems.
Beyond COVID-19 and jobs, Lee said the manifesto also sets out the PAP’s longer-term plans to build a “better Singapore”, adding that its aim was not just to survive the storm.
“But, also to maintain the long-term direction for the country, and keep on building and improving Singapore,” he stated.
The PAP is fielding 27 new candidates, consisting of entrepreneurs, businessmen and women, lawyers, social workers, public servants and military officers.
Representing more than a quarter of its total slate, this was the highest number of new candidates the PAP has fielded in any election, Lee said, with double the number of new women candidates compared to the General Election in 2015.
Lee also revealed that about 20 Members of Parliament were retiring this year, including Deputy Speaker Charles Chong, who has served seven terms in total.