I've just spent the last hour watching the passionate speech by our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Fullerton Rally on the 8 Sep 2015. He delivered a powerful message that resonated deeply with me, as our PM explained the PAP's election message of "With you, for you, for Singapore".
This was a message of hope for the future of Singapore, for the upcoming 50 years beyond SG50 and a reminder that this future is ours as voters to build when we exercise our right to vote on polling day.
Our PM didn't choose fear tactics; instead he delivered a message of hope for our future and faith in the warmth of Singaporeans. He reminded us how united we are as Singaporeans when we rallied together in an outpouring of warmth in our collective mourning of LKY and how this same togetherness will take us through into SG100.
However, the thing that really struck me was this, that our PM needed our help. He needs us to endorse the team that he is building for the future of Singapore. And this team that he has been building is based on the firm principle that politics needs to be clean. I believe we can trust him and the PAP as they have proven themselves to be good stewards for the last 50 years.
To me that is their strength, as good things do not happen over night. The fact that the PAP had 50 years to govern, to learn and grow and to institutionalize the values of their founding fathers like LKY into the party. PM said that was the secret for Singapore's success and I agree, they have done a good job and the results speak for itself.
If you have been following the hustings during this GE, one of the things you would have noticed is the opposition's call for more seats in the government to check on the PAP and to make the government work harder.
This is a flawed argument, as having more seats would lead to a weak government and more selfish politics. The political parties would push for popular shortsighted programs to win votes. If that happens, we would be no different from other countries and lose our edge.
We should treasure what we have and be open to what the PM said and not vote in an opposition that proposes popular policies that sound good, but may be too good to work. I'm proud that the PAP didn't bow to pressure to ensure its political survival by implementing these policies and i chuckled when the PM alluded to this by asking, "If its so simple, why do you think the PAP is not doing all this? We are so stupid? We are quite slow lah, but not so slow as all that."
I liked the analogy of a good steward and trustee that our PM used in his speech. He said that the PAP are not the bosses of Singapore, "we are not the commanders or owners of Singapore. We are the trustees and stewards of Singapore - we are like the jaga (Malay word for guard)."
It reminded me of what LKY said, "Good Ministers are not just those who kiss babies and smile.... It means at the end taking very tough very unpleasant very unpopular decisions and still smiling and still explaining and finally pointing out see we are turning the corner. Figures prove it. Thats what government is about." Watch what he said:
And the PAP has delivered, the numbers show it. Minister Grace Fu highlighted some of these in her rally speech and I quote her:
"Other countries have high taxes, not Singapore!"
"Other countries have oil gold and timber, not Singapore!"
"Other countries have unemployment, youth unemployment, 50% not Singapore!"
"Other countries have strikes and protests that last for weeks, not Singapore!"
"Other countries have parliments that are in gridlock unable to pass laws, unable to function, not Singapore!"
"Other countries have low growth, even no growth, not Singapore!"
"Other countries have governments that borrow heavily, not Singapore!"
"Other countries have currency that’s depreciating, not Singapore!"
However, they had to make some unpopular and tough decisions which ironically may be costing them the votes.
So as we head to the polls this Friday let us respond to our PM's rallying call to action, to trust and believe in our PM, in the team that he is building and to a hope for a bright future together, to the continued prosperity and security of our country.