Monday, 8 December 2014

Next GE to be a deadly serious fight: PM Lee

Lee Kuan Yew points way forward for PAP

THE People's Action Party (PAP) has stayed in power for more than 50 years because it has continually adapted itself to changes in Singapore's society and around the world, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew has said.
"We must keep the party dynamic, relevant and in sync with the times"
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Next GE will be a 'deadly serious fight': PM Lee
The next General Election will be a “deadly serious fight”, said the People’s Action Party’s secretary-general and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today (Dec 7) at the PAP60 Rally

It will be about who forms the government, not how many seats the opposition gets, and it will be about whether Singapore continues to have a First world Government, and not about a First World Parliament, said Mr Lee, taking a dig at the Opposition Workers’ Party’s theme on moving towards a First World Parliament at the last General Election in 2011.

Mr Lee said every seat in the next GE will be a national contest, not a local one.

There are now different and louder voices in society and social media, some who mean well and must be engaged, and some who try to mislead others, he said.

related: 12 members of Cabinet elected into PAP Central Executive Committee

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Too many checks 'will lead to checkmate'
Singapore's opposition parties do not see it as their duty to solve the nation's problems and plan for the future, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Instead, their main campaigning platform is to act as a "check" on the ruling party, he said at a People's Action Party (PAP) rally held after the party's biennial conference yesterday.

But for every "checker" in Parliament, there will be one fewer "doer, thinker and leader" in the government, said Mr Lee, who is the PAP's secretary-general.

"You will have a lot of checkers, you have no workers... There will be gridlock, like in other countries," he said.

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PM Lee ahead of next GE: Our country is at stake... if PAP fails, Singapore is in deep trouble. We shall not fail'
Singapore Prime Minister and People's Action Party chief Lee Hsien Loong has launched his fiercest salvo against the opposition ahead of the next General Elections due to be held by January 2017

“The next GE is critical for Singapore and for us. It is not just about expressing approval or disapproval. It is not just about winning a seat in Parliament. It is not a by-election,” he said, adding that the PAP intends to contest every seat and win back the WP-held Aljunied, Punggol East and Hougang constituencies.

“The next GE is about choosing a clear vision for Singapore, choosing a capable leadership for Singapore, choosing a brighter future for Singapore,” he said adding that the whole of Singapore is "at stake".

“Our future is at stake because if we do not remain a nation of opportunity, our children will have no future. Our society is at stake because if we do not uphold a fair and just society, our society will be pulled apart. Our country is at stake. If the PAP fails, Singapore is in deep trouble. We shall not fail.”

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Next GE to be a deadly serious fight: PM Lee

THE next general election, which must be held by January 2017, will be a deadly serious fight, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told members of his People's Action Party (PAP) on Sunday morning.

"It will be about who forms the government, not how many seats the opposition gets," Mr Lee, who is the ruling party's secretary-general, said at a party conference and rally.

He said the PAP has already identified many promising candidates, including a few potential office holders.

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Next GE will be a deadly serious fight between PAP and opposition: PM Lee
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking at the PAP60 Party Conference. (Photo: Kimberly Spykerman)

Singapore's next General Election will be a deadly serious fight between the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) and the opposition. 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the General Election will be about who forms the government, and not just how many seats the opposition gets.

Mr Lee, who is also the Secretary General of the PAP, was addressing about 2,000 cadres at the party's 60th anniversary rally on Sunday (Dec 7). He said the General Election will be about whether Singapore continues to have a first world government, and not about "a first world parliament".

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First time PAP has raised spectre of not forming govt: Analyst
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is also Secretary-General of the PAP, interacts with members on stage at the PAP60 Party Rally held at the Singapore Expo on Dec 7, 2014. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong

Commenting on the fact that a General Election (GE) here has been framed by the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) for the first time as a fight to form the next government, political analysts said it was probably an attempt by the party’s secretary-general Lee Hsien Loong to focus voters’ minds.

The argument that Singapore should have an opposition in Parliament — as a check and balance against the PAP — is a compelling one, said Dr Gillian Koh, senior research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies.

“I think it’s a way in which Mr Lee is trying to persuade people not to think of the contest as one of only checking the Government,” she said.

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PAP’s vision for Singapore: A Nation Of Opportunity

Highlighting the recent policies introduced by the PAP government to enhance the lives of all Singaporeans, from the young to the old, from the skilled to the unskilled, to the less well-off and the disabled, Secretary-General Lee promised that the PAP government will be there to support Singapore and Singaporeans, as it has for the past six decades.

Describing the PAP as an “inclusive party that looks after the interests of a broad range of Singaporeans” Secretary General Lee said: “We have to be fair to all groups, we balance each groups’ interests against the others and we do what is best for Singapore.”

Self-renewal and having a leadership that will ensure Singapore’s progress was also an important concern raised by the Secretary General. He said, “We have a duty to renew ourselves and to build a leadership for Singapore, and to provide a leadership to Singapore to take the country forward. Our responsibility is not just to lead the country well now, but to ensure that Singapore will be led competently well into the future.”

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Opportunities for all, upholding fair society part of PAP’s updated vision

In a nod to the shifts in challenges facing Singapore, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has — for only the second time in its history — updated its vision for the nation, an update that will focus on three thrusts: Ensuring opportunities for all Singaporeans, upholding a fair, just society and nurturing a democracy of deeds.

Explaining why the PAP’s objectives are being amended since the first revision 32 years ago — to remove independence from the colonialists as an objective as it had long been achieved — chairman Khaw Boon Wan said: “Our circumstances have changed and our policies have evolved to adapt to them. But as our society becomes more diverse, our economy more mature and our political landscape more contested, it is timely to fundamentally review our overall approach.”

Noting that new challenges have been thrown up by enormous changes in Singapore since then, Prime Minister and PAP secretary-general Lee Hsien Loong outlined the party’s updated raison d’etre at its 60th party conference yesterday. First, the PAP will do its best to support those with less and take everyone to a good starting point in life, so there are opportunities for all Singaporeans and not only for a privileged few, he said.

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PM Lee outlines PAP's vision for Singapore

Building a nation of opportunity, upholding a fair and just society, and nurturing a democracy of deeds - that is the PAP's vision for Singapore, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

He was speaking at the party's 60th Anniversary Rally held at the Singapore Expo on Sunday (Dec 7).


Mr Lee added that the party has adapted to the times, while staying true to its promise to improve the lives of Singaporeans. And, it would continue to renew itself to provide the leadership to take the country forward.

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PAP's mission for Singapore more relevant than ever

Singapore has climbed from the Third World to First. But the work is never finished. The world keeps changing, and so must we.

The PAP has stayed in power for more than half a century, because it has continually adapted itself to changes in our society and the world around us. We must keep the party dynamic, relevant and in sync with the times.

The torch has passed on to new generations of Singaporeans. Today we enjoy better lives and more opportunities, but the party's task is as vital and difficult. The party must maintain the support and trust of Singaporeans, provide the leadership to meet their aspirations, especially of the young, and work with them to create a better society and a stronger Singapore.

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12 Ministers elected into PAP's Central Executive Committee

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob and Dr Ng Eng Hen, who received the 13th and 14th highest number of votes, were co-opted into the 2014 CEC. Defence Minister Ng had been part of the former 12-member CEC elected in 2012 but his place in the main committee has been taken up by Minister Tan.

Noticeably absent is Environment and Water Resources Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, who was co-opted into the 2012 CEC committee but this time around, is not part of the new CEC nor its co-opted members.

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, S Iswaran are the other Cabinet appointees not part of the new CEC.

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PAP has big ideas with balanced approach: Members
Members of the People’s Action Party on Sunday (Dec 7) described it as a party of “big ideas”, but it has practiced a balanced approach in delivering policies

Speaking at the PAP60 Party Rally, Cynthia Mark, member of the party’s youth wing and Chong Pang branch, said PAP is pragmatic and focused on real actions.

“Then, as now, the PAP also faced populist pressures. But the party held on to its objective to represent and serve all Singaporeans - and not just some but all,” said Saktiandi Supaat, member of the Toa Payoh East Citizens’ Consultative Committee.

“The PAP government has time and again introduced policies with long-term considerations. It may be bitter medicine at the start, but it delivers results. This is always balanced against remaining attentive to the concerns for those affected and most importantly always finding touch-points where the people and the party can connect."

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PAP must seek to encompass all strata of society: Minister Khaw
The People's Action Party (PAP) must continue to be a national movement dedicated to representing and serving all Singaporeans, and must seek to encompass all strata of society, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan

Mr Khaw, who is the PAP chairman, was speaking at the PAP60 Party Conference at the Singapore Expo on Sunday (Dec 7). The conference was a closed-door session, but the speech was subsequently made available to the media.

"Whether worker or employer, whether Malay, Chinese, Indian or Eurasian, whether young or old, all must feel that our Party cares about them, and will look after their interests. We must be responsive to their immediate concerns," he said.

Mr Khaw added that the PAP must, at the same time, be responsible and ensure that its policies can be funded and sustained over the longer-term. Noting that the party's policies and programme for a fair and just society are not just for the next electoral term, but for generations ahead, Mr Khaw pointed out that the PAP must keep in constant touch with the ground, explain its policies, and mobilise grassroots support.

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PAP cadres elect party leaders

Cadres of the People's Action Party (PAP) on Sunday morning elected the central executive committee that will lead them for the next two years, as the party gears up for the next General Election.

The 12 nominees with the highest number of votes, picked from a shortlist of 19, will be part of the PAP's highest decision-making body for a two-year term.

The list remains largely the same, with the exception of Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, who is now part of the top 12.

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12 Cabinet members elected into PAP leadership

Cadres of the People's Action Party (PAP) has elected 12 members of the Cabinet into its highest decision-making body, the Central Executive Committee.

he 12 elected include Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is party secretary-general, chairman Khaw Boon Wan, vice-chairman Yaacob Ibrahim, first and second assistant secretary-generals Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam, treasurer Lim Swee Say, assistant treasurer K Shanmugam, The Straits Times reported.

Mr Chan Chun Sing, Ms Grace Fu, Mr Gan Kim Yong, Mr Heng Swee Keat and Mr Tan Chuan-Jin round up the list of 12.

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Ng Eng Hen voted out from first-12 member PAP CEC

About 2,000 People’s Action Party (PAP) cadres elected members of the party’s central executive committee (CEC) this morning (7 Dec). Cadres are trusted party stalwarts, whose only distinction from ordinary party members is being able to elect and be elected to the CEC.

The CEC is the highest decision-making body of the party ruling Singapore and by extension, controls the government. Members of PAP CEC are elected every 2 years.

The 12 members who were voted into the CEC from a shortlist of 19 are:
Lee Hsien Loong
Khaw Boon Wan
Teo Chee Hean
Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Yaacob Ibrahim
Lim Swee Say
K Shanmugam
Chan Chun Sing
Grace Fu
Gan Kim Yong
Heng Swee Keat
Tan Chuan-Jin

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Singapore aims to be a smart nation in 10 years: PM Lee
Singapore wants to be a smart nation in 10 years, making it one of the world's leading cities. PHOTO: SPH

This means Singapore will be "a nation whose people live meaningful and fulfilled lives, enabled seamlessly by technology, offering opportunities for all", Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this morning when he launched the Smart Nation Initiative.

A Smart Nation Programme Office will be set up in the Prime Minister's Office to bring Singaporeans, government and business together to realise the vision.

The government will also build the infrastructure, facilitate innovation and create the framework for all to contribute to making Singapore a smart nation.

related: Smart Nation will be next goal for Singapore

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'PAP WILL ALWAYS BE ON THE SIDE OF SINGAPORE AND OF SINGAPOREANS'

"Sixty years ago, 1,500 people gathered in this hall. There were union members - postmen, hospital attendants, public works employees, teachers, busmen, workers in trade and industry. There were white-collar office workers, there were students, and a wide spectrum of Singapore society - people of all races, speaking different languages - but come together for an important occasion.

On stage, Mr Lee Kuan Yew spoke at a table like this. And the Party's conveners sat behind him in a row, in a semi-circle. And amongst them were Dr Toh Chin Chye, Mr S Rajaratnam, Mr Devan Nair, and Mr Ismail Rahim, who was from the postmen's union. It was a multi-racial line-up, with substantial union representation and support.

And this was a signal that a new party was being formed in Singapore - different from any of the other parties which were then already in Singapore, the People's Action Party, a party for all, a national party.

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PAP: WE ARE THE ONLY POLITICAL PARTY TO HOLD SINGAPORE TOGETHER

The PAP has built a harmonious and cohesive nation, taking into account and balancing the diverse and sometimes conflicting beliefs, ideologies and interests of the people. It has accumulated strengths and experience to continue to chart a clear course forward and to forge consensus on the major issues facing Singapore.

The PAP is not just an ordinary political party with partisan views and advancing only vested interests. It is a unique and key institution - the only party able to hold our country together.

The PAP lives by its bedrock values of integrity and equal opportunity for all Singaporeans to maximise their potential and reap the rewards of their efforts. That is why we wear white on special party occasions. It is to remind ourselves and Singaporeans of our fundamental values.

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Court Ruling a Major Setback for Gay Rights
Repeal Retrograde Law Banning Consensual Sex Relations Between Adult Men

A Singapore Supreme Court ruling on October 29, 2014 to uphold the country’s ban on same-sex relations between consenting adult men is a major setback for equal rights in Singapore, Human Rights Watch said today. The court decision sends a message that gay men may lawfully be subject to discrimination.

The Supreme Court held that section 377A of Singapore’ penal code, which criminalizes sexual intimacy between men, does not violate articles 9 and 12 of the country’s constitution. These articles guarantee the right to life and personal liberty, and provide that all people are entitled to equal protection before the law.

“The Supreme Court’s decision is a terrible setback for homosexual people in Singapore who want to live their lives like everyone else, without government interference,” said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights program at Human Rights Watch. “The ruling tramples upon basic rights to privacy, equality, and non-discrimination.”

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New PAP resolution to come into effect from Dec 7
PAP supporters at the Nomination centre at Singapore Chinese Girls School during the 2011 General Election. TODAY file photo

The People’s Action Party (PAP) will be amending its party constitution to reflect a new resolution that was passed during the last Party Conference in December last year, said Party Chairman Khaw Boon Wan today (Nov 22).

Speaking at the PAP’s 60th anniversary dinner and awards ceremony this evening, Mr Khaw said that the new resolution “defines the party’s objectives in our new way forward”.

“The next step is to amend the Party Constitution to enshrine or hardwire the new PAP Resolution into our constitution and put it into force,” Mr Khaw said. “This we will do at the Party Conference next month (Dec 7).”

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SILVER SUPPORT SCHEME

The Prime Minister announced the Silver Support Scheme at the National Day Rally 2014. The scheme is intended to supplement the retirement savings of the needy elderly, to help them cope with their living expenses.  It is similar to how we supplement the wages of lower-wage workers with the Workfare Income Supplement.

The poor elderly would typically not have accumulated enough CPF during their working lives. Those who had not bought a flat, and who do not have enough family support, would be more vulnerable.

As this is a scheme for the long term, and must be sustainable, we are studying carefully the criteria to be used in determining which group of elderly Singaporeans should be eligible. We will share the details of the Silver Support Scheme at Budget 2015.

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Golden Year For The Elderlies

There are just about 400,000 of us in Singapore - those aged 65 and older. About 35,000 of us earn less than $1,000 a month.

Another piece of depressing news - 24 out of 100,000 elderly people committed suicide last year. In the United States, only 14 in 100,000 did so. Also, the rate of elderly suicide is twice the rate of those younger in Singapore.

Nearly 30 per cent of us in 2011 were living in a four-room Housing Board flat and about 24 per cent of us in a three-room HDB flat. Twenty per cent were in HDB apartments that were five-roomers or executive flats. Fifteen per cent of us were living in private property. Seven per cent live in one or two-bedroom flats. The remaining 3 per cent of us were in institutions.

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PM LEE 8 YRS AGO: PAP MAKES LIFE BETTER FOR ALL SINGAPOREANS

At the PAP rally on 8 Dec last Sunday, LHL was in a desperate and panicky state. He talks about the opposition “checking” on them. He mentioned the word ‘checkmate’, clearly indicating that he is clueless about the notion of modern democracy. So, how is he going to appease the citizens?

Well, if you read his speech carefully, you could really feel the desperation. Phrases like ‘If the PAP fails, Singapore is in deep trouble. We shall not fail’, ‘We don’t make empty promises’ and so on, certainly reflect his desperation.

Worse, for the first time, the PAP openly mentions about the possibility that it may not be able to form the govt (see TRE article – ‘First time PAP admits may not be able to form govt‘). Why? just to scare us to continue to vote for him and his party?

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Prepare yourselves, GE is nearer than you think?

OK, I’m no political pundit. Nor an academic in political science who should be better able to read the political tea leaves than your average auntie. I also don’t move in the circles of great thinkers and insiders in Singapore’s elite political circles.

But to parody the Wet Wet Wet song, I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes. GE’s all around me, and so the feeling grows; it’s written in the wind; it’s everywhere I go..

.. that the next General Election for Singapore, IMHO, is a lot nearer than all the august big brains — Eugene Tan, Bertha Henson, Kit Wei Ching, Song Seng Wun to name a few — in our midst have been predicting. So shall I bet my Pioneer Generation Card against your SICC card that the January 19 2015 sitting for this Parliament will be its last.

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GE may not be held when everyone’s expecting it: PM
Mr Lee says the PAP is working hard preparing for the next General Election and it will be called ‘as soon as we’re ready’. PHOTO: OOI BOON KEONG

Giving little away, Mr Lee said there are several considerations. “It depends on what is happening in the world, if a major crisis is coming up then we have to clear that,” he said.

“It also depends on other agenda which we are busy with ... for example, next year there is SG50. We will have to take all this into account and make soundings and choose the right moment. Not necessarily when everybody is expecting it.”

He said the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) is working hard preparing for the GE. “When we’re ready we will call, as soon as we’re ready.”

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Elections will be called when the timing is right: PM


PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday that he would consider a range of factors in deciding when to call the next General Election (GE).

These include local issues, the state of preparation of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP), and global developments.

"If a major crisis is coming up then we have to clear that... It also depends on other agenda (items) which we are busy with," he said.

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PAP activists in opposition wards gear up for election
Mr Victor Lye is leading PAP activists in the Bedok Reservoir-Punggol ward in the Workers' Party-controlled Aljunied GRC

The next General Election is due by Jan 2017 and set to be a "deadly serious fight" according to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. PAP activists in opposition wards are already working the ground

During the recent People's Action Party conference, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the next General Election, due by Jan 2017, will be a "deadly serious fight". While there has been no indication when the GE will be held, PAP activists in opposition wards are working to gear up for the elections.

52-year-old Victor Lye was chosen to lead PAP activists at Bedok Reservoir-Punggol ward in the Workers' Party-controlled Aljunied GRC. He is a familiar face, having worked the ground since 1999.

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10 years under LHL: Youths uncertain about their financial future


10 YEARS UNDER LEE HSIEN LOONG: HAVE THINGS GONE BAD?

The 10 years under the premiership of Lee Hsien Loong can be characterised as a lost decade for Singapore and a step backwards from First World to Third World. A decade of stagnant wages and exacerbated rises in prices have placed some of the measures of economic prosperity in Singapore on par with other Third World countries.

Indeed, under Mr Lee, real wages have remained stagnant for the majority of Singaporeans whereas for low income Singaporeans, this is even worse - they saw their real incomes decline.

Wages in Singapore have remained so depressed that Singaporeans today earn one of the lowest wages among the developed countries. Coupled with how Singaporeans also now work the longest hours in the world, this also means that when one looks at the wage earn per hour, Singaporeans could possibly earn the lowest wages among the developed countries.



PM LEE 8 YRS AGO: PAP MAKES LIFE BETTER FOR ALL SINGAPOREANS

This story is entirely based on my personal analysis. After the year 1984, LKY was helpless without his ‘work horses’ (‘LKY letters show he is clueless without others‘). Being proud and stubborn, he thought with the new cabinet ministers including his son would do a good job just like his old ‘work horses’.

Most of the problems seemed to be containable – mostly bread and butter issues.  Little did he know that these issues became blotted to near unmanageable sizes (cost of living, healthcare cost, housing cost, widening wage gap, low fertility and increasing global pressure on competition).

Many bad policies were introduced, but these were temporary measures to ease the problems.  He was too focused on fixing his ‘enemies’ that he neglected these problems. His young ministers were not experience enough to fix these problems.  They were only ‘papers’ qualified and more of ‘city slickers’ with not much of ground experiences.


GENES CAN BE INHERITED BUT NOT PERFORMANCE

The PM’s performance was the focus of the media interview at the end of SingFirst’s walkabout in his Ang Mo Kio GRC yesterday. It is common knowledge and widely felt among Singaporeans that the economy has become less robust and society is more divided, stressed and unhappy.

He has failed to repeat his father’s achievements as PM.

Lee Hsien Loong’s dismal record is unimaginable given that he has been “trained” as minister for 20 years before taking on the job as PM in 2004. Neither have the genes from his father been of much help. He might have inherited intelligent genes from his father but certainly not his performance. Unhappiness with their MP’s performance as PM was evident from our conversations with several groups of AMK residents in our walkabout. We met many residents who were severely affected by PAP’s policies that did not create a trickle down effect for the lower to middle class families, even in the PM’s GRC.

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related:
Fourth generation of political leadership
Singapore PM unveils new cabinet
GE2015: Taking victory in Humility
Next GE to be a deadly serious fight: PM Lee
PM Lee in Focus
Next GE to be a deadly serious fight: PM Lee
PM Lee in Focus
Snap General Elections in 2015?
Fourth generation political leadership taking shape
Order of Succession And Baton Passing
PM Lee In The Limelight