GE2015: George Yeo says PAP team in Aljunied GRC did 'very good job' in winning back voters

Mr George Yeo at a forum at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel in this June 3, 2015 file photo.
Mr George Yeo at a forum at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel in this June 3, 2015 file photo.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Former foreign minister George Yeo, who led a People's Action Party (PAP) team that lost Aljunied GRC at the 2011 General Election, on Friday (Sept 18) praised the PAP team which almost won it back at the recent polls.

The PAP team, led by veteran MP Yeo Guat Kwang and comprising four new faces, came close to unseating the Workers' Party incumbents, scoring 49.04 per cent of the vote and losing by a mere 2,626 votes.

Mr Yeo said on Friday: "It was very close, and I thought the team did a very good job in winning back a large part of the crowd."

But he sidestepped the question when asked if it would be healthy for Singapore's political landscape had the PAP emerged victorious there, and the next Parliament would have only one elected opposition MP.

All Mr Yeo would say was: "When the pendulum swings too far to one extreme, then it tends to swing back to another extreme. It's better not to have wide amplitudes."

Mr Yeo was speaking to reporters on Friday morning after he witnessed the launch of a mural wall in Bedok Reservoir Park, where four graffitied panels of the historic Berlin Wall were exhibited from 2010 to 2013.

On one side of the new mural is a permanent graffiti art installation by German artists Niklas Bo Beckert and Dennis Kaun - who were responsible for the artwork on the Berlin Wall panels that were exhibited under an agreement brokered by Mr Yeo.

And on the other is graffiti art done by students of the Temasek Polytechnic School of Design. This will be refreshed once a year.

Mr Yeo on Friday also spoke about the PAP's landslide victory in GE2015, which saw a swing of 9.72 percentage points to 69.86 per cent from 60.14 per cent in 2011.

He admitted his surprise with the result, and attributed it to Singaporeans - having reflected on Cooling-off Day - becoming worried that the polls may yield "a very different Singapore".

 

"So everyone took two steps back and reflected, well, yes there are problems. But it is a wonderful country and we all like coming back here when we travel. This is home," he said. "Collectively, everyone came to that conclusion and contributed to this outcome."

He also stressed that Singapore is susceptible to external pressures, adding that "opportunites are boundless" if the country positions itself well.

He declined comment, however, when asked how the PAP should build on this resounding mandate over the next five years.

He said: "I'm still a PAP member, but I'm an inactive member."