My fellow Singaporeans,
In SG50, we celebrated our journey from Third World to First. In a few days' time, we make a vital choice about our future.
Our pioneers started us off on this journey. Fifty years ago, Singaporeans rallied behind Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his team, and put their faith and their future in the hands of the PAP. Together, they achieved the impossible and built Singapore. That's why I made the Pioneer Generation Package, to honour the sacrifices of our founding generation.
For the past 50 years, the PAP has worked with you, for you and for Singapore. We have done this consistently for decades. We continued to do this in this term of government. We have made Singapore a nation of homeowners. Since the last election, HDB has launched more than 100,000 flats - four Clementi towns. We kept flat prices stable and increased our grants, making flats more affordable. With less than $1,000 a month, you can afford a two-room flat - 1,800 such families have done so.
We are transforming every corner of this land, from Changi to Marina Bay to Jurong. We have built beautiful new towns like Punggol 21, and rejuvenated old ones like Dawson. We will soon have 1,000 more buses on the road, and Downtown Line 2 will open by the end of the year. We still have work to do, but buses and trains are becoming less crowded and more convenient.
We kept healthcare affordable, accessible, and of high quality. MediShield Life provides every Singaporean with lifelong healthcare insurance. Chas helps our lower-income with medical bills. Ng Teng Fong Hospital has opened in Jurong, and the next new hospital is coming up in Sengkang.
We created more opportunities and pathways for our children. We expanded places in preschools, and in our polytechnics and universities. We moderated the inflow of foreign workers, and tightened rules on fair employment to ensure a level playing field for Singaporeans. We launched SkillsFuture so people can improve themselves and advance their careers all their lives. And we grew our economy to create new and fulfilling jobs for all.
You helped us to make these policies. In "Our Singapore Conversation", or OSC, 50,000 Singaporeans discussed our hopes and aspirations. Your views and inputs improved major policies like CPF, housing and healthcare.
In this way, together, we brought Singapore to SG50. The PAP kept our promises. You played your part by contributing energies and ideas, helping your fellow men, and doing your best for Singapore. So tonight, I am asking you for your mandate to take Singapore beyond SG50. SG50 is not a destination, but a new beginning. Let us make the next 50 years better than the past 50.
We can be confident of our future. Many opportunities lie ahead. We are located in fast-growing Asia. Our economy is strong. Our people are skilled and well-educated. But we must expect challenges too. We worry about ISIS and terrorism. Hundreds of Malaysians and Indonesians have gone to the Middle East to fight for ISIS. A few Singaporeans have also gone there. When they return, they will bring back the virus and the violence, and threaten Singapore's security.
We worry about our region. Singaporeans may enjoy shopping in Johor Baru with the ringgit three to one to the Sing dollar, but it is bad for us if our neighbours suffer political unrest and uncertainty.
Domestically, we are upgrading our economy and helping our SMEs to adapt. The recent drastic swings in stock markets in many countries show how fragile confidence is in the global economy. Economic troubles may lie ahead and a worldwide economic slowdown will surely affect us too.
To respond to our challenges and opportunities, we need a capable and strong government. When Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away in March, it drew us all together and made us feel strongly our Singaporean identity. We were reminded that we got here through outstanding leadership, working with one united people. We are Team Singapore: leaders who keep faith with the people and people who trust and work with their leaders, the lions and the lion-hearted.
We must stay united for Singapore to succeed. And that depends on all of us in Team Singapore.
Next week, when you vote, you are choosing the government of Singapore. Every seat will be contested, many fiercely. Whoever wins in your constituency will run your town council. Whichever party wins enough seats will form the government.
The PAP is fielding a team which I hope will include the next generation of leaders for Singapore. I ask for your support to put together the best possible team to serve you - a capable and multiracial team with different skills and backgrounds, and the commitment and the passion to lead Singapore. Then we can secure our future, beyond me and my present colleagues.
In this election, we will set the direction for Singapore beyond SG50. What sort of Singapore will we be? We aim to be a nation where the elderly lead dignified lives; where the middle-income have their burdens shared; where we care for the weak and the poor, and no one is left behind; and where the young have every encouragement and hope to do well.
Just on Sunday, I met Mr & Mrs Chian, who run a chicken stall at a market in Punggol South. They told me how proud they were of their son, who had graduated from NTU and was now studying music in a conservatory in Vienna.
When looking for PAP candidates, I found Amrin Amin. His parents took on multiple jobs to put the children through school. Amrin made it to law school, and became a promising young lawyer. Now he wants to give back and help others to succeed.
Our self-help groups have passionate volunteers, like Ravi Suppiah. His parents were uneducated, and he grew up in a kampung catching spiders and chasing chickens. But in Secondary 2, Ravi persuaded his parents to let him attend Sinda's tuition classes. Ravi did well in school, entered a polytechnic, and went on to graduate from NUS and earn a master's from NTU. Now he volunteers at Sinda, coaching polytechnic students in maths and computer programming.
These real-life, personal stories tell me that we are on the right path. Whatever our anxieties and challenges, we can overcome them together. We will create bright opportunities, equip our people to seize them and bring up our children with the confidence and the drive to succeed. That's the Singapore we want to build with you, for you and for future generations.
In this election, through the excitement and noise of the campaign, please remember what is at stake: our future.
I thank you for supporting me and my government. Please vote for me and my PAP team in the elections so that, together, we can do the best for ourselves and our children. The PAP will always work "With You, For You, For Singapore."
Lee Hsien Loong