PAP rallies: At lunchtime and at night

Ruling party will be weakened if it loses many seats: Ong Ye Kung

Mr Ong Ye Kung at PAP Rally at the Promenade area beside UOB Plaza.
Mr Ong Ye Kung at PAP Rally at the Promenade area beside UOB Plaza.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

No matter how dominant the People's Action Party (PAP) appears, the ruling party will be undermined and weakened if it loses many seats, said Sembawang GRC candidate Ong Ye Kung.

"Worse, it can be compelled to become populist," said Mr Ong at the PAP's lunchtime rally yesterday.

Taking aim at the opposition's argument that there should be 20 or 30 opposition MPs in Parliament, the second-time candidate said: "So instead of talking about the SG100 vision, we may end up spending a lot of effort in politicking."

Mr Ong said asking voters to elect more opposition MPs to pressure the Government to work even harder is like a boss bypassing the hardworking guy, promoting the other guy who does less but talks a lot more. "It cannot be. I feel that our politics should not work this way," said Mr Ong.

"Singapore's politics must be about the ability to balance continuity as well as change," he added.

Mr Ong compared today's political divide with the one that caused the Barisan Sosialis to split from the PAP in 1961. Principles divided both sides then, said Mr Ong, adding that they disagreed on big things like the merger with Malaysia and socialism.

Mr Ong also spoke of his late father Ong Lian Teng, saying that the former Barisan Sosialis MP would understand that his son joined the PAP "because it is the only system that works for Singapore".

Today, the PAP system is still working and is still relevant, said Mr Ong, even after its founder Lee Kuan Yew stepped down 25 years ago and died in March this year. That is because the PAP system has been built up over decades "through knowledge, through skills, through experience in running the country".

But it is also evolving, said Mr Ong, adding that the PAP has been listening "more and more" to people over the years and adopting their views.

"More and more inclusive social policies have been implemented to counter the global trend of income disparity. After 2011, and after we lost in Aljunied, upgrading continued in Aljunied," he said.

"It does take courage to say that the current system is not working. Let's tear it down, build another one. Let's go for a revolution.

"But I think in today's Singapore, it takes even greater courage to say the system is still working. It needs to evolve, and so work with it and (let it)... undergo a process of evolution, not revolution."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2015, with the headline 'Ruling party will be weakened if it loses many seats: Ong Ye Kung'. Print Edition | Subscribe