The manifesto : PAP

Vote for party you want to form govt: PM

Above: Party members applauding yesterday after PM Lee introduced all the new PAP candidates. Right: PM Lee introducing former defence force chief Ng Chee Meng as a new member of the PAP. Ms Tin Pei Ling, who gave birth just three weeks ago, said she
Party members applauding yesterday after PM Lee introduced all the new PAP candidates.ST PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA
Above: Party members applauding yesterday after PM Lee introduced all the new PAP candidates. Right: PM Lee introducing former defence force chief Ng Chee Meng as a new member of the PAP. Ms Tin Pei Ling, who gave birth just three weeks ago, said she
PM Lee introducing former defence force chief Ng Chee Meng as a new member of the PAP. ST PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA
Above: Party members applauding yesterday after PM Lee introduced all the new PAP candidates. Right: PM Lee introducing former defence force chief Ng Chee Meng as a new member of the PAP. Ms Tin Pei Ling, who gave birth just three weeks ago, said she
Ms Tin Pei Ling, who gave birth just three weeks ago, said she was concerned about the future of her son, Ng Kee Hau. It is the PAP, she said, that will make sure Singapore continues to do well for future generations like her son.ST PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA

Election not about 'sending a message' to ruling party, he says, but picking leaders

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has asked voters to back the People's Action Party (PAP) if they wanted it to form the government and not "live dangerously" by giving their vote to the opposition even while hoping that the PAP would be returned to power.

Launching the ruling party's campaign manifesto and slogan yesterday, he refuted the opposition line urging voters to cast dissenting votes to send a message to the Government to work harder.

Cautioning that the Sept 11 polls were not a by-election but a general election, in which every seat would be contested and the party forming the government was not guaranteed, he said in Mandarin: "If you support the PAP, vote PAP. If you support opposition, vote opposition.

"But if you think that by voting for the opposition, you can get the PAP to work harder - when you regret it, it might be too late."

Speaking in English later, he said: "Be very careful not to live dangerously (by) wanting one party but voting for a different one. Please take this GE very, very seriously."

'WON'T BE HERE TO RECEIVE MESSAGE'

Some people say, if you send an even stronger signal this time, the PAP will do even better. But if you send out another 9 percentage point drop signal, there won't be anyone here to receive it. I will be gone.

PM LEE HSIEN LOONG, in Mandarin, citing Mr Lim Swee Say on the vote share drop in East Coast GRC in 2011

Mr Lee also quoted Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say's response when asked last week about the thinking that a vote for the opposition would "send a message" to the PAP.

Mr Lim's East Coast GRC team saw a 9 percentage point drop in vote share in 2011 and garnered just 54.8 per cent of the vote to beat a Workers' Party team.

He said last week: "We do not need another drop of 5 percentage points for us to continue to improve. In fact, if there's another drop of 9 percentage points, we won't be their MP any more."

Mr Lee yesterday emphasised the possibility that "I won't be here to receive the message", if enough voters used their ballots that way.

He said opposition parties used such psychological tactics knowing that they would not win votes if they said they wanted to form the government, given their lack of credibility.

Mr Lee spoke plainly when he referred to lapses in governance and compliance found at the Workers' Party-run Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) and reminded voters that the opposition candidates they voted in would be responsible for running their town council.

"And when they run it like AHPETC, then I don't know where your S&CC money is going to go," he said, referring to the service and conservancy charges which residents pay to the town council. "Surpluses will turn into deficits. You will have problems for many years to come.

"The opposition asked to be given a chance to prove themselves. But the one place where they are given the responsibility and the chance to prove themselves, they have failed the voters.

"And do you really want to give them more responsibility, and trust them with more of your hard-earned money?

"If you vote for the opposition and they win many constituencies combined, enough to run the government, then I think Singapore is sunk."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 30, 2015, with the headline 'Vote for party you want to form govt: PM '. Print Edition | Subscribe