The candidates: PAP

ESM Goh seeks clear mandate for Govt's plans

The People's Action Party candidates for Marine Parade GRC are (from left) Dr Fatimah Lateef, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, ESM Goh Chok Tong, Mr Seah Kian Peng and Mr Edwin Tong. Mr Tan, the anchor minister, says the PAP government has to stay focused and do wh
The People's Action Party candidates for Marine Parade GRC are (from left) Dr Fatimah Lateef, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, ESM Goh Chok Tong, Mr Seah Kian Peng and Mr Edwin Tong. Mr Tan, the anchor minister, says the PAP government has to stay focused and do what is right for its people. "We believe in actions and not just words," he adds.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

It took Singapore more than luck to have a good government in the last 50 years, he says

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has asked voters to give the ruling party a strong mandate to endorse what the current Government has been trying to do.

The 74-year-old, who is fighting his 10th election in Marine Parade GRC, noted that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's government had listened to the people since the last election and accelerated many plans and programmes.

So if Singaporeans are happy with what has been done, they should give the ruling party "a strong mandate to continue with what they are trying to do", said Mr Goh, who handed over the baton to PM Lee in 2004. Otherwise, the electorate will be "repudiating" what the Government has been doing.

The elder statesman is part of the five-member slate in Marine Parade, which was unveiled by anchor minister Tan Chuan-Jin yesterday.

Also in the line-up are incumbent MPs Seah Kian Peng and Fatimah Lateef. Mr Edwin Tong, who was part of Moulmein-Kallang GRC that no longer exists on the electoral map, rounds off the team.

Despite serving for nearly 40 years, ESM Goh told reporters that he is not retiring yet to ensure that there will be smooth leadership transition to fourth-generation leaders like Mr Tan, who is the Social and Family Development Minister.

Noting that governments can be categorised into the good, the bad and the ugly, ESM Goh said it took more than luck for Singapore to have a good government in the last 50 years. "I think it's actually man-made by a group of people who believe in Singapore," said ESM Goh, adding it is important for voters to give a good government a clear mandate.

"We have a good government, don't ever cause disruption to what we have been trying to do, which is national leadership transition and the continuity of good government."

When asked what a clear mandate is, he said that the party never fixes a percentage and "you will see it... hear it when the time comes".

In the last general election in 2011, the People's Action Party (PAP) won 81 of the 87 seats with a total vote share of 60.1 per cent.

This time around, the PAP is likely to be challenged by as many as nine opposition parties in all 89 seats, with the Workers' Party targeting 28 seats, including Marine Parade GRC.

But ESM Goh said that while the opposition would just be "throwing all kinds of distractions", the Government should stick to its own narrative.

"It's not just the track record which (the Government) can show the people, but they have a very good storyline moving forward to excite the new generation, to get them to build Singapore for the next 50 years. So just stay on track on the story."

Likewise, Mr Tan said the PAP government has to stay focused and do what is right for its people.

"So we do not just come alive during the GE. We do not keep quiet on significant and major issues (in Parliament) but only to come and make fiery, inspirational speeches during the hustings.

"It is about consistency, it is about reliability. Our work never stops. So we believe in actions and not just words. Rain or shine, election or no election, I think our track record speaks for itself."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2015, with the headline 'ESM Goh seeks clear mandate for Govt's plans'. Print Edition | Subscribe