Singapore GE2020: Lee Hsien Yang calls for end to PAP's 'super majority'

Progress Singapore Party member Lee Hsien Yang speaking in a video message posted on Facebook on June 29, 2020. PHOTO: LEE HSIEN YANG/FACEBOOK

Singaporeans must vote to end the ruling People's Action Party's super majority in Parliament, Progress Singapore Party member Lee Hsien Yang urged voters in a video message posted on Facebook yesterday.

Mr Lee, whose brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, is secretary-general of the PAP, criticised the Government on a range of issues as he called for more diversity in Parliament.

"Make your vote in this Covid-19 election count. Choose a Singapore where the daily struggle and sacrifice pays off for all, not just for the natural aristocracy," he said, appearing to reference the Workers' Party election campaign slogan Make Your Vote Count.

"Vote to end the super majority. Singapore wants different."

Mr Lee, 62, was unveiled as a PSP member last Wednesday. He has since been on party walkabouts, including in Tanjong Pagar GRC, but has kept mum on whether he will contest the July 10 election. He was not among the 24 candidates confirmed by the party to stand in the nine constituencies it intends to contest, in its first election since its founding in March last year.

In his video message, Mr Lee said the PAP's super majority has given the party too much power: "The PAP vision of meritocracy has become a fiction. Many Singaporeans feel they are running a rat race in a maze designed by the Government, which decides who to dispense rewards to. The chosen few are given a nice big slice of cake. For those who are not scholars or generals or privileged, there are only crumbs.

"In this maze, the PAP government of today can create dead ends, move walls, close off the exits. It can use Pofma (Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act) to silence, and defamation suits to ruin and bankrupt those who disagree. It can choose to retain a long outdated discriminatory law. It can prosecute a single person for an illegal public assembly. The PAP can change the Constitution and deny Singaporeans a chance to elect the president. It can do this because the PAP has an overwhelming majority of the seats in Parliament.

"It can crush HDB owners' dreams. It can sit on CPF savings. It can hike GST to raise revenue for a government that has undisclosed billions in secret reserves. It can expose us to the risk of Covid-19 by prioritising politics over our lives. It can dismiss the risk of infection in crowded dormitories for foreign workers. It can baldly tell us, in Singapore, no one will walk this journey alone."

The PAP's super majority in Parliament has also led to group think and a lack of rigour in discussion and debate on policies that shape the country, he added, as he asked voters to choose the opposition so that there is accountability. He also said the Government suffered from "eunuch's disease" - using a term he attributed to former senior civil servant Philip Yeo - with no leaders and only paper shufflers who "exist to keep the emperor happy".

In a related Facebook post, Mr Lee also accused PM Lee, with whom he has been embroiled in a dispute over their father's home, of not keeping his word when he became prime minister in 2004, to expand the space for expression and create an open and inclusive Singapore.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2020, with the headline Lee Hsien Yang calls for end to PAP's 'super majority'. Subscribe