Singapore GE2020: PAP offers voters dogged loyalty, will build on relationship, says PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and fellow Ang Mo Kio GRC candidate Darryl David during the constituency's Facebook live rally on July 6, 2020.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and fellow Ang Mo Kio GRC candidate Darryl David during the constituency's Facebook live rally on July 6, 2020.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK

Ang Mo Kio GRC candidates reflect on area's 'kampung spirit' and share development plans

When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong participated in his first general election in 1984, there was no Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Connecting with voters was "very personal, face to face", PM Lee, who is the People's Action Party's (PAP) secretary-general, said during Ang Mo Kio GRC's Facebook Live rally yesterday.

The 68-year-old said that over more than three decades, he has grown grey with his Teck Ghee ward and its volunteers, and together they have built a community and home.

"It is a place where people have deep roots, they have been staying here a long time," said PM Lee.

Looking back at the first Fullerton rally he did in 1984, he said he had told young people then to have fun.

"But at the same time, do something for your community, and we hope this will be a society where you know your neighbours, you help your friends, help your community and you participate back. And I feel we have been able to achieve both of that in Teck Ghee and in Ang Mo Kio."

Incumbent MP Gan Thiam Poh, 56, added that this "kampung spirit" is also reflected during fes-tivals and durian parties held in the neighbourhood.

PM Lee was joined in the PAP studio by fellow Ang Mo Kio GRC candidate and e-rally host Darryl David, 49. Mr Gan and the other two candidates, new faces Ng Ling Ling, 48, and Nadia Samdin, 30, participated via video conference.

The e-rally, which drew over 7,000 viewers as of last night, saw the PAP team members sharing their plans and highlighting future developments in Ang Mo Kio GRC, which encompasses Teck Ghee, Sengkang South, Ang Mo Kio-Hougang, Cheng San-Seletar and Jalan Kayu districts.

Seven elections have been held since 1984, and PM Lee stressed that building trust and relationships with voters remains key to the ruling party.

What the PAP offers is dogged loyalty, said PM Lee, adding: "MM (the late Minister Mentor) Lee Kuan Yew used to say that this is dog loyalty and not cat loyalty.

"The difference is the dog loyalty is to the person, if the person goes somewhere else, the dog goes with him, the cat loyalty is not to the person. And MPs, our relationship with our voters is dog loyalty, and they must build it."

Members of the public also posted comments and questions during the hour-long chat, such as Mr Erwin Isaak, who asked how the team plans to keep building relationships like the PAP old guard. In response, Ms Ng said: "There is no short cut... a relationship is built step by step, trust is built over time. That is what I am intending to do."

When asked by Mr David what keeps him going, PM Lee replied: "You must have a purpose in life, you get up in the morning for what? There is something to be done, problem to be solved… you must feel that this is something which you really want to do, then you can put your heart and soul into it, and for a long time."

The e-rally ended with an acoustic rendition of local artist Kit Chan's Home sung by Fernvale residents Ferlyn Chen & Stitch.

After the song, viewers were treated to a candid moment where PM Lee took a wefie with his teammates and the singing duo, before commenting that the photo was "not bad".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2020, with the headline 'PAP offers voters dogged loyalty, will build on relationship: PM Lee'. Print Edition | Subscribe