Singapore GE2020: PM Lee to speak at Fullerton rally online today

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking at his first election in 1984, at the People's Action Party's lunchtime rally at Fullerton Square. Founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew started these rallies in 1959 as a way to reach out directly to the Englis
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking at his first election in 1984, at the People's Action Party's lunchtime rally at Fullerton Square. Founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew started these rallies in 1959 as a way to reach out directly to the English-educated office crowd. Due to restrictions on physical rallies, this year's rally has been moved online.PHOTO: LEE HSIEN LOONG/FACEBOOK

The lunchtime rally in the Fullerton Square area has been a feature of every general election, and while there are no physical rallies in GE2020 due to Covid-19, the People's Action Party (PAP) will hold a Fullerton rally online at noon today.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post last night that he "will speak about the stakes in this election, and how the PAP can meet the challenges ahead".

PM Lee, who first spoke at a Fullerton rally when he entered politics in 1984, noted that 36 years on, Singapore faces a new, entirely different set of challenges.

"This election is arguably our most critical one since independence," he wrote. "The next government needs the people's strong support, to make difficult decisions, to lead Singapore safely through this crisis and beyond."

Founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew started the tradition of holding such lunchtime rallies in 1959, the year Singapore gained internal self-governance, as a way to reach out directly to the English-educated office crowd. The original site was at Fullerton Square.

During the 1991 General Election, Fullerton Square was not designated as a rally site as the area had been landscaped with a small park and circular road.

Since 1996, the rally has been held at the UOB Plaza promenade in Boat Quay, a short walk from its original location.

In 2001, the rallies were cancelled because of security concerns after the Sept 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

The Fullerton area has been the venue of election highlights over the decades and in recent years.

 
 
 
 

In the 2015 General Election, it was at a lunchtime rally that PM Lee echoed the late Mr Lee's words: "This is not a game of cards! This is your life and mine!"

The words were first uttered in 1980 by Mr Lee, who told the crowd at Fullerton Square that whoever governs Singapore must have iron in him or give it up. He had said: "This is not a game of cards! This is your life and mine! I have spent a whole lifetime building this and as long as I am in charge, nobody is going to knock it down."

PM Lee's first Fullerton rally as prime minister was in 2006, having assumed the role in 2004 from Mr Goh Chok Tong.

In his hour-long speech, PM Lee tackled the view among some Singaporeans who believed more opposition in Parliament would result in the PAP government doing a better job. He also called on Singaporeans to work together to realise their vision of an inclusive society with opportunities for all.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2020, with the headline 'PM Lee to speak at Fullerton rally online today'. Print Edition | Subscribe