Pick your '89 drivers' carefully, says Lim Swee Say

SINGAPORE - With only 89 seats in the next Parliament, "every extra passenger means one less driver, one less person working for you", said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say at the People's Action Party's (PAP) Fengshan SMC rally last night (Sept 4).

With an uncertain future ahead, Singapore needs strong leadership to do well, he told supporters gathered at a field in Bedok North.

Other than showcasing these broader points, the Fengshan rally - much like the one at East Coast GRC - lingered on local issues. Three of the four PAP candidates for East Coast GRC - which Fengshan was recently carved out from, as a single seat - took the stage again last night. And though Fengshan and its larger neighbour are touted as hot seats, the atmosphere at the rally was calm.


This change in boundary can never separate us as one big family, one extended family.


Mr Lim, anchor minister in the PAP's East Coast GRC slate, touched on the importance of leadership for Singapore's future. If someone claims that the next 50 years will definitely be good, "he doesn't know what he's talking about", said Mr Lim. But neither does someone who says there is no hope, he added.

The truth is that no one can tell what will happen to Singapore: "The future has not happened yet."

Mr Lim said that as Manpower Minister, he loses sleep over Singa-pore's peaking workforce, population and elderly. To overcome these challenges, Singapore needs "strong leadership and a strong, united people", and the choices lie in voters' hands, he said. "You the Singaporeans will have to decide - who do you want to have as your 89 elected representatives in Parliament. Every seat counts."

On the topic of seats, Mr Lim also spoke about Fengshan's close connection with East Coast GRC, saying: "This change in boundary can never separate us as one big family, one extended family."


Fellow East Coast GRC candidate Lee Yi Shyan devoted his speech to the ties between Fengshan and his Kampong Chai Chee ward, citing examples of cooperation.

"We want to maintain strong ties with Fengshan," he said in Mandarin. The Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development also pointed out that Fengshan will remain under the East Coast Town Council if PAP candidate Cheryl Chan is elected.

"The East Coast Town Council finances are healthy and prudent," he added - but he drew no outright comparisons with other parties.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2015, with the headline 'Pick your '89 drivers' carefully, says Swee Say'. Print Edition | Subscribe