SINGAPORE - Singaporeans should not undermine a system that has served them well, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday (July 6)
Especially at this critical moment, when Singapore needs a capable government that has the full support of the people to take it through the Covid-19 crisis, he added.
He urged voters to look at how political consensus has frayed in countries that change governments regularly, warning them against being taken in by opposition parties offering an alternative choice to the People's Action Party.
"After a government falls, what follows isn't a new, more stable equilibrium, but more frequent changes of governments and divisive politicking. People appear to have a choice, but often the more things change, the more they remain the same. These countries have not done better than Singapore," said PM Lee, who is also secretary-general of the PAP.
"So I ask Singaporeans: Don't be taken in by those who say that it is important just to have more choices. Look carefully at the choices they offer you, ask yourself if they can deliver, don't be taken for a ride. Your future is at stake."
He was speaking at a virtual "Fullerton rally" at noon on Monday, five days before Singapore goes to the polls on Friday.
The PAP traditionally holds a rally in the Central Business District, near Fullerton Square, just after the half-way point of the general election campaign, but this is being done online this year because of Covid-19.
PM Lee pointed out that the PAP has delivered what it promises, since it became the government after the 1959 election. "The PAP won that crucial first election, because we represented the national consensus and our people's collective hopes for their future."
This has not changed after more than six decades, he added.
"The PAP still reaches out broadly to the population. Our policies have improved people's lives beyond measure, we have maintained trust with the people, and we have renewed our leadership, to keep the party vigorous and in sync with your aspirations," he said.
He added that the party believes in "political renewal, not political recycling", and has set out its plans in its election manifesto.
But it needed the support of Singaporeans to turn its plans into reality, he said.
Calling for Singaporeans to vote for the PAP, PM Lee said he has worked hard to field the "strongest possible PAP team" for the coming general election, Singapore's 13th since Independence.
It is an "experienced team" that includes capable ministers, and seasoned and energetic MPs that will take care of every constituency and speak up in Parliament.
"It is also a team refreshed and reinforced with a younger generation of promising leaders from all walks of life. They will bring new ideas and perspectives on tackling the challenges ahead," he said.
The PAP is fielding 27 new candidates across 93 seats this general election, its highest rate of renewal in any election.
"I hope younger and first-time voters will identify with them, and see them as candidates who will represent their views and advance their interests," he said, adding that his duty as PM was also to prepare new generations of leaders who can take over.
But he also said that this capable team the PAP is fielding would first have to be elected in order to serve Singaporeans.
He urged Singaporeans not to "confuse signals" by voting for the opposition, if "what you really want is a PAP MP to look after your constituency and town council, and a PAP government to look after Singapore".
"Your MPs and ministers have done their best. You have seen our track record; if you think we have delivered, and made your life better, please vote for us. If you think we have not, then by all means vote us out," he said.