GE2020 SINGAPORE VOTES: PARTY POLITICAL BROADCASTS

Singapore GE2020: Strong mandate from Singaporeans needed to put plans into action

Seven political parties delivered their second and final party broadcasts on TV and radio last night. The time allotted was based on the number of candidates fielded, as in previous elections. These are the messages delivered in English.

PHOTO: ST FILE

People’s Action Party

PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG

Secretary-General

My fellow Singaporeans, good evening.

This is an election unlike any other we have experienced in our history. Covid-19 continues to spread rapidly around the world. Our economy has been badly hit, though the full impact of the outbreak is still ahead of us.

We need a strong and capable government. Not only to take decisive action to prevent another major outbreak, but also to save jobs and businesses, which is at the top of everyone's minds.

The People's Action Party has concrete ideas and practical plans to do these things. But to put them into action, we need a strong mandate from Singaporeans.

Jobs are our top priority.

We are doing everything we can to save your jobs. The Jobs Support Scheme is helping businesses hold on to Singaporean workers. We are also assisting companies, especially SMEs, to keep afloat and manage cash flow with loans and rental waivers. So far, these and other measures have helped keep workers employed, and staved off retrenchments.

But it will take time to turn our economy around. The global recession will drag on in the coming months, and we must brace ourselves for more job losses to come.

We may not be able to save every job, but we will help every worker.

 
 
 
 

Those who have been affected are already receiving support from the Government. If your income has fallen significantly, there is the Covid-19 Support Grant.

If you are self-employed or work in the gig economy, the Self-Employed Income Relief Scheme, or Sirs, is available. For now, these and other schemes will tide our workers over, and help you meet your daily needs as you get back on your feet.

For workers who have lost your jobs, we will also do our best to help you find new ones. We are setting up satellite career centres in every town, to organise job fairs and provide career-matching services. The first eight of these career centres are already up and running. We are heavily funding training to help workers pick up new skills, which will help them move to other sectors. If you are willing to put in the effort, a PAP government will support you all the way. Be of good heart.

We will also create new opportunities. Our aim is to create 100,000 new jobs and training positions in the coming year, three times our usual number. These will include 15,000 jobs in the public sector. They also include traineeships, some targeted at workers in their 40s and 50s. Others are for fresh graduates who are entering the difficult job market.

It is not easy to create new jobs in a deep recession, but we are determined to succeed.

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is leading the National Jobs Council. The council will bring together job-related efforts across our unions, business associations and Government, to multiply their impact. NTUC (National Trades Union Congress) is working through Company Training Committees in many firms, to identify the skills that workers need, company by company, so that our efforts are tailored and effective.

Our tripartite partnership has been the secret of our economic success since the early days of independence, and it will once again be key to our recovery.

To create new and better jobs for our people, we must continue to attract new investments. This year, despite the pandemic and global recession, EDB (Economic Development Board) has already secured $13 billion in new investments, exceeding its usual annual volume. These investments will create several thousand jobs in the next few years, taking us one important step closer to recovery.

EDB could do this because investors have confidence in Singapore. They value Singaporean workers because we are skilled, hard-working, multilingual and disciplined. They know that our Government is of high quality - an honest, competent civil service led by first-rate ministers. And they admire our social compact, with the Government and Singaporeans working hand in hand, united as Team Singapore.

Potential investors, and others too, are watching our election closely. They will want to know if Singapore still has what it takes to sustain our edge, especially in a crisis. In this crisis election, we must show the world that Singaporeans understand what our survival depends on.

Even as we tackle the immediate challenges, we must look to our future. One day, the pandemic and the recession will be over. When that day comes, we must be ready to resume our journey onward and upward.

Hence, we will press on with restructuring and upgrading our economy, and reskilling and upskilling our workforce. This will help our people adapt to the uncertainties ahead, seize new opportunities and improve their lives.

Beyond economic prosperity, Singaporeans have broader ambitions for our nation. We aspire to be a harmonious society, with full opportunities for all, where the human spirit can flourish. A more inclusive society where we support those who need help, and every Singaporean feels he has a stake in the future. We want to be a community where Singaporeans believe that their children will have better lives than they did.

The PAP has plans to improve our education system to bring out the best in every child; make healthcare more accessible and affordable, especially for the elderly; build new HDB towns and parks, new MRT lines and a new downtown on the waterfront; and to prepare for climate change, an existential threat to our little island.

In time to come, all these should be part of a better Singapore that we pass on to the next generation.

But to get there, we first have to make it through the immediate crisis. We do not know how the next few years will unfold. But we give ourselves the best chance of success if we rally together, choose a competent, experienced and committed team to lead the country, and then give it our full support.

We need leaders who care for Singaporeans, with experience and ideas to keep Singapore going, come what may. We also need Singaporeans who care for our country, and will work together with their leaders to secure it in the crisis, and beyond.

The PAP and Singapore are no strangers to adversity. The PAP fought together with the Pioneer Generation through independence and separation. We worked with the Merdeka Generation to take Singapore from Third World to First. Now, we are facing the crisis of a generation. Whether we rise to this challenge will determine Singapore's future.

The PAP will do our best, but we cannot do it alone. In a critical election like this one, every vote counts. We need the support of every Singaporean, not just to return the PAP to government, but also to give it a strong mandate, to empower it to act decisively on your behalf and steer the country towards better days ahead.

As you go to the polls tomorrow, I ask you once again to put your trust in the PAP.

Vote PAP, to secure Our Lives, Our Jobs, Our Future.

Thank you and good night.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2020, with the headline 'Strong mandate from Singaporeans needed to put plans into action'. Subscribe