Singaporeans made their voices heard when they cast their vote in the 13th General Election (GE) which took place last Friday (10 July).
A total of 2,535,565 votes were cast, including rejected votes. This made up 95.63 per cent of the 2,651,435 registered electors, the largest number since 1997.
61.2 per cent of vote share is “respectable”, but not up to expectations
The People’s Action Party (PAP), Singapore’s ruling party since independence in 1965, expectedly won again with 61.2 per cent of the popular vote share. The party will take up 83 seats in the 14th Parliament comprising 93 seats.
Speaking at a press conference after the announcement of the results, PAP’s secretary-general Lee Hsien Loong said that the overall result “reflects broad-based support for the PAP” and that the vote share was “respectable”.
He added that the win mostly showed that “Singaporeans understand what’s at stake and why we must come together to uphold our national interests”.
“We have a clear mandate. The results reflect the pain and uncertainty that Singaporeans feel in this crisis, the loss of income, the anxiety about jobs, the disruption caused by the circuit breaker and the safe distancing restrictions,” Mr Lee remarked.
However, he asserted that “the percentage of the popular vote is not as high as (he) had hoped for”.
“Singaporeans want the PAP to form the government, but they, and especially the younger voters, also want to see more opposition presence in Parliament,” Mr Lee noted, adding that the results also showed a “clear desire” for a diversity of voices in Parliament.
Voice of the new generations
When asked by the media why the younger voters may have voted for the alternative parties, Mr Lee said that different generations have different life experiences, with the younger ones having significant difference in life aspirations and priorities compared to the older generations.
He expressed hope that the new generations of Singaporeans would “look critically, but with an open mind” at what the previous generations have accomplished, “examine what’s relevant and what continues to make sense to them in a new environment”, and “learn from these experiences hard won by their parents and grandparents”.
This is to prevent the younger voters from having to “learn them all over again and pay a high price which has already been paid”.
“That’ll have to be reflected in our political process and in the Government’s policies, because in the end, the Government’s policies must be to achieve the aspirations of every generation of Singaporeans,” Mr Lee noted.
Deliverance on manifesto
“My team and I will serve all Singaporeans, whichever party you voted for. Whether or not you voted for the PAP, we’ll listen to you, do our best to address your concerns and try to win your support,” he affirmed.
Moving forward with the Government post-election, Mr Lee pledged to enforce this mandate “responsibly” to deal with the COVID-19 situation and economic downturn, so as to take Singapore “safely through the crisis and beyond”.
“My government will work with all of you to overcome the present health and economic crisis and emerge stronger,” he remarked. “With this election now behind us, let’s work as one Singapore to secure our lives, our jobs and our future.”
When asked how he would serve the business community following the election results, Mr Lee stated that the PAP Government would “continue to fight to persuade them” that Singapore is worthy of their confidence and investment.
“We’ll demonstrate that this is so by the way we take Singapore forward from here,” he said.
Mr Lee’s group representation constituency, Ang Mo Kio, won 71.91 per cent of votes over the Reform Party, who garnered 28.09 per cent. This was a drop from 78.64 per cent in the previous General Election for the PAP team in that constituency.