Former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong gave an interview to the Straits Times last Monday (27 Jul) at the Istana, where he retains an office. The interview was published on Sunday Times yesterday (2 Aug).
Even though he is no longer an MP, he will retain his Emeritus Senior Minister title and make himself available for the furthering of ties with India and Myanmar, with which he is said to maintain special links. He has also been appointed Senior Adviser to the People’s Association (PA).
During the interview, Goh revealed that the GE2020 results came as a surprise. The Workers’ Party (WP) won an unprecedented two GRCs and one SMC and the PAP’s vote share dropped to 61.2 per cent.
“To be very frank, I was expecting a better performance for the ruling party because of the Covid situation. I do believe that people generally will take flight to safety,” he said.
“I don’t think the party was addressing the aspiration side of what the young wanted, because they started to message on Covid-19 challenges and so on. But the young felt it’s your job, you can handle it; but what about my aspirations?”
He also felt that the young craved for a broader representation of voices.
“We’re at an inflexion point in terms of political mood and expectation,” he added. What has surprised him is the speed at which Singapore has reached this point.
“I was expecting this change, but not now. I was anticipating it maybe in 2025, when the 4G takes over and there’s a change in leadership. If not, the one after that.”
On 4G leadership headed by Heng Swee Kiat and Chan Chun Sing, Goh said, “I think the 4G has not yet shown themselves politically. They are intelligent, very competent, hard-working and good in running ministries. To be fair to them, they have not quite yet shown that political acumen, political leadership.”
Heng nearly lost at East Coast GRC in the recent general election, garnering only 53.4 per cent. He only obtained a majority of 7,769 votes out of 115,912.