Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

GE2020 outcome good for PAP, opposition; Singapore politics has ‘changed permanently’, says Tharman

SINGAPORE — The General Election results were good for both the People's Action Party (PAP) and the opposition, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Sunday (July 19) as he expressed his hope to see Singapore politics evolve.

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam said trust in PAP to run government and do what is best for Singaporeans is intact.

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam said trust in PAP to run government and do what is best for Singaporeans is intact.

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

  • Mr Tharman said trust in PAP to run government and do what is best for Singaporeans is intact
  • Stronger vote for WP than others reflect a discerning public, a "political culture that bodes well for Singapore"
  • Singapore must avoid the "polarised politics" seen in many other democracies
  • It must be a democracy that keeps working to "promote multiracialism in society"
  • It must be a more tolerant democracy, with "greater space for divergent views"

 

SINGAPORE — The General Election results were good for both the People's Action Party (PAP) and the opposition, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Sunday (July 19) as he expressed his hope to see Singapore politics evolve.

Penning his thoughts on GE2020 on Facebook, Mr Tharman said the outcome was "good for Singapore", acknowledging that the country's politics has also "changed permanently".

"The results were good for the PAP, for two reasons," he said.

"First, it secured a solid mandate. Trust in the PAP to run government and do what is best for Singaporeans is intact.

"Second, the swing in votes (though from an unrepeatable high in 2015) is leading the party to review its own game so as to win the hearts, and not just the minds, of a changing electorate."

The PAP secured 61.2 per cent of the popular vote in GE2020, down from 69.9 per cent in GE2015.

It also lost Sengkang Group Representation Constituency (GRC) to its main rival, the Workers' Party (WP).

The results were also good for opposition politics — and not merely because they won more votes collectively, Mr Tharman said.

"The stronger vote for the WP than others, with its more reasonable brand and eschewing of campaigning around a single figure, reflected a discerning public and a political culture that bodes well for Singapore," he added.

The opposition also fielded more candidates who were credible in the public’s eyes, Mr Tharman said, while the PAP, too, had a "strong cast, with several candidates bringing fresh perspectives".

DESIRE FOR 'NEW BALANCE IN POLITICS'

But he noted that people hold the PAP and opposition to different standards, which reflects a desire among Singaporeans for a "new balance in politics".

"We have to make this new balance work well for Singapore. That will happen if we have vigorous and informed debate in Parliament between the PAP and the opposition on the policies that each advocates, with both sides treating the other with equanimity," Mr Tharman said.

"Our aim, in both the government of the day and the opposition, must be to serve Singaporeans’ interests through policies that can stand the test of time — rather than gain popularity today by telling people what they would like to hear, or promising benefits without revealing the costs and making clear who will bear them."

The Government has to do more to achieve social justice but in way that enables it to last, he said. It needs to strengthen social mobility; raise the pay of its lowest income workers without risking unemployment; ensure middle-aged Singaporeans continue to have good careers; give greater peace of mind to retirees and be able to sustain the benefits for them over time.

But Mr Tharman pointed out that there are challenges that Singapore, like all democracies, face. And the country must address these challenges in a way that reflects the changing aspirations of its citizens.

He hopes that Singapore evolves in three ways:

  • It must be a democracy with a "strong centre", even as politics gets more contested — avoiding the polarised politics that many other democracies have drifted into.

  • It must be a democracy that keeps working to promote multiracialism in society. "That’s already our strength, and it’s what evades most societies, but we must strive to build on it in the coming years. It must include efforts to breed closer interactions as kids grow up, and to reduce the soft or implicit disadvantages that minorities still face in many workplaces," Mr Tharman said.

  • It must be a more tolerant democracy, with greater space for divergent views and a more active civil society, without the public discourse becoming divisive or unsettling the majority.

"It will be good for Singapore if we evolve in these three ways," Mr Tharman said.

"They will each help ensure stability in our democracy in the years to come. And they will tap the energies and ideas of a younger generation of Singaporeans and their desire to be involved in public affairs."

Related topics

GE2020 SGVotes2020 Singapore General Election Tharman Shanmugaratnam PAP Workers' Party

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.