GE2020: PAP unveils manifesto aimed at overcoming Covid-19 crisis, setting out long-term plans
SINGAPORE — People’s Action Party secretary-general Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (June 27) launched the party’s manifesto for the 2020 General Election (GE), with the central focus on overcoming the crisis of a generation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- PAP's manifesto focuses on three areas to overcome the Covid-19 crisis, including saving jobs and businesses
- There is also a commitment to build more and better housing for migrant workers
- If elected into government, PAP will implement a S$6 billion package to help most households pay for an increase in GST
- Tuas Megaport, Changi Terminal 5, the Greater Southern Waterfront and other such projects will be slowed down due to Covid-19
- PAP will fight to win the mandate of the people, knowing it will be a tough election
SINGAPORE — People’s Action Party (PAP) secretary-general Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (June 27) launched the party’s manifesto for the 2020 General Election (GE), with the central focus on overcoming the crisis of a generation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Titled Our Lives, Our Jobs, Our Future, the manifesto will differ from past manifestos that mainly sketch out “ambitious but credible” long-term ideas, Mr Lee said.
“But this time is different. This is not a normal election and we are not in a normal situation. We are in the middle of the most severe crisis the world has faced for many decades. The immediate business of running Singapore is anything but routine.
“Without a Herculean effort by us, we cannot be certain that what we have painstakingly built over decades will continue to stand, and not collapse in the storm,” Mr Lee, who is also the prime minister, said.
The manifesto for GE2020 will therefore focus on three areas needed to overcome Covid-19, he added.
- Keeping Singaporeans and her migrant workers safe, and preventing Covid-19 from overwhelming the healthcare system
- Restarting and transform the economy, saving jobs and businesses, and reskilling workers for new jobs
- Providing care and support to one another, in order to ride out the uncertainties and dangers
Specific plans were mentioned in the manifesto, including a commitment to build more housing for migrant workers that has “new operating models and improved standards”, and for students, a determination “not to lose the school year”.
Beyond Covid-19 and jobs, Mr Lee said that Singaporeans also want to know about what the longer-term future holds.
“Therefore this manifesto also sets out the PAP’s longer-term plans to build a better Singapore. Because our aim is not just to survive the storm, but also to maintain the long-term direction for the country, and keep on building and improving Singapore.”
To achieve these goals, the manifesto outlined plans on ensuring good public health and investing in healthcare, job creation and skills training, stabilising businesses, providing support to households and assistance for the needy and vulnerable, rejuvenating the city and heartlands as well as greening Singapore and living sustainably.
On the topic of the impending Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike, the manifesto reiterated the need to fund the expanded healthcare capacity in order to cope with an ageing population, hence GST has to go up from 7 to 9 per cent in the next term of government, but not before 2022.
If elected into government, PAP will implement a S$6 billion Assurance Package to help most households pay for the GST increase. It will also enhance the GST permanent voucher scheme, continue to absorb GST on publicly subsidised healthcare and education, and provide social assistance for those who need more help.
Long-term infrastructure plans — the Tuas Megaport, Changi Terminal 5, the Greater Southern Waterfront and other such projects — will be slowed down due to Covid-19, but the PAP will work with people to make them a reality “year by year”.
Addressing Singaporeans as well as party and labour movement activists, Mr Lee’s speech was broadcast live over YouTube and Facebook.
Mr Lee said: “This is the manifesto of a responsible party and government. Singaporeans can rely on the PAP government, both to address your immediate needs, and also to work with you to secure your long-term future.
“What the PAP promises, the PAP will deliver.”
PAP’s manifesto is available on the party's website. The print version in four languages will be distributed to households.
With the launch of the manifesto, Mr Lee said that the GE campaign will start on Nomination Day. He also announced that “about 20” PAP Members of Parliment will retire and noted that the 27 new candidates introduced by the party this week is its largest so far.
“We are going into battle, to win the mandate of the people in a crucial contest. Make no mistake — this will be a tough election," he added.
“These battles can only be won if the PAP has the full support of Singaporeans, and Singapore has the strongest and most committed leadership team to take our nation forward. Let us give it our all. Convince Singaporeans to give the PAP their strong support, and to work with us to secure our lives, our jobs, and our future.”