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GE2020: PSP’s Lee Hsien Yang not running for elections

SINGAPORE — Progress Singapore Party (PSP) member Lee Hsien Yang did not file papers to be fielded as a candidate in the General Election (GE) on Nomination Day on Tuesday (June 30), putting to rest speculation that had been brewing since Parliament was dissolved last week.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang (right) with other PSP members at a coffee shop on Tuesday (June 30, 2020)

Mr Lee Hsien Yang (right) with other PSP members at a coffee shop on Tuesday (June 30, 2020)

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SINGAPORE — Progress Singapore Party (PSP) member Lee Hsien Yang did not file papers to be fielded as a candidate in the General Election (GE) on Nomination Day on Tuesday (June 30), putting to rest speculation that had been brewing since Parliament was dissolved last week.

The speculation got even more heated on Tuesday morning when Mr Lee, the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, turned up outside a nomination centre on Tuesday.

He was at Bendemeer Primary School, the nomination centre for Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency (GRC), where he fist-bumped PSP’s candidates for Tanjong Pagar GRC before leaving.

Tanjong Pagar GRC was where his late father, Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, served as a Member of Parliament for 60 years. 

Before he arrived at the nomination centre, he had gathered with PSP’s Tanjong Pagar team at a coffee shop nearby. Asked if he was running, he would only say: “Wait and see.” 

The Tanjong Pagar GRC line-up, which PSP announced last Friday, comprises the party's organising secretary Michael Chua, 55; workplace safety senior trainer Abas Kasmani, 67; IT professional Harish Pillay, 60; Singapore Airlines pilot Terence Soon, 29; and lawyer Wendy Low, 43.

After nominations were filed on Tuesday, Mr Lee posted a note on Facebook, saying that he chose not to stand for political office because he believes “Singapore does not need another Lee”.

As someone who grew up in a family at the centre of Singapore politics, he added, it would have been “the most natural thing” for him to have entered political office. 

“But political leadership in Singapore needs to be much more than about one family or one man. The empirical evidence shows that dynastic politics causes bad government,” he wrote.

“When people enter politics on the back of the family name, they are often evaluated based on their parents and not their performance. This unfair advantage undermines meritocracy. How can we expect politicians to hold each other to account, if they are blood relations?”

He then urged voters to “vote fearlessly”, and added that he is interested in politics and hopes to be a catalyst for change by contributing in other ways. 

“I am involved through speaking up, by supporting candidates and parties I believe in, by contributing my time, ideas and resources to causes I support, and by seeking an open and independent media,” Mr Lee said. “I do not seek power, prestige or financial rewards of political office.”

Separately, PSP secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock was asked on Tuesday why the party had "teased" voters with the possibility of Mr Lee's candidacy. In the lead-up to Nomination Day, Mr Lee had joined the party on various highly-publicised walkabouts in the wards that they are contesting.

He replied: "We never teased voters. If they feel teased, it is their problem."

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY LATASHA SEOW AND JANICE LIM

Related topics

SGVotes2020 Singapore General Election PSP Lee Hsien Yang nomination

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