[SINGAPORE] "The world has changed, and so must we," declared Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Mandarin yesterday at the biennial People's Action Party (PAP) convention.
To that end, the ruling party has adopted a new resolution statement - its first in 25 years - which reinterprets the PAP's goals so as to stay relevant "in this new phase and with the new generation".
"This is a strategic shift," said Mr Lee. "Although the content looks similar, its meaning is different. This is a new frame of thinking for the PAP, to make the party's long-term goals more relevant to the needs of society today."
As the culmination of five engagement sessions with party members (spread over the course of three months), the main thrust of the new eight-point resolution involves upholding an "open and compassionate meritocracy" in a "fair and just society" with "opportunities for all Singaporeans".
"We rely on free markets to grow the pie but will moderate its excesses . . . We support a progressive system of benefits and taxes to enable all to enjoy quality education, good housing, and affordable healthcare," reads the resolution.
While Mr Lee was the last of eight speakers to take to the stage yesterday, Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing opened the convention with a feisty speech, calling for party members to "continuously and strenuously defend the common space for people to speak up".
"If we do not stand up for what we believe, other people will occupy that space and cast us into irrelevance. We must not concede the space - physical or cyber . . . We will have to do battle everywhere as necessary," said Mr Chan, who is also the party's organising secretary.