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GE2020: PM Lee calls for strong mandate to empower PAP to act decisively on Singaporeans' behalf

MORE than just returning the party to government, the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) needs the support of every Singaporean so that it can be empowered to steer the country towards better days ahead, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on the eve of Polling Day.

In the final party political broadcast aired on Channel 5 on Thursday, Mr Lee, who is PAP's secretary-general, detailed the party's plans to save jobs, grow the economy and build a more inclusive society, even as Singapore faces the Covid-19 crisis.

"The PAP will do our best, but we cannot do it alone. In a critical election like this one, every vote counts. We need the support of every Singaporean, not just to return the PAP to government, but also to give it a strong mandate, to empower it to act decisively on your behalf, and steer the country towards better days ahead." 

Jobs are the party's top priority. He said the party is doing everything it can to save Singaporeans' jobs and to support workers who have been affected by the pandemic through government measures such as the Jobs Support Scheme, the Covid-19 Support Grant and the Self-Employed Income Relief Scheme.

At the same time, the National Jobs Council led by Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is aiming to create 100,000 new jobs and training positions in the coming year, which is three times the usual number, he said.

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To create new and better jobs for Singaporeans, Mr Lee said Singapore needs to continue to attract new investments. This year, the Economic Development Board (EDB) secured S$13 billion in investments, exceeding its usual annual volume.

"EDB could do this because investors have confidence in Singapore. They value Singaporean workers because we are skilled, hardworking, multi-lingual and disciplined. They know that our government is of high quality – an honest, competent civil service led by first-rate ministers, and they admire our social compact, with the government and Singaporeans working hand in hand, united as Team Singapore, he said.

Meanwhile, potential investors and others are watching the General Election closely, Mr Lee said, as they would want to know if Singapore still "has what it takes" to sustain its edge, especially in a crisis.

"In this crisis election, we must show the world that Singaporeans understand what our survival depends on," he said.

Beyond the immediate challenges, the party is looking to the future, which is why it will press on with restructuring and upgrading the economy and with reskilling and upskilling the workforce. This, he said, will help Singaporeans adapt to the uncertainties ahead, seize new opportunities and improve their lives.

At the same time, Singaporeans have broader ambitions for the country beyond economic prosperity, with many aspiring to be a harmonious and inclusive society, he said.

To that end, PAP plans to improve the education system, make healthcare more accessible and affordable, build new HDB towns, parks and MRT lines and prepare for climate change. In time to come, all these should be part of a better Singapore, Mr Lee said.

Before that, however, Singapore first has to make it through the immediate crisis, he said, adding nobody knows how the next few years will unfold.

"But we give ourselves the best chance of success if we rally together, choose a competent, experienced and committed team to lead the country, and give it our full support," he said. "As you go to the polls tomorrow, I ask you once again to put your trust in the PAP."

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