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The PAP must always stay close to Singaporeans, maintain their trust: PM Lee

[SINGAPORE] The trust between Singapore and the People's Action Party must never be taken for granted or frittered away, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The party only has two to three years before the next general election, and the time to work hard is now, he told 2,000 party activists in a wide-ranging speech at the PAP's annual convention on Sunday (Nov 19)."If we want a strong mandate, we need every comrade to continue working hard," said PM Lee, who is the PAP secretary-general.

He said: "To implement these policies, we must get our politics right. The people must support the PAP. Most of all, they must trust the PAP. They must know the party cares for them and is working to improve their lives," he said.

The trust between PAP and the people was created painstakingly over more than 60 years, said PM Lee.

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This was done by working with Singaporeans and delivering results, but also working through difficult policies like National Service and the Goods and Services Tax."The PAP earned the people's trust the hard way, and we must never take it for granted or fritter it away," he warned.

PM Lee drew cautionary tales from British and American politics, where mainstream political parties are no longer seen to represent the common man's interests and elites are disconnected from the population.

In the United States, the white working class whose lives were not improving voted for now-President Donald Trump, he said.

These voters had lost faith in the whole system of politics and government, and the PAP must never let this happen in Singapore, he said."The PAP must always pursue policies which benefit the broad majority of Singaporeans. The PAP must always hold the ground, stay close to Singaporeans and maintain their trust and confidence," PM Lee added.

In the coming years, this trust will be tested and will be more important than ever, he said."People must know the PAP not as a remote, impersonal government...but as their team," he added.