Political renewal remains a focus of the PAP: PM Lee
The People's Action Party (PAP) is fielding a record number of candidates this election to prepare a new generation of leaders who are able, in time, to take over the running of Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the virtual Fullerton Rally yesterday.
Never before has the ruling party sent out as many as the 27 new faces it is doing in this election - exceeding even the 26 in the class of 1984, which was when PM Lee entered politics at the age of 32.
GE 1984 turned out to be a watershed election that injected young blood into the PAP, he said.
Political renewal remains a focus of the PAP, he noted: 36 years after he first entered the fray, PM Lee is the only one of his cohort still in politics, and he has said this is likely to be his last poll before he steps down.
PM Lee said he has worked hard to field the strongest PAP slate for this election, consisting both capable ministers whom he can rely upon to get things done and seasoned MPs to take care of every constituency.
But the party also refreshed and reinforced its line-up with a younger generation of candidates, whom Mr Lee said are "promising leaders from all walks of life".
"They will bring new ideas and perspectives on tackling the challenges ahead, and I hope younger, first-time voters will identify with them and see them as candidates who represent their views and will advance their interests," he said.
"My duty as PM is not just to take good care of Singapore during my time in office.
"It is also to prepare new generations of leaders who can take over from me and my older colleagues, and lead Singapore into a different future."
But to serve, PAP candidates must first be elected, said PM Lee, who asked voters to look at the track records of PAP MPs and ministers.
"As ESM (Emeritus Senior Minister) Goh Chok Tong recently put it, we believe in political renewal, not political recycling," he said.
"I cannot say that such a state of affairs will last forever, but do not undermine a system that has served you well."
The PAP won Singapore's crucial first election in 1959 because it represented the national consensus and Singaporeans' collective hopes for their future, and this has not changed 60 years later, he added.