This GE to seek mandate beyond SG50: PM Lee

You will be deciding who is governing Singapore who is governing Singapore for the next five years – but much more than that, you will be choosing the team who will be working with you for the next 15 to 20 years.

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The People’s Action Party, headed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has led the small, but prosperous nation since it gained independence 50 years ago, but its popularity has slipped in recent years.

Lee cited policy changes that had been made, saying the government has upgraded infrastructure, slowed down the inflow of foreign workers, tightened up on the approval of permanent residency and citizenship applications for foreigners, and made sure that Singaporeans are fairly treated at work.

“Singapore is at a turning point”, Lee said. The city-state this month celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence.

“I called this general election to seek your mandate to take Singapore beyond SG50, into its next half century”, Lee said on his Facebook page, referring to Singapore’s 50th birthday.

The PAP now holds 80 out of 87 seats in Parliament.

The influx remains a source of tension, with middle-class Singaporeans complaining that the newcomers are competing with them for jobs and housing and straining public services like mass transport.

The government subsequently invested billions of dollars in building new public housing flats and metro lines while curbing the intake of foreign workers and immigrants.

Michael Barr, a Singapore politics researcher at Flinders University in Australia, said the PAP had no doubts about being re-elected.

The other eight opposition parties which stated their intention to contest in the general election had concluded talks in early August, during which they ironed out their differences and worked to ensure that the PAP will be challenged in all 29 constituencies.

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Singapore continues to impose strict rules on free speech and assembly, but social media have undermined the government’s control over information and political debate. “But our people must still be robust and tough, able to take hard knocks, always striving to be better”, said Lee.

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