Singapore GE: PAP could lose power if voters take risk, says DPM Heng Swee Keat

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat speaking to reporters after a walkabout in Sengkang GRC, on June 28, 2020.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE, June 29 (The Straits Time/ANN) - Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has cautioned voters against taking risks with their vote in the general election, alluding to the possibility of the PAP losing power given that the opposition is likely to contest all 93 seats.

"It is very important for us to have a clear mandate from our people, so that we can tackle these many challenges ahead," Mr Heng told reporters after a walkabout in Sengkang GRC on Sunday (June 28).

He was responding to a question from a reporter on a point made by Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh on the importance of having balance in Parliament.

Mr Singh had said on Saturday that the PAP could potentially have 72 seats in its hands, not including the 21 seats that the WP is contesting, and that would still be a strong mandate.

Mr Heng said: "As you can see, it's not just the WP who is contesting. It is likely that all seats will be contested... And therefore the risk of everybody thinking the same way... 'it's ok, let us just take a risk with this' - that's not something I would recommend.

"Because I think it is very important for us to have a clear mandate, to have clear support."

Mr Heng added that the PAP is "not just here overnight to suddenly come up with some slogans".

The party has been working on the ground, day in, day out, over the years, to help residents at the front line, he said.

The Cabinet meets every week to discuss the challenges facing Singapore, and how to respond to them, he added.

"We could not have put up four Budgets within a hundred days if we had not focused our minds on taking Singapore forward," he said, referring to the nearly $93 billion in support packages rolled out between February and June to help cushion the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Said Mr Heng: "I hope that our people will trust that this is the party that can take Singapore and Singaporeans through this very, very challenging crisis, and come out of it stronger. Because it is not just about winning votes. It is really about our future, and our children's future."

After Sunday's walkabout in Compassvale, which is part of the new Sengkang GRC, Mr Heng also said he had spoken to residents, and was glad to see that Covid-19 support measures, like the Jobs Support Scheme, had been of "significant help" to them.

Many continue to retain their workers even though business is down, he said.

Members of 11 opposition parties are gearing up to field candidates for every seat ahead of Nomination Day on Tuesday, and some seats could see three-cornered fights.

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