As the PAP celebrates its 65th anniversary, how will things go moving forward?

The People’s Action Party  (PAP) celebrated its 65th anniversary on Thursday (21 Nov) after being founded in 1954 and first assuming government by winning the 1959 elections.

This gives it the 3rd spot in the list of political parties who have been longest in power, only behind the Worker’s Party of Korea (1948) and the Chinese Communist Party (1949).

While the PAP has dominated much of Singapore’s politics for the past 50 years, it was not always smooth sailing in its early years. The Lim Yew Hock government had arrested several of PAP’s members on accusations for being communist while an internal split led to the formation of the Barisan Sosialis.

How has the PAP fared over the years, and how will it move forward?

The early years of success and the reverence of PAP’s first generation leaders

The first generation of PAP leaders have been credited for being the ones who brought Singapore to becoming an economic and financial powerhouse in the region.

According to Navnita Sarma, Asia Editor and Lead analyst for India, Malaysia, Singapore for the Economicst Intelligence Unit, said that the recipe could be attributed to several factors; early PAP leaders managed to build a “world class manpower, state of the art infrastructure, low and transparent tax regime, clean and efficient bureaucracy, a strong regulatory and legal framework, a neutral diplomatic policy, and developing a clean and green city”.

Against this backdrop, it was the admirable attitude of the PAP’s 1G leaders that added to the respect that Singapore had for the PAP – Singapore’s first Law Minister Edmund W Barker purportedly took a large pay cut to join politics. This attitude boiled down to the civil service as well – Lim Kim San volunteered to be HDB’s first Chairman and reportedly worked for 3 years without pay.

Under this generation, the nominal GDP per capita grew tenfold in a mere 15 years from US$935 in 1970 to US$18,555 in 1985. Because the unspoken social contract was to give up civil liberties in exchange for economic growth, the PAP managed to win every single election since independence with a super-majority.

A decline, starting from the 3G leadership?

Even at its lowest point in the 1991 General Elections, the PAP won 77 out of 81 Parliamentary seats. The loss of 4 seats to the opposition could perhaps be attributed to the high cost of living, widening income gap, while some had attributed this to Goh Chok Tong’s first election as Prime Minister.

Subsequently, the PAP managed to increase its number of seats in the 1997 General Elections, purportedly due to publicised infighting in other parties, estate upgrading carrots and a state-controlled media.

This winning streak continued in both the 2001 and 2006 General Elections. In 2001, voters were concerned with the 9-11 terrorist attacks and a low number of seats contested that resulted in a 75% win for the PAP. Five years later, the PAP saw a 9% vote swing due to issues such as costs of living, upgrading of HDB estates and medical subsidies. Even at 66%, the mere statistic underlies the weak policies that saw voters unleash their anger in the 2011 General Elections.

While the population increased drastically as early as 2008, the number of BTO flats, hospital beds and infrastructure did not keep pace. Successive years of housing price increases saw BTO flats becoming scarce and out of reach in terms of affordability while long queues at A&E and beds being set up in hospital corridors were a common sight.

Unable to cope with increased ridership, Singapore saw its first train breakdown on the 15th December 2011 after maintenance was reported to be stagnant.

How will 4G leaders fare?

While an election in 2019 looks increasingly unlikely, the distinguishing factor in the upcoming 2020 elections would likely hings on whether the electorate would accept the PAP’s 4th generation leadership.

In the words of Tan Jee Say, “the next GE is critical as Singaporeans are bring asked to vote in a new leadership team, the so-called 4G team.

Tan added: “But they have not proven themselves as true leaders. They have merely risen up the ranks of the civil service and the military as obedient servants, and not the creative and innovative minds that Singapore needs now to become strong and prosperous.”

At a Institute of Policy Studies (IPS)-Nathan lecture in 2014, prominent businessman Ho Kwon Ping said it was possible that the PAP loses its dominance in Parliament in a matter of 15 years.

Ho said: “… almost everyone I informally surveyed broadly agreed with it, but (differed) only in their estimation as to how many years it would take before the PAP would lose an election…”

While it has been some time since Ho’s words were first said, recent instances in 2019 has shown that the PAP’s 4G leadership has exposed some degree of their incompetence – be it a sudden policy-reversal of not allowing PMDs on footpaths to DPM Heng Swee Keat’s embarrassing performance in Parliament after being rebutted by Sylvia Lim.

On the flip side, it would also seem that the electorate could be triggered by several issues. In the September edition of Blackbox’s research #YouKnowAnot, 27% of male respondents and 23% of female respondents feel that the costs of living would be the biggest factor in impacting their vote. Concurrently, the costs of living remains the biggest dissatisfaction with the government and has been dropping for consecutive months.

Conclusion?

Professor Micheal Barr has said that “Lee [Kuan Yew] has left in place a broken system of elite regeneration” that” works [only] with someone as smart and ruthless as [himself] at the top”.

While this remains to be seen, it appears increasingly clear that – while today’s PAP still takes credit in claiming to have built Singapore up – the electorate may have an increasingly different view.

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

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29 Responses to “As the PAP celebrates its 65th anniversary, how will things go moving forward?”

  • Straight "A"s Marlboro Tan:

    Lee Kuan yew left behind a defective system that works temporarily but fails permanently.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    The PAP VISION of 65 is all but gone when the Lie and Lie with MORE Lies to come to usurp power with Greed and Evil

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  • nothing to boast about nowdays:

    no one is indispensable.
    just give other capable ones a chance to shine.
    stop being dictators!

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  • NotMyProblem:

    I am a pioneer generation, I think I am in the position to judge this current PAP team. This team of PAP sucks big time, without reservation! I just hope there is totally no 4G PAP government for the sake of my future generation.

    Just to compare, in the past, my generation could paid up our HDB flats in 5 to 7 years. Employers interviewed us before we RODed from NS. Employers sent us overseas for training. We could withdraw our CPF for children’s education.

    If you still believe this government, you die!!

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  • Economists act blur gdp:

    Singapore born top engineering top scholars has never invented any best in the world products. They all use foreigner invented products.

    My point is Singapore is a fake success.
    The success perceived is not real. The actual success is much less because the news is controlled just like communist party ruled China. China makes fake GDP.
    Everything in China us faked. They are the world’s largest faker starting with products.

    Singapore education system is hyped up by the state media . I already debunked the SG education system using it’s engineer scholars as examples. Do not be mistaken. Even Timbuktu can have inventions just like SG. But sg cannot produce top engineering products of the world.

    So it’s trying to mislead people by invitinf foreigners to do r&d here. And they report their achievements and inventions as if they were Singapore born inventors.

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  • PseudoPap & the other PAP:

    Elitist Aristocrats VS Natural Meritocrats

    Crony-Capitalist Trickle-Down Economics VS Democratic Socialist Keynesian Economics

    Sinchiapor Inc. VS Republic of Singapore

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  • opposition dude:

    In a new era we face new options diffrent from past elections. In the good old days before the internet and the mass influx of aliens things were very good for PAP. All the usual threats to the electorate, biased coverage for the opposition and all that ensured the opposition did not win a GRC.

    In today’s context, we have to contend with the new citizens as well as a declining number of the pioneer and merdeka generations. The cost of living has always been an issue but we do not know as of now just how much it will actually affect voting in the next GE. We all saw just how much anger there was over the influx of aliens in 2011 leading to 2 ministers kicked out and history made.

    Everyone knows the PAP isn’t going to get 70% of the votes in the next GE, your founder can only die once after all. It’s up to the younger generations now, the older generation is just too kiasee to ever vote opposition.

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  • Say no to Pedophilia:

    Can LHL be the PAP pm who lose his seat breaking SG record forever?

    George yeo is the eternal SG record holder for being the first PAP minister to lose a GRC. His name is etched in diamond forever.

    George Peele and all

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  • Don't vote for part-time MPs:

    65! Good. Time to retire. Let’s send PAP into retirement in the coming GE.

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  • Poh Kam Chao Auntie:

    More like moving downward?

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  • Dato:

    I am 50 years old.
    Have also seen and experienced enough, the life of an average Singaporean. Owns HDB. 3 growing kids to feed.

    I am also at the point – for all future GE, I would take my chance to vote for any human who can read and write, standing in as an electoral candidate. Never will I vote for PAP.
    After all the broken promises…..I will even take my chances if Mr Bean stands in for election.

    One man. One vote. Vote for change.

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  • pap is utter fail:

    slowly but surely, even with 100% import, Spore sports such as table tennis died. all within the term of pap money grubber lky clown.

    a very short decade and half. not even two decades.

    pap says it needs S$m to maintain their standard of living.

    those sheep, majority earning below S$3,500 pm all agree and vote the pap folks into power so that all of the pap folks can be S$m. WTF.

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  • 1/2 Gs:

    Politics for the 1G and 2G was not a “get-rich-quick” scheme. They did not consider themselves aristocrats and did not complain that they were paid too little. However, they built a country that became the envy of our neighbors and made us proud to be called Singaporeans. Cannot speak for the later generations. Only history will tell of their achievements.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Straight “A”s Marlboro Tan:

    BRILLIANTLY put it in opening post.

    Straight "A"s Marlboro Tan: Lee Kuan yew left behind a defective system that works temporarily but fails permanently.

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  • oxygen:

    VOTERS KNOW THAT 4G HAVEN’T GOT UP THE STAGE YET before the GE, when they get there, the whole mob might melt down like hot (tasty-looking only) chocolate.

    A lot are silent of policy failures and lying low waiting for GE elevation to stardom and self-glorification of money and power accumulation.

    They spent so much time, money and effort in fixing puny dollar fake municipal accounting issues while the country rots of a dying economy of hundreds of billion dollars.

    HOW LONG IS THIS CIRCUS SHOW GONNA LASTS?

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  • oxygen:

    MONEY-FUK-U in the 2011 ERECTION boasted arrogantly this – foreigners traveling from afar to admire the tall trees (read PAPpypolitics) whilst Opposition is like poisoned mushroom parasiting on the ground.

    WHAT MONEY-FUK-U didn’t tell peasants sheeple this – mushroom grows on deadwood, THE MUSHROOMS OF COURSE KNOW BUT THE DEADWOOD DOES NOT.

    2011 WAS THE LAST ERECTION MONEY-FUK-U CONTESTED.Politically, he has vanished to nothing.

    4G looks very much like this – just look at the PMD policy debacle. IT IS POLICY-MAKING ON THE RUN AND REVERSAL – the corpses are food delivery employment and those who spent thousands of $$$
    upgrade to fire-safe machines overnight prior.

    SMART NATION IS VERY STUPID AT ITS APEX.

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  • never vote pap:

    these pap liars really learned well from pap master lair lky.

    all of them, well most of them other than heng and foo, demonstrate their lying very well. even the 2nd stringers like edwin tong looks closer to pap master liar lky than heng and foo.

    what is the point?

    heng and foo are the 1st stringers. they cannot even out lie the 2ns stringers. which means pap future is gone case.

    is master lying 2nd stringers like edwin tong good then?

    no. also no good. although close to pap master liar lky standard, still fake enough to see through easily. meaning 1st or 2nd, all gone case.

    only Dr Tan CB PSP coalition New Government can do the true job. pap gone case liao like najib UMNO.

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  • Harder Truths:

    The old man took credit for something he never understood or made happen. The ‘success’ of $G was a continuation of the hard work and sacrifice of the people before independence.

    The later progress in the 1960′s and 1970′s would have happened no matter who was in power – maybe not so quickly or smoothly – but it would have been $G for $G citizens. The world needed $ingapore. That was the real reason.

    That chance to use world events to make a society that could be self sustaining was destroyed by the government to enrich themselves. Continuing the migrant influx made $G socially an open city with no real national identity. A city with no identity cannot last once the wealth disappears – we are seeing that now.

    By putting blind faith in con-men and also trying to use their con-game system to grow their own personal wealth, $G citizens with their migrant ‘you die your business’ motto have done themselves in.

    Too late to talk about change or saving what is already beyond saving. $G citizens should remember “You die your business” applies to everyone sooner or later.

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  • cou eat shit:

    LEE KAYU once said that if we vote opposition in our woman folks will become maids in neibgouring countries.He said that HDB flats will continue to rise in value.
    This MOTHER FUCKER WAS TALKING SHIT.The HARD TRUTH is that our youths are working as food delivery driver and grab drivers the elderly are working as security guards,cleaners and picking cardboard to earn a living.The GOOD and HIGH paying jobs are taken up by FTs who have questionable degrees.Our fertility rate is one of the lowest in the world.Useless leaders who cannot think on their feet and who are out of touch with the population.
    The GREATEST MISTAKE LEE KAYU made was to appoint his son as the PM and to put his daughter-in-law THE JINX as CEO tumbofsick.
    I wish that the LEE dynasty ENDS WITH LHL and he becomes like the last emperor of China a poor bagger.

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  • Silent Majority:

    Awake and arise my friends.
    Do not gamble away your future generations.
    If you truly believe in valuing your children future, then it’s time to make bold and peaceful changes to help improve the present governance system before it is too late.

    Don’t hope for similar Hong Kong protest event to happen here. Look around Singapore, PApy has already lost their way and wayang-their-right to lead future gen.

    https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2019/11/25/pointless-and-futile-for-political-and-business-elites-to-condemn-hong-kong-protests-better-to-acknowledge-losing-right-to-govern-sporean-academic-donald-low/

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  • TOC infiltrated by spies?:

    The people have given them 65 straight years to learn as they earn world highest salaries. Yet they still have not learnt how to have a democracy.

    They still have not learnt how to solve smrt fiascos.

    They still have not learnt how to get the retirement scheme right.

    They still have not delivered promise of swiss standard. Why made the claim they could not deliver?

    They still have not understood leasehold is not ownership.

    They still have not been trnasparent, accountable nor be perceived to be indepedent in key appointments.

    What they have done excellently is brainwashed the 70% well-educated super bloody fools.

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  • No to 4G, YES to 5G !:

    4G is lousy.
    I want 5G more superior!

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  • Natural aristocrat no more:

    LKY never should have deviated from the virtue ethics of the founding fathers Dr. Toh and Dr. Goh, who between the two of them and some more excellent natural aristocrats imagined and built most if not all of this metropolis the Republic of Singapore in the first three decades. President Ong should never have been ridiculed for inquiring into the state of the national monetary reserves; and he was also the man who literally designed and built our first MRT network.

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  • your body twitch:

    //4G is lousy.
    I want 5G more superior!//

    aiyoh ? the more Gs, the more the lives of average people will be subverted by powerful entities (if not by nefarious dark forces ?) ? no ? as technology may be advanced to such an extent that your every breath and your body twitch can be monitored and perhaps to control your behavior ?

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  • WTH!:

    our SG is called the THE LION CITY.
    so we citizens are supposed to be brave lions..not timid mice.
    so let us summon up our courage n fight fiercely this GE, for a better future and for our lives
    right now we seem to be stalled in limbo..like just existing only..gov controls everything!!
    .we have no say even in issues concerning us and our country.

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  • Homeless Cat:

    Straight "A"s Marlboro Tan:
    Lee Kuan yew left behind a defective system that works temporarily but fails permanently.

    Indeed. Now we have to fix it, and make it better. We can do better. We must be better.

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  • Non-singkee mind:

    What we need is not 4G but 5G aka Tan Cheng Bock pro People govt.

    1. Return our CPF.
    2. Stop the cpf accrued interest
    3. Renegotiate CECA or cancel

    CPF and CECA are what PAP will not be likely to solve.

    This means our lives will get worse under pap.

    There is no way they can solve this but actually a pro people govt can return our cpf because of the reserves, whatever is left of it.

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  • Well educated Fools:

    Pap given 65 years to learn on the job and run town councils. We don’t know all the Fiasco if any during the 65 years especially during the early years since they totally ruled SG.

    But WP was only given one term to learn on the job.

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  • Wisemen Group:

    When there is continuing moral rot within a nation and the authority displaying no accountability, no transparency, no moral responsibility and adopting arrogant attitude toward oppressing the poor and the weak, its government topples easily.

    But with wise and caring leaders, there is stability.
    Your voting right matters!

    Vote wisely :)

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