Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday told People's Action Party (PAP) candidates and activists to be prepared for a tough election, given the ongoing health and economic crisis that the country is facing.
"We are going into battle to win the mandate of the people in a crucial contest," he said at the launch of the PAP manifesto, which comes three days before Nomination Day.
"Make no mistake - this will be a tough election. Singaporeans have lost jobs, families have suffered, many are hurting from the pandemic," said PM Lee, who is also the party's secretary-general.
"We cannot take any vote for granted. The Singaporean voter is a tough judge."
The Covid-19 crisis has hit Singapore hard - the economy is forecast shrink by between 4 per cent and 7 per cent this year, and heavy job losses are expected.
The party must win the people's mandate, for it has a much bigger fight ahead of it, he added - that of protecting lives and livelihoods during the crisis, and working to keep Singapore successful and special for future generations.
"Hardly ever before has government been so crucial to protecting the lives and livelihoods of Singaporeans," said PM Lee.
"This is why leadership is key, whom you choose to form the next government - and the quality of that leadership - is absolutely critical."
He also called on voters to support his PAP team, pointing out that "the best leadership team is only as strong as the support it gets".
Only with a strong team in place, would the PAP government be able to execute its promises to Singaporeans and long-term plans for the country, he said.
Pointing to the manifesto, titled Our Lives, Our Jobs, Our Future, PM Lee said it laid out not just how the party intends to take Singapore through the crisis, but also set out how it intends to build a better Singapore. "Our aim is not just to survive the storm, but also to maintain the long-term direction for the country, and keep on building and improving Singapore," he said.
"This is the manifesto of a responsible party and government."
QUALITY OF LEADERSHIP IS KEY
Hardly ever before has government been so crucial to protecting the lives and livelihoods of Singaporeans... This is why leadership is key, whom you choose to form the next government - and the quality of that leadership - is absolutely critical.
PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG
He added that the battles ahead can be won only if the PAP has the full support of Singaporeans, and Singapore has "the strongest and most committed leadership team" to take it forward.
"Let us give it our all, convince Singaporeans to give the PAP their strong support, and to work with us to secure our lives, our jobs and our future," he said.