Defeated PAP leader: Party must transform


Former Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo reiterated that the People’s Action Party (PAP) must transform to respond to the significant developments in Singapore’s political landscape, stressing it would determine the island-nation’s fate in the 21st century.

In a statement today following his remarkable defeat on home turf Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (GRC), which he has held since 1988, Yeo (right) admitted that he had felt the need to voice the ruling party’s need to transform, well before the campaign for the 2011 Singapore general election began.

“It was not something I felt I could say when the campaign started.

“As we ended our campaign on May 5, I talked about the importance of transforming the PAP. This is a belief I’ve held for some time,” said the two-decade politician.

Yeo said as campaigning progressed, it became evident that the issue was a major one among the electorate.

“Like it or not, we are entering a new phase in Singapore’s political development. How we respond to it will decide Singapore’s destiny in the 21st century.”

On the eve of polling day on May 7, Yeo made ‘transformation’ his battle cry to defend his GRC against an unprecedented assault from the Workers Party (WP) team, which eventually unseated the minister.

According to news reports, Yeo had urged his constituents to give his team, comprising then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Lim Hwee Hua, Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Cynthia Phua and Ong Ye Kung, the mandate to lead the change in the PAP.

His opponents, dubbed the WP’s ‘Dream Team’, led by secretary-general Low Thia Khiang and comprising WP chairman Sylvia Lim, Chen Show Mao, Pritam Singh and Faisal Abdul Manap, eventually unseated Yeo, chalking a milestone as Singapore’s first opposition party to win a GRC.

Yeo quitting politics?

Yeo in his parting statement commented on Low’s remark that WP had won not because the PAP team did not do a good job, but because the electorate wanted a new voice to represent them.

“Mr Low’s analysis is fair and I agree with him. This desire for a strong WP voice in Parliament was a political tide which came in through Aljunied, which we were unable to withstand despite our very best efforts.

“Right from the start, the Workers Party made Aljunied a national battleground,” said Yeo.

He added that he would not be contesting Aljunied in the next GE, preferring to leave the task to someone younger.

“Many of my supporters asked me to stay on to win back Aljunied in five years time. I wanted to level with them and told them last night that it is better for a younger person to take on this important task.

“I’m already 57 years old and would be 62 by then. Naturally I would help to ensure a smooth handover,” Yeo added.

  1. #1 by raven77 on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 - 11:31 pm

    Such gentlemanly conduct , sadly is completely absent in BN politicians…..

    Just look at Chua Soi Lek….caught in bed with pants down and actually doing it with a hooker….he still goes around preaching …

    As for Koh Tsu Koon…its kinder not to comment…

    The level headedness of George Yeo…and even more the will of the Workers party to take Singapore’s heartland …shows that Singapore indeed will be a greater country then Malaysia…

    A country is worth what it’s people and leaders are…never its natural resources..which BTW Malaysia has squadered and keeps squandering….

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