This year’s general election (GE) has been a rollercoaster ride for both Sinagaporeans and the various political parties from the start till the end.
The events that happened this election season, from Ivan Lim’s hasty exit from the incumbent People’s Action Party (PAP), to Worker’s Party’s (WP) Raeesah Khan being under police investigation for posts discussing race and religion, are certainly ones that Singaporeans will remember for a long time.
As GE 2020 is coming to an end soon, let’s revisit some of the most memorable quotes of this election by the various political candidates:
1. Ivan Lim On The Social Media Backlash He Received
Ivan Lim was announced as a PAP candidate for Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC) on June 24. He received huge backlash online by former classmates and colleagues for his alleged bad character and poor conduct.
In response, he released a press statement on June 27 declaring that he was “determined” to stay in the running.
When I agreed to enter politics, I expected that it would be tough. The test has come sooner than expected.
– Ivan Lim, ex-PAP candidate
On the same day, he announced his withdrawal from GE 2020 and the PAP.
2. Lee Hsien Yang On Voting The PAP
This election, Lee Hsien Yang — estranged brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong — formally joined the opposition Progress Singapore Party (PSP).
Though the move was shocking, it was likely expected by Singaporeans as Lee Hsien Yang has publicly challenged the PAP time and again. Last July, he said he “wholeheartedly” supported the newly-formed opposition party.
It is possible to be loyal Singaporeans… To recite with pride ‘We the citizens of Singapore’, to love Singapore, and yet not vote the PAP.
– Lee Hsien Yang, PSP member, in a live video message on June 24
Though Lee is not contesting in GE 2020, he has officially joined the battle with the opposition against the incumbent PAP.
3. Jamus Lim On A PAP Mandate
The WP candidate captured the hearts of Singaporeans during a live political debate with his eloquence and collected demeanour.
He reportedly won the approval of Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, who even asked for his opinion at one point in time.
What we are trying to deny the PAP is not a mandate. What we’re trying to deny them is a blank cheque.
– Jamus Lim, WP candidate, during a live political debate
PAP candidates Chan Chun Sing and Indranee Rajah fired back the next day, saying that the PAP would never have a blank cheque due to its accountability to Singaporeans.
Nevertheless, many will agree that this is possibly one of the winning quotes of GE 2020.
4. Vivian Balakrishnan On Singapore’s Projected Population
Foreign Minister and PAP candidate Vivian Balakrishnan traded blows with Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan in a live political debate on July 1.
On the topic of Singapore’s growing population, Balakrishnan crushed the claim that the government had set a target population of 10 million for Singapore.
Let me state, for the record. We will never have 10 million. We won’t even have 6.9 million.
Vivian Balakrishnan, Foreign Minister and PAP Candidate, during a live political debate
Chee had cited a Straits Times report of a dialogue Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat had had last year.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) later released a statement saying that the government had no intention to increase the country’s population to 10 million.
It has since been noted that the number was not cited by Heng, though there has been a lot of confusion over the source of the number.
5. Pritam Singh On Ownself Check Ownself
In a party broadcast on July 2, WP Secretary-General Pritam Singh warned against the possibility of power falling into the wrong hands.
PAP self-checking can fail. If the wrong people show their true colours only after reaching our highest offices, Singapore is finished.
– Pritam Singh, WP Secretary-General, in a party broadcast
He was referring to a statement by Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong from 2015 when he said the incumbent PAP were “our (their) own checks”.
6. Michael Fang Amin On Ministers’ High Paycheques
Michael Fang Amin from the Peoples Voice Party (PV) represented the party during a political broadcast on July 2.
Besides calling the income disparity “obscene”, he also said the PAP’s policies regarding immigration, housing and healthcare were “disastrous”.
The Prime Minister earns $2.2 million a year whilst a cleaner may earn only slightly in excess of $14,000. In other words, the Prime Minister earns almost 152 times than that of a cleaner.
– Michael Fang Amin, PV candidate, during a party political broadcast
However, PV’s manifesto is all about making “Singapore our home again,” and Fang’s speech puts into perspective the income inequality between the elite and lower income groups in Singapore.
7. Victor Lye On Aljunied GRC
The PAP candidate argued during the Aljunied constituency political broadcast that the residents and community should come before politics.
His comment was addressed to the residents of Aljunied, where he is contesting. The PAP team questioned if Aljunied was merely the check and balance system for the country, denying a blank cheque to the PAP.
Aljunied is yours – not someone’s political hostage. It should be about your lives, your jobs and our future. It’s time. Bring us home.
Victor Lye, PAP candidate, during a constituency political broadcast
Wrapping up, Mr Lye said that the PAP team “can do better” for Aljunied residents. Since 2011, Aljunied has been the only opposition-held GRC in Singapore.
8. Raeesah Khan On Race And Religion
Police reports were filed against Workers’ Party’s Raeesah Khan concerning comments she had made online in 2018 on race and religion.
She made an apology to the public together with WP leaders and her team running for Sengkang GRC. She added that she would fully cooperate with police investigations.
I apologise to any racial group or community who have been hurt by my comments. My remarks were insensitive, and I regret making them.
I feel passionate about minority issues, regardless of race, and in my passion, I made improper remarks, and I have to be accountable for them.
– Raeesah Khan, WP candidate, in an apology to the public
Many netizens commended her for her sincerity, and was quick to compare her to former PAP would-be-candidate Ivan Lim who dropped out of the race without a similar apology.
9. Heng Sweet Keat On The East Coast Plan
Last but not least, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s speech on Nomination Day at East Coast GRC caused a stir amongst Singaporeans islandwide.
Within a few hours, memes were already appearing all over the Internet. Some companies even came up with merchandise for the East Coast Plan.
We also have a plan for the East Coast. We have a East Coast Singapore… We have a together at East Coast Plan. We care at East Coast.
– Heng Swee Kiat, Deputy Prime Minister and PAP candidate, during his speech on Nomination Day
Though everyone might support different political parties, most can come to the consensus that this is the winning quote of GE 2020.
If you would like to relive these quotes in action, we’ve also made a video compiling our favourite moments of the election. Which is your favourite?
Check out our GE 2020 microsite for the latest election-related news, find out which constituency you belong to, and who’s running where on the election battleground here.
Featured Image Credits: Raeesah Khan via Facebook / Mothership / Reuters Allsingaporestuff / AsiaOne / People’s Action Party