PAP cannot assume that it will form the next government: Lawrence Wong

Mr Wong said the Workers’ Party (WP) is now an established political force” with two group representation constituencies and one single member constituency.

The party’s chief, Mr Pritam Singh, has been appointed as Leader of the Opposition, with extra resources and taxpayer-funded legislative assistants.

Noting that the WP contested in six constituencies and won three during the last elections, he said: “If you add up their votes across all six constituencies, the Workers’ Party actually won slightly more votes than the PAP overall.

“What if the Workers’ Party had contested more seats? Would the PAP still have won 61 per cent of the votes nationwide? Would we still have been returned to power?”

He added: “This is why from day one after being designated the leader of the (fourth-generation) team, I said that I do not assume the PAP will win the next GE, or that I will inevitably become the next Prime Minister.”

Mr Wong was named as leader of the PAP’s 4G team in April, paving the way for him to become Singapore’s next Prime Minister. In June, he was promoted to deputy prime minister.

Mr Wong, who is also the Finance Minister, said the party “must have the fighting spirit and go all out to earn the trust and support of Singaporeans.”

“This is the work of not just those of us in Government, but also all our MPs, and our activists on the ground.”

At the same time, he said that the party must continue to “meet Singaporeans where they are” and added that more Singaporeans, especially the young, are getting their news and views online.

“We have been building up our online presence and capabilities, but this goes beyond party platforms. Each and every one of us represents the party – whether we are in our party whites walking the ground, or engaging fellow Singaporeans through a screen.

“We must have the conviction to represent the PAP, stand up for our values, and explain our beliefs and policies,” he said.

“We must have the courage to correct misperceptions and untruths, and tell people what this party and this Government have done, and what we will continue to do as long as we have their mandate.”

Mr Wong added that he has “no doubt” that the political contest ahead will intensify and will only get more challenging with time.

“We have to brace and strengthen ourselves for tougher and more uncertain elections. But I am also confident that working together in solidarity, we will overcome the challenges and prevail.

“We must show through our words and actions that the PAP is the only party with the ability and the determination to take Singapore forward,” he said.