“Media press statement by George Yeo on Tuesday, 10 May, 2011
Thank you for waiting a couple of days for me to rest before meeting you.
Aljunied voters have decided and I respect their decision. Having committed 23 years of service to the residents, it is only natural for me to feel disappointed but this is politics.
It has been my privilege to have served them all these years and they have enriched my life. They have also enabled me to serve in various capacities as a Cabinet Minister in MITA, Health, MTI and MFA for which I am grateful.
Why did we lose Aljunied?
Mr Low Thia Kiang himself said that they won Aljunied not because the Aljunied team did not do a good job, but because the voters wanted WP to be their voice in Parliament.
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.
The fight became one between a Workers Party voice in Parliament and an Aljunied team with two ministers, a potential Speaker of Parliament, a potential minister and a most effective Town Council chairman.
Though I wish the outcome had been different, Aljunied voters have made their choice.
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.
As we ended our campaign on 5 May, I talked about the importance of transforming PAP. This is a belief I’ve held for some time. It was not something I felt I could say when the campaign started. But, as the campaign went on, as we heard the growing cry from the heart, I decided to make it plain. Like it or not, we are entering a new phase in Singapore politics development. How we respond to it will decide Singapore’s destiny in the 21st century.
I would help in whatever way I can to bring about this transformation of the PAP. I wish I had a mandate from the people of Aljunied to be a strong advocate of such transformation. But I don’t.
As for remaining in public life, I will contribute in whatever modest way possible.
Many young people have stepped forward to help me in this campaign. Even more have cheered me on. It is not good that so many of them feel alienated from the Singapore they love. I look forward to continue working with them so that the Singapore we struggle for is the Singapore they feel is their own.
As to the actual role I can play, I’ll be happy to respond to them. In the last few years, I have learnt much from my young friends. Often they led me rather than I led them. Since the GE results came out, there has been a flood of support for me expressed personally, through friends and relatives, on email and, in an astonishing way, on internet and FB. The words expressed are heartfelt. Many wrote me long passages, some in tears. I’m grateful for the kind words and the good wishes, and will be an advocate of their cause.
As for what I’ll do professionally after stepping down as Minister when the new Cabinet is sworn in, I’m not rushing to make a decision. My wife and I thought we should take our time to think this over. We also need a break to spend more time with the family.
From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank the people of Singapore for the opportunity of serving them in the last 23 years.”
i dont quite know much abt how politics in other countries work, but i see reports abt ‘this’ being the effect of our ‘GRC system’.. and i cant help agree cos i cant seem to reconcile with the fact that Uncle Yeo is out but Tin Tin is in. it still doesnt make sense. it might be fairer if everyone stood individually? cos i dont think Aljunied residents hated Uncle Yeo. i dont know. but i guess reading/seeing news that Sitoh Yi Pin “wants to serve the residents” and not just be in parliament did make sense. cos he did refuse the change to enter parliament thru the GRC way. despite losing in the past 2 GE, he finally managed to get the margin on his side. so i guess, if the ppl want you, they’ll vote you in. but i mean, i dont know how to access which system is better, so i guess i’ll just leave it to that…
i never had any personal encounters with him, but seeing him speak at bedok stadium after results that Aljunied was lost to WP made me feel so sad. its not just any minister. its our foreign minister. and i believe he did genuinely wish WP all the success, though we can see his disappointment ‘after serving the Aljunied residents for 23 years”. he does seem like a nice man. a colleague was sharing with me abt how the foreign ministers of some countries expressed disappointment on the news that Uncle Yeo was not voted in. i mean, i wouldnt know, but it does make sense. he was one of those who linked Singapore to the world. apart from our PM, DPMs and President, the next face of Singapore to the world had to be our foreign minister. Prof S Jayakumar was great. so was he. im sure he’ll be missed internationally.
but having additional opposition voice in parliament is a good thing. now there’s 6 of them. they had better take this seriously and be a useful extra voice. i hope they dont just oppose the ruling party for the sake of opposing. if ideas are good, they should support. arguments should be substantiated and researched before being brought up. this is a good platform to show the ppl of Singapore whether having a opposition is good or not. if the 6 of them screw up, we probably wont believe in the benefits of having an opposition for a long time. they had better make it good for themselves. at the same time, i hope Aljunied wont be left for scrap until the next GE.
to think potong pasir doesnt even have a polyclinic was just disheartening. there is a temple that i used to go when i was much younger. 15 years later, when i went there in jan this year, the neighbourhood looked exactly the same. same coffee shop, same shop houses, same housing, streets, etc. its amazing actually. in the past 15 yrs, so many other neighbourhoods changed. and i dont quite know what to make of it, although i do have some interpretations of my own. but thats just my own assumptions.
anyway, it does show a political change in Singapore. perhaps we will one day have a 2 party govt? i dont know. as long as it doesnt disturb the peace of the citizens. im happy with Singapore, and i wont want it to become a country that’s politically unstable and ppl form anti-party groups and organise protests and stuff…. we’ll see how this goes… the next 5 yrs will be a major test. either opposition will be wiped out, or more SMCs/GRCs will be lost to opposition.