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    Sep 14, 2015

    PAP to consult more after polls: minister

    THE strong mandate voters gave the People's Action Party (PAP) at the ballot box on Friday makes it all the more important for the party to step up its efforts to consult and involve Singaporeans in shaping programmes and policies, said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.

    Their strong support for and confidence in the PAP meant the ruling party had to "engage even more extensively and even more deeply", Mr Heng told reporters yesterday.

    He was visiting residents in Tampines GRC to thank them for supporting him and his team.

    He hopes more people will step forward to offer their ideas, propose solutions and join the Government in initiating projects to build Singapore.

    Mr Heng led a year-long Our Singapore Conversation exercise that started in 2012 to engage a broad range of citizens from all walks of life on a range of issues.

    Yesterday, he said that while public engagement has always been part of how the PAP has worked through the years, the conversation "significantly intensified the process".

    For one thing, many government ministries have since set up units to consult the public, he noted, adding that in turn, many major policies were borne out of "very intense" consultation with the public.

    "This style of getting ideas from our people, listening to the ground and formulating the best possible approach forward, is very important and we will continue with this," he said.

    Mr Heng, who chairs the SG50 steering committee, also acknowledged residents' efforts in initiating ground-up projects to celebrate the country's Golden Jubilee.

    He hopes citizens will also be more actively involved in giving ideas and providing solutions to problems.

    The five-member PAP team he anchored won 72.06 per cent of votes against a National Solidarity Party team, an upward swing of 14.8 percentage points from the 2011 result.

    This outpaced the PAP's 9.8 percentage point national vote swing, which saw its share of the popular vote hit 69.9 per cent, from the low of 60.1 per cent in 2011.

    Mr Heng, accompanied by teammates Masagos Zulkifli, Baey Yam Keng, Desmond Choo and Cheng Li Hui, rode on a lorry through Tampines, greeting and thanking residents and local merchants.

    He attributed the marked improvement in the PAP's performance to a sense of pride over how far Singapore has come over the last 50 years, amid a time of increasing uncertainty and anxiety in the region.

    The death of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in March also reminded many of the challenges Singapore had to overcome to succeed.

    "Having come so far in 50 years, there is a sense of excitement that we are poised to take Singapore forward in the next 50 years," he said.

    "What we must do is to make sure we harness the ideas and the creativity of our people, so that we can work together for a better future."