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People's Daily Online>>World >> Asia/Oceania

Singapore PM pledges changes to ruling party


14:45, November 28, 2011

SINGAPORE, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has pledged changes to the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) at the party's convention six months after the general election.

It will correct policy shortcomings in areas such as housing and do more to take care of not just the elderly and the needy but also the middle-income group, local daily the Straits Times reported on Monday.

There will also be more ground-up initiatives and fewer top- down directions in its policy-making procedures, the party leaders said. The decision-making will be more decentralized and grassroots leaders and lawmakers will be encouraged to reflect people's views, while ministers must work harder to build political support for tough policies.

"We need to be less centralized, more interactive, have more initiatives from the ground up, and fewer top-down directions," the prime minister said.

The People's Action Party, which has been ruling the city state since its independence from Malaysia in 1965 with an absolute majority in the parliament, saw its votes dipping to slightly above 60 percent and lost a group representation constituency of five seats for the first time despite that it still won 81 of the 87 elected seats.

The party reshuffled its cabinet and announced initiatives to change its policy directions in housing, social welfare and immigration. Two former prime ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong left the cabinet and resigned from the powerful central committee of the People's Action Party.

The party leaders also highlighted the need for smarter politics, saying that the party will be more "tactical" by tracking and countering opposition moves on all fronts.

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