Singapore GE2020: Chan Chun Sing Says Leaked Audio on PAP Win in Election 'Out of Context'

An audio of People's Action Party leader Chan Chun Sing speaking at a closed-door meeting in January 2019, where he explains reason behind PAP's win in previous elections, has gone viral.

Singapore's Minister Chan Chun Sing speaks before a MOU signing ceremony between Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX) and China Construction Bank Corp (CCB) in Singapore April 25, 2016.
File photo of Singapore's Minister Chan Chun Sing. REUTERS/Edgar Su

An audio of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) leader Chan Chun Sing's explaining how PAP won the general elections so far is going viral. In the audio of a closed-door meeting, Sing makes predictions on how the party can win election this time too.

He explained "crisis" as the factor that can help PAP win elections. The audio was from PAP's closed-door meeting conducted in the northwest division in Bukit Panjang on 9 January 2019, stated a report by Online Citizen Asia.

According to him PAP was saved by Singapore's first president, Lee Kuan Yew's death in the last elections in 2015. Current crisis refers to the COVID-19 that he cited as the factor to win elections, according to the video.

Refuting the content in the leaked audio, Sing said on Wednesday, July 8, that leaked clips of a conversation in which he was speaking are being circulated with "ill-intent" and the clips are "truncated" and "taken out of context." In a Facebook post, he said the conversation took place in early 2019, in the wake of Malaysia imposing a restricted flying zone north of Singapore's Seletar Airport.

It can be noted that elections are not a cakewalk anymore for the ruling party that has held the reins of the country since 1959. However, till 1980, PAP secured more than 70 percent (75.6 percent votes in 1980) votes during elections, but the vote share reduced to a little over 60 percent after that.

Singapore Elections and Connections to Crisis

PAP leader Chan Chun Sing in his speech was heard saying, "You check back the 50 years and see. Then suddenly a crisis will save us. Then we'll start dropping again. The next crisis save us, and it'll drop again. You look at the last 40 years pattern. Lee Kuan Yew's death saved us (in 2015). Before Lee Kuan Yew's death, 9/11 saved us."

Thus, PAP is expecting COVID-19 crisis to save them. Chan Chun Sing's words are not completely baseless. If the vote shares are considered, PAP was able to secure only 62.9 percent votes in 1984, it got 63.1 percent vote share in 1988, 61 percent in the following election in 1991 and 65 percent in the 1996 election. However, the 9/11 incident was the main agenda of PAP and this crisis helped the party get 75.3 percent votes in 2001.

The magic had vanished by the next election and PAP's vote share dropped to 66.6 percent in 2006, followed by 60.1 percent in 2011. But in 2015, Singapore's first president from PAP, Lee Kuan Yew died. The party's vote share also increased that year as it secured 69.7 percent votes under the leadership of Lee Hsien Loong, the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew.

Who is Chan Chun Sing?

Chan Chuan Sing is currently the Minister for Trade and Industry. He has also served as Minister-in-Charge of the Public Service, Second Assistant Secretary-General of the country's governing People's Action Party in the Cabinet of current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Chan Chuan Sing represents the Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency since the 2011. He has also served in the Singapore Armed Forces, and he was a Major-General and Chief of Army from 2010 to 2011.