The Mandate of Singapore Government

Chun Aik
8 min readJul 1, 2020

Not sure about you, but I feel that the word “mandate” is probably the most popular and overused term in recent times, as we head into GE2020 and as Nomination Day officially kick-starts the campaigning period.

I have been hearing this term for some time now and am intrigued by it. What does it mean by having a “clear mandate is important to tackle challenges ahead”?

What does a “mandate” really mean and how does it help them to tackle the challenges ahead? Why is the ruling party constantly talking about the “mandate” they need so much and how does that relate to citizens?

From my understanding, a mandate is kind of like a duty, a responsibility that is given. What is mandatory means that it is compulsory. Having a mandate means to be given the duty — in this case, the government of the nation — to be carried out.

The word also reminds me of the idea of Mandate of Heaven (天命). The Mandate of Heaven has been used in ancient China to describe when someone has received the blessing of gods and is meant to be the legitimate ruler. When a ruler was overthrown, or when natural disasters happen, it is a sign that the ruler has lost the Mandate of Heaven.

Intrigued by this peculiar word, I decided to do a simple little ‘research’ to find out more. Mainly to just look at some of the recent use of the word to try and understand a little better at what they are saying. The use of the word “mandate” is not something new, it can be traced all the way back to the previous generations of leadership, which is to be expected. However I’m not sure if it has always seen this much usage in times of elections, or is it that I just only begun to pay more attention to the news.

And so begins my journey to figure out the mandate:

Leaders must have strong mandate to navigate external environment, says PM Lee Hsien Loong, The Straits Times, 10 November 2019

One of the earliest time leading up to this year’s GE when the term was used was in November 2019. In this speech during the PAP65 Awards and Convention, PM Lee mentioned the importance of the coming GE and need for political leaders to have the full backing of the people in order for the country to stay on a strong footing.

He mentioned about the winning of a strong mandate and the convincing of Singaporeans to give them a strong mandate for the ruling party to continue as…

Chun Aik

Reality is built upon the perceptions of people.