SINGAPORE: Besides tangible achievements, the Workers’ Party (WP) believes that Singapore needs “positive changes” in the “intangible aspects”, party chair Sylvia Lim said on Thursday (Jul 9).
“Singaporeans are proud of our country’s tangible achievements. Even as an opposition party, we give credit to the PAP’s (People’s Action Party) founders for our physical infrastructure and efficient systems,” she said in a televised party political broadcast.
“But what about the intangible aspects? Can positive changes happen in Singapore so that we embrace openness to other views, culture and creativity, transparency, kindness, fairness and happiness?”
In her speech, Ms Lim called on Singaporeans to “imagine, envision, yearn for and dream” of these possibilities.
She asked Singaporeans to imagine a country where “the huge power imbalance that now exists with the Government dominating and controlling the people is changed”, diverse voices are heard with policies “not pre-decided and bulldozed through”, as well as the civil society playing a “significant role” in discussing issues and suggesting ideas.
“Envision a Singapore where the Government accepts opposition parties and others who speak up as Singaporeans who love our country, rather than nuisances to be fixed,” said Ms Lim.
Singapore can also be a place where artists, writers, actors and other creatives “have the same respect and protections” as other developed nations, and where there is “press freedom far greater than our current ranking of 158th in the world”, she added.
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She also called on voters to yearn for a Singapore where organisations that spend taxpayers’ money, such as the People's Association, “are run equitably and not used to reinforce the PAP’s control”.
“Where places in schools are allocated fairly, rather than preferentially to those in committees run by PAP MPs and advisers,” Ms Lim added.
“Where there is transparency regarding our CPF (Central Provident Fund) money and national reserves, and openness about the salaries of those who invest, and are paid, the people’s money – just as there is elsewhere.”
Singaporeans should dream of a country where they can enjoy the same work-life balance in other developed countries, seniors working “only if they choose to”, and where the promotion of fairness and happiness are the Government’s “primary goals”.
“The PAP would have you believe that having such an open and fair society with press freedom will cripple a Government’s ability to act quickly and firmly,” she said. “COVID-19 has shown that this is a false scare tactic.”
Ms Lim pointed to how countries like New Zealand, Denmark, Australia and South Korea have successfully tackled the pandemic.
She described these countries as “economically successful” and having “competent governments”, while being “robust democracies where changes of the party in power at election time are considered normal”.
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“Every one of them is in the top 45 countries in the world when it comes to press freedom. Singapore is in the bottom 25,” she said.
New Zealand, Denmark and Finland also rank higher than Singapore among countries with the least corruption, she added, noting that this “is done with leaders who earn far lower salaries that ours do”.
Ms Lim asked: “These countries enjoy tangible success and yet still embrace intangible ideals. Can’t we visualise a Singapore that has both, too?”
The WP believes that “such positive change in Singapore can happen if enough of us work for it”, with some of its younger candidates joining the party because they “have imagined a Singapore that can truly be even better”, she said.
“Imagine, envision, yearn for and dream, of openness, transparency, kindness and fairness,” Ms Lim said.
“Make your vote count. Vote for the Workers’ Party.”
The WP – the only opposition party who had MPs in the last Parliament – is contesting 21 seats this election in four Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) and two Single Member Constituencies (SMCs).