SINGAPORE: The People’s Action Party (PAP) and the Singapore Peoples’ Party (SPP) delivered their Constituency Political Broadcasts for Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency (GRC) on Friday (Jul 3).
All four PAP candidates – Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen, Mr Chee Hong Tat, Mr Saktiandi Supaat and Mr Chong Kee Hiong – delivered their speeches in English, Mandarin and Malay.
The SPP team was represented by party chief Steve Chia, vice-chair Williiamson Lee and Mr Melvyn Chiu. Mr Chia and Mr Chiu spoke in English, while Mr Lee spoke in Mandarin.
The PAP address was broadcast first.
PAP: PROTECTING JOBS, ENSURING EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES
In his speech, Dr Ng, who spoke in English and Mandarin, noted that the COVID-19 outbreak has affected the economy badly.
He said the Government has promised to do all it can to reduce retrenchments, including extraordinary measures to draw down more than S$50 billion from reserves to help companies keep their workers through wage support.
Self-employed people are also included in the schemes, he said.
Despite this, he said some businesses and companies may not survive. Vulnerable residents may lose their jobs and their families will be under “great stress”, he said.
“Together, we must help residents through this difficult period,” Dr Ng said. “Especially for those with financial difficulties, we promise our assistance. If they have children, we want to help them through the community scholarship, ComCare and welfare funds.”
He added: “As we have done so before, we will get through this crisis together.”
Mr Chee, who spoke in English and Mandarin, added that the Government’s top priority is jobs for Singaporeans.
He said the Government has set up the National Jobs Council to ensure that Singaporeans remain employable. “This is my focus at MTI (Ministry of Trade and Industry) and MOE (Ministry of Education), working with colleagues there to create jobs, including in growth sectors like healthcare, early childhood education and training and adult education,” he said.
He added that SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres will be set up in both Bishan and Toa Payoh to organise job fairs and provide job-related services.
The team also touched on municipal issues, with Dr Ng outlining the improvements made over the past five years. These include renovated markets, new covered walkways and drop-off points, as well as a new community club built in Bishan.
Mr Chong, who spoke in English and Mandarin and is also the chairman of the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council, added that within the community, many programmes have been implemented to ensure equal opportunities are available to all.
He highlighted how they have worked together with community partners on mentorship programmes for children with vulnerable families. “These programmes will continue,” he said.
Mr Saktiandi, who spoke in English and Malay, added that close to 4,000 people in the GRC have received community bursaries and bond-free community scholarships from community sourced funds in the last five years.
“Building a strong neighbourhood and strong community spirit is the community’s first line of defence to the deep crisis we face today”, he said.
SPP: CRUCIAL TO DENY PAP THE “POWER TO RUBBER-STAMP POLICIES”
Mr Chia, who is the SPP’s secretary-general, stated that the party is fielding a “small but strong team” that has voters’ best interests at heart.
“Candidates who seek to listen, take action and serve,” he said. “Candidates who are willing to receive your calls and messages personally and come down to meet you in person to help with your problems.”
“This is the kind of service standards we expect to deliver.”
In this regard, Mr Chia pledged to serve as a full-time MP if elected.
He also stressed that it is crucial to deny the PAP the “power to rubber-stamp policies” and “change the constitution to suit their advantage”.
Citing the last presidential election as an example, Mr Chia alleged that the Government had “pushed through their reasoning” in having a reserved election for Malay candidates.
“But are you convinced? Or do you feel deprived of your rights to elect your president?” he asked.
“Together with other non-governing parties, we seek to deny the PAP a two-thirds majority in Parliament.”
Mr Chia also pointed out that there is a need for more conversations and debates on policies and issues in Parliament before they are made into law.
“We want to hold public officers to greater accountability, and we don’t want the PAP to ‘ownself check ownself’.”
He added: “Do you really want to give the PAP another 70 per cent of the vote? Do you want the whole of Parliament to have 93 PAP-elected MPs to speak PAP policies?”
“No. I believe you will want diversity of views. I believe you will want alternative parties with alternative ideas to propose alternative solutions,” he said. “You will also want to have a balanced Parliament to protect against power abuse.”
Mr Chia also said the Government has failed to solve many areas of growing concern, such as rising cost of living, stagnating wages, and income inequality.
“There is no job security unless you are in Government service, and there is no minimum wage to fall back on,” he said. “Why? SPP proposed that there should be a minimum wage law to protect you.”
On his part, Mr Chiu also cited specific issues that the party wants answers for, such as the necessity of raising the goods and services tax to 9 per cent, and building the airport’s Terminal 5, among others.
“We want transparency, we want accountability, and most importantly we want answers to our questions,” he said.
“Remember, you are voting for a Member of Parliament, you are voting for someone who best understands you, you are voting for someone who dares to speak up for you,” he added. “You are not voting for a minister.”
Bishan-Toa Payoh, with 101,366 voters, is the smallest GRC in terms of electors.