SINGAPORE: Political parties contesting in the General Election must produce “concrete plans” to deal with issues faced by Singaporeans, not just make "broad statements", said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Saturday (Jul 4).
The world is possibly going to face "the most serious recession it has faced in a very long time" as it battles COVID-19, Mr Shanmugam said, warning that it could be the "greatest crisis since the Second World War". With the coronavirus not cleared, it is a "health crisis and an economic crisis", he added.
"I think it's important that every party sets out not just, you know, some broad statements, but what are your plans to deal with that? What are you putting forward? It's not just a question of some soundbites," the minister said.
Mr Shanmugam is leading a five-member People's Action Party (PAP) team contesting in Nee Soon GRC this General Election. The team includes Senior Parliamentary Secretary Faishal Ibrahim, former Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng as well as new faces Mr Derrick Goh and Ms Carrie Tan.
They are coming up against a team from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), made up of Mr Damien Tay, Mr Taufik Supan, Ms Kala Manickam, Mr S Nallakaruppan and Mr Brad Bowyer.
"Even if you're there to check (on the ruling party), what are your alternative policies?" Mr Shanmugam asked of the opposition party.
"I think that people need to ask and I think many people have asked. I have looked at the manifesto of the candidates who are competing here and I don't find any answers on these questions."
Mr Shanmugam was speaking reporters during a walkabout with Mr Goh on Saturday.
“So the question is, what are you (the opposition) running for Parliament for? You've got to have a plan and a policy for people,” said Mr Shanmugam.
He added the PAP has set out what it has achieved at a local level in Nee Soon over the last five years and before that, as well as what it seeks to do over the next five years, in “concrete terms”.
Mr Shanmugam also said the PSP did not know the ground in Nee Soon GRC.
He pointed at how the incumbent MPs has worked with the community, including Mr Ng’s work with Project HOPE, which provides low-income families with donated food items, appliances and children’s toys and books.
READ: GE2020: Progress Singapore Party launches manifesto, says ‘economy must serve Singaporeans, rather than the other way around’
It is “very clear” that the PSP has "no plans" for Nee Soon GRC, Mr Shanmugam said.
"And when asked, Mr Bowyer said, 'oh, we'll give more jobs as cleaners to Singaporeans in the town council'. So those are his plans for Nee Soon. Well and good," the minister added.
"But I personally think that Nee Soon residents deserve better. And then, making your focal point 'I will make more Singaporeans cleaners', if that's your only plan, let the residents judge."