SINGAPORE: Calling Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat's move from Tampines GRC to East Coast GRC a "sudden departure", the vice president of the National Solidarity Party (NSP) questioned the motivations behind the move and said residents' interests should come first.
"I've walked around and there are people who are surprised that Swee Keat actually made a sudden departure from Tampines to East Coast. So my question is, not (to) him, (but) the party: Does the party have the interest of the people? Or it's for their own interest?" Mr Mohd Ridzwan said on Thursday (Jul 2) during a walkabout in Tampines.
Speaking to CNA on the NSP's decision to contest in Tampines GRC, Mr Ridzwan, who is running in a General Election for the first time, said sending a team of candidates to the constituency was like sending a "suicide squad" as they had expected to face up against political heavyweights like Mr Heng and Minister of Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli.
READ: GE2020: PAP's fielding of Heng Swee Keat in East Coast had 'element of strategic surprise', says WP's Pritam Singh
Despite the potentially challenging circumstances the NSP was anticipating, they were resolute in their nomination as candidates as they felt that they had to give voters options at the polling station, Mr Ridzwan said.
The NSP team - comprising party president Reno Fong, vice president Mohd Ridzwan, Choong Hon Heng and Eugene Yeo - distributed party pamphlets to the morning rush hour crowd in the area around the bus interchange and Tampines MRT station.
The fifth candidate, Vincent Ng, was not able to join his fellow candidates on the walkabout as he had personal matters to attend to.
Following Mr Heng's departure, the PAP's team in Tampines GRC is now led by Mr Zulkifli, together with Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, Mr Baey Yam Keng, Mr Desmond Choo and Ms Cheng Li Hui.
TWO-TIER GST, CPF WITHDRAWALS FOR HAJ
On matters of policy, while NSP has indicated in its manifesto that a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 7 per cent should be kept, Mr Ridzwan said the party is also studying an option of a two-tier GST in which goods deemed as basic necessities are exempt from the tax.
"Our position here is - no, don't raise the GST. Let's be pragmatic. But then again, could we look into the mechanism and see if we can give zero GST to basic necessities? For example, these could be rice or cooking oil as a minimum."
"For those who want to buy (at) a premium, because they can afford (it) - they want a better quality - that's where we have the two-tier GST."
Mr Ridzwan also said that there should be an option for first-time Muslim pilgrims to make CPF withdrawals to finance their Haj.
The NSP candidates wrapped up their walkabout, which started at 7.45am, at around 9am and left for a meeting at their party headquarters.