SINGAPORE: A Parliament filled with full-time politicians will have politicians with the same blind spot, said the People's Action Party's (PAP) Bukit Batok candidate Murali Pillai on Wednesday (Jul 1).
He was addressing comments made by Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan, who will also run in Bukit Batok SMC. Dr Chee questioned whether a Member of Parliament (MP) with a full-time job would be able to serve his residents effectively.
“Imagine a Parliament filled with just full-time politicians. The Parliament will have politicians with the same blind spot,” Mr Murali told reporters on Wednesday, as he handed out flyers to residents near Bukit View Primary School.
"And that’s why over the years, we have stuck to the policy of drawing into Parliament people from different backgrounds," he said, adding that his experience as a lawyer allows him to comment on legislative Bills.
He cited an example of a pro bono case which led to an expanded mandatory treatment order. The mandatory treatment order covers psychiatric treatment for offenders.
He also addressed several Facebook posts by Dr Chee alleging that Mr Murali had neglected his duties to Bukit Batok residents.
In his posts, Dr Chee highlighted several delayed upgrading projects and safety lapses in the constituency, and asked if Mr Murali was aware of them.
Mr Murali said on Wednesday: "I've reviewed the town council's statement and I note there were some shortcomings. But the nature of shortcomings are not systemic."
The Jurong-Clementi Town Council issued a statement on Wednesday as well, in response to Dr Chee's comments.
People should not "lose sight" of the Jurong-Clementi Town Council’s duty of managing 85,000 residential and commercial units in a "cost-effective" way, said Mr Murali.
“I would also add that as far as the shortcomings are concerned, certainly, action will be taken in relation to the appropriate officer, so that we will make sure that the appropriate level of services are continually delivered," he said.
Mr Murali was also asked for comment about the role the Internet plays during the election campaign, and how allegations can surface against candidates.
He said he hoped politics could evolve in a "responsible way".
"Maybe people of my generation have thick skin – you can take the heat. But I do hope that we will evolve politics in a responsible way, because we must make sure that we continue to attract people who are dedicated to serve Singaporeans," he said.
Mr Murali on Tuesday posted a Facebook video speaking of a "scurrilous attack against my family".
When asked if he had a message for Bukit Batok voters regarding his video, Mr Murali said that he wanted to "move on".
Mr Murali took control of Bukit Batok SMC when he beat Dr Chee in a 2016 by-election, taking 61.2 per cent of the vote. This will be his second time facing Dr Chee at the polls.