SINGAPORE: A truly united Singapore would mean having a Parliament that reflects all views, said Progress Singapore Party (PSP) secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock during a party political broadcast on Thursday (Jul 9).
Speaking a day ahead of Polling Day, Dr Tan said this General Election is no ordinary one, pointing to the need to find solutions for the future and “rallying together as one nation to defeat the COVID-19 crisis”.
“The PAP (People’s Action Party) is telling you that to overcome this crisis, they must have (a) complete mandate of all 93 seats in Parliament,” said the 80-year-old.
Dr Tan was the PAP’s Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayer Rajah for 26 years, before stepping down in 2006.
“Their idea of a Singapore together is domination, with no opposition MPs elected into Parliament,” he said.
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But a better vision of Singapore together, one that is “truly of one heart and one mind”, can be built, he added.
“A truly united Singapore means having a Parliament that reflects all views, and not just the PAP view or the group-think of a single political party.”
Instead, it would involve the “collective wisdom of different thoughts, experiences and ideas”, which would help the country not be blindsided when important decisions need to be made, Dr Tan said.
There must be trust between the people and the Government so that there can be a Singapore that is “truly together”, he added.
To achieve this, the PSP would push for “transparency, independence and accountability in Government” if elected, he said, adding that the party would “ask the questions no PAP MP will dare to ask” in Parliament.
“To make them account for their actions, like how they appoint office holders. To make them work harder for you. To remind them that they are public servants, and not political masters,” said Dr Tan.
This is especially important as billions of dollars from Singapore’s reserves have already been earmarked for the country’s COVID-19 recovery measures, he noted.
“This is the biggest government budget in history. So it is vital for Singapore to put independent eyes in Parliament to check that our money is spent wisely,” he said.
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The retired general practitioner added that Singapore’s pandemic recovery measures should not be focused on jobs alone, but also aim to protect “lives as well as livelihoods” in this ongoing fight against the coronavirus.
“Protecting lives means reshaping national policies from a community healthcare angle. To bring the virus spread under total control. Unless we reduce infection rates, foreign investors and tourists will not come to Singapore,” he said.
Virus control must be Singapore’s top priority, he added.
“Sadly, (in) this campaign, we have heard little from the PAP on their virus control plans. They took their eyes off the virus.”
As for protecting livelihoods, Dr Tan noted the PSP’s manifesto contained details of the party’s proposals regarding issues such as the Central Provident Fund and housing, and what can be done to prioritise local businesses and workers.
“As borders take time to reopen, we will make sure the Government spends our reserves to nurture strong local businesses. To grow local supply chains. And to encourage innovation,” he said.
“This is important because local businesses will be Singapore’s growth catalyst in our post-COVID economy,” he added.
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Dr Tan closed his speech by thanking supporters, telling younger voters that they “deserve a future that (they) can believe in” when the COVID-19 crisis ends. He also promised senior voters that their health and safety would be his top priority in the fight against the coronavirus.
He also addressed all other voters, noting they may have voted many times before.
“But this time, you can vote for transparency, accountability and independence. To check on how the next Government spends our reserves. And also to build a real Singapore together that includes non-PAP voices,” he said.
“If we stand together as Singaporeans, there is not a force in this world that can tear us apart. I believe this with all of my heart. And you must believe this too.”
Led by Dr Tan, the PSP is fielding 24 candidates in this General Election.
The party is contesting in four Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) - namely West Coast, Nee Soon, Tanjong Pagar and Chua Chu Kang - as well as five Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) - Hong Kah North, Pioneer, Yio Chu Kang, Kebun Baru and Marymount.