SINGAPORE: Residents do not feel "valued" by the Government and are "really hurt", said Red Dot United's chairperson Michelle Lee on Tuesday (Jul 7).
Together with Ms Lee, Red Dot United's secretary-general Ravi Philemon, Ms Liyana Dhamirah, Mr Nicholas Tang and Mr Alec Tok Kim Yam, form the team contesting in Jurong GRC this General Election.
They are coming up against a People's Action Party (PAP) team led by Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry and Foreign Affairs Tan Wu Meng, Ms Rahayu Mahzam, and new candidates Mr Shawn Huang and Mr Xie Yao Quan.
Ms Lee said: "I think Singaporeans really feel very sad. They really feel like, 'does our Government value us?'
"Because they don't feel it. And I think it's very hurtful, right, it's like when you're a child and you feel like your parent doesn't love you. I think that really hurts."
Speaking during party’s evening walkabout on Tuesday evening, Ms Lee said she was glad the residents of Jurong GRC have an “alternative” to consider at the upcoming polls.
If not for her party, there would be “a large number that just would not have their voices heard at all”, she added.
“That’s why (this) has great meaning for us,” she said.
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Ms Lee and Mr Philemon, who both founded Red Dot United, also addressed Mr Tharman's Facebook Live broadcast on Tuesday afternoon.
“Nice-sounding promises” on what can be done - such as allowing people to get payouts from their Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts much earlier, or having the Government pay for health care costs - tend to come up during elections, the Senior Minister said during the broadcast.
However, many such measures end up hurting the people they are trying to help, he added.
Mr Tharman also said that for a lot of the schemes for later years – such as CPF Life, MediShield Life and CareShield Life – the Government and the people have to take collective responsibility at the end of the day.
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The basic rationale of schemes such as the CPF system or MediShield Life is one of collective responsibility, he said.
“We cannot leave each other to fend for ourselves," Mr Tharman said.
"We cannot say that everyone decides for himself and somehow things are going to end up rosy. Some people will take care of themselves very well.
"The rich will end up somehow being able to take care of themselves and doing better. And the poor will end up in tougher straits and more difficult circumstances. We have to take collective responsibility for each other."
Ms Lee said that the collective responsibility falls under the "Government’s ambit".
“It is the Government that must take collective responsibility for every single person. But as individuals, as Singaporeans, please don’t lump us together. We are people, we matter,” she added.
"They have to recognise that they are disempowering us by taking away choices from us, and it leads to us being more anxious, and more unhappy."
Mr Philemon said: "Our big message is that Singaporeans must be given more choices, the policies which inhibit Singaporeans from being more self reliant must be made more flexible, because only when policies are made more flexible and Singaporeans are given more choices, can we really be the captains of our own lives."
Ms Lee called for handouts to be legislated and a "sort of responsibility" of the Government.
"So that they see it is their duty, and not as they feel moved by the times, or how much money is in their kitty, they give what they feel like giving,” she added.