SINGAPORE: Securing and creating jobs remain the "top priority" for the People's Action Party (PAP), said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (Jul 4).
Speaking in a Facebook Live video with the party's candidates contesting in Sengkang GRC, Mr Lee said while schemes are currently in place, proper implementation is also required to ensure they benefit Singaporeans.
"Jobs are our top priority. We have all kinds of schemes to secure the existing jobs, to help people who lose their jobs or lose pay, and also to create new jobs so that they replace existing ones and enable the economy to grow again," said Mr Lee, who was responding a question on how Singaporeans could better secure jobs.
READ: GE2020: Make ‘full use’ of jobs and skills package to keep training, DPM Heng tells firms and workers
"But all these schemes are just schemes unless we can implement them well on the ground and make sure they reach every worker. And that's what we have been doing," he said.
Mr Lee gave the example of virtual career fairs and the setting up of 24 satellite career centres across Singapore to help residents.
"So the resources are available, the schemes are available, and we are doing our best to help," he said. "What we need to do is to have the MPs who will be able to know what the schemes are, and also connect the schemes with the residents, make sure that the residents get in touch with the right people."
"WHY SETTLE FOR PAP-LITE?": MR LEE
Mr Lee also called on voters from Sengkang GRC not to settle for "PAP-lite" in the form of the Workers' Party (WP) when they go to the polls.
The WP line-up contesting in Sengkang GRC comprises Dr Jamus Lim, 44, associate professor of economics at ESSEC Business School; Ms Raeesah Khan, 26, a NGO director; Ms He Ting Ru, 37, head of legal and communications at a multinational company; and Mr Louis Chua, 33, Credit Suisse's equity research analyst.
They will face Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ng Chee Meng, Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport Lam Pin Min, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health Amrin Amin, and new face Raymond Lye, who is a lawyer.
"If you look at the other opposition parties, they all say they want to help workers – I mean they have to say that. But they have no plans to deal with the crisis," said Mr Lee.
"And if you look what is in their manifesto, like the Workers' Party manifesto – Workers' Party is standing in Sengkang.
"What they do, they take the PAP's plan, they say, 'very good, here are a few holes, please patch the holes, here are a few places where you can add more money, make it cheaper, do more, work harder'. I also can," Mr Lee said.
During a televised debate on Wednesday, the PAP's Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said that people called the WP “PAP lite or PAP-like”, adding that the WP uses PAP’s stand as a reference and takes a “half step to the left”.
Addressing reporters' questions in response to Dr Balakrishnan's remark, WP chief Pritam Singh said that if that was the case, he hoped the PAP would take up all the WP's manifesto points and introduce them into their agenda. That would lead to a "more caring and compassionate society", he added.
Mr Lee urged voters to support the PAP team contesting in Sengkang GRC.
"As Vivian said on the TV debate a few days ago, this is PAP-lite. But I tell you, why do you want to settle for PAP-lite? The real thing is much better and here in Sengkang you have the real thing with the four members of our PAP team," said Mr Lee.
Formed earlier this year, the new constituency has more than 120,000 voters and is made up of the former single seats of Sengkang West and Punggol East, as well as the Sengkang Central ward of Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC. The areas under the new GRC are Compassvale, Rivervale and Anchorvale.