SINGAPORE: The People's Action Party's (PAP) Dr Vivian Balakrishnan had harsh words for the policies proposed by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), saying that they are "tax and spend" programmes that will ultimately lead the country to bankruptcy.
In the coming election, Dr Balakrishnan will be leading his team to contest against SDP - helmed by Dr Chee Soon Juan - in the four-member Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency (GRC). Both teams were confirmed as candidates on Tuesday, Sep 1, which was Nomination Day.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Dr Balakrishnan said that over the coming hustings ahead of Polling Day on Sep 11, his team will show that SDP has copied policy prescriptions that have failed elsewhere.
"Over the next few days when we dissect the policies, you will see that at the bottom of it all is tax, spend, cut essential services and investments - including defence - that will put our country at risk. And ultimately, this leads to bankruptcy and leads to a very big bill being passed to our children," he said.
"The point I'm making is that these are not new ideas. These are ideas cut, copied and pasted from other parts of the world which have failed."
Dr Balakrishnan - who is currently Environment and Water Resources Minister - did not specify which of the SDP policies he was referring to.
The opposition party has proposed several alternative ideas on issues including the economy and healthcare. For instance, it has suggested increasing social spending and raising personal incomes taxes for the top 1 per cent earners. It also proposed divesting inefficient Government-linked companies (GLCs) which it noted are competing with, and slowing down the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Dr Balakrishnan said: "In other words, the SDP will set us on a road to Greece. It is the duty of my team to awaken Singaporeans to the dangers of such policy prescriptions."
He said that the coming elections will be about choosing the future direction of Singapore and the type of leadership that voters want.
"I offer a team that has been here, that has a track record that is well-known. We are not perfect, but people know we are straight, and we would never betray the trust and confidence of our voters," said Dr Balakrishnan, who first entered politics in 2001.
This coming election will see Dr Balakrishnan anchor a team comprising Minister of State Sim Ann, lawyer Christopher De Souza and DBS Bank managing director Liang Eng Hwa. They are all incumbent MPs who also contested in the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC in the last election. They then defeated a team from SDP, winning just over 60 per cent of the votes.
This time around, they will face off against the same party, but against a different slate of candidates.
The SDP team will be led by Dr Chee Soon Juan. Other members in his line-up include National University of Singapore Yong Yoo Lin School of Medicine Professor Paul Tambyah, compliance auditor Sidek Mallek, and healthcare administrator Chong Wai Fung.
The coming election will also be the first that Dr Chee is set to contest since the 2001 polls. He was barred from contesting in the 2006 and 2011 polls as he was an undischarged bankrupt.