GE2020: In Bukit Panjang broadcast, PAP talks town renewal, employment; SDP promises to run town council with residents’ input
SINGAPORE: On Friday (July 3), People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Liang Eng Hwa and Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Paul Tambyah delivered their constituency political broadcasts for the Bukit Panjang Single Member Constituency (SMC), where they are contesting in the General Election.
"I WILL SERVE YOU WELL": PAP'S MR LIANG
Mr Liang spoke first, in English and Mandarin. A former Member of Parliament (MP) for the neighbouring Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency, he began his speech by noting that he had grown up in Bukit Panjang and still lives around the area.
Bukit Panjang has “improved significantly” over the past decade, he said. He pointed to new bus services – which he said he helped to secure – the ongoing S$344 million upgrade of the Bukit Panjang LRT network, as well as future developments such as an upcoming polyclinic and a new hawker centre.
But as the town enters its 30th year, investments are needed for its “continued vibrancy and sustainability” through the upgrading of precincts and blocks, he said.
“The next few months will continue to be difficult,” he cautioned in his English speech.
“I know our residents are concerned about jobs, especially the young job seekers and the workers above the age of 40,” he said, adding that he would work with residents to improve their employability by tapping various jobs and skills upgrading programmes.
“COVID-19 may have created daunting challenges ahead of us, but I humbly commit to you that I’ll walk this journey with you. I’ll serve you well.
“You can count on me to always do the best, do what’s right for Singapore and to take care of our estates.”
"NO MORE INVESTMENTS IN TOXIC FINANCIAL PRODUCTS": SDP'S DR TAMBYAH
SDP chairman Dr Tambyah said his party has been interacting with Bukit Panjang residents since 2011, taking note of issues such as noise levels near loading bays and lift upgrading delays.
Pointing to Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s comments in 2017 about the Bukit Panjang LRT being constructed as an “afterthought” because of “political pressure”, Prof Tambyah questioned who chose the town’s improvement projects.
“The PAP may often confuse our country with a corporation, but it can’t deny necessary services to residents, regardless of who wins the election,” he said.
“The SDP promises that we’ll run the town council ourselves with the active participation of residents. We’ll transparently demand all accounts be released to ensure a smooth transition ... (with) no more investments in toxic financial products.”
Pointing to SDP proposals like suspending the Goods and Services Tax until the end of next year, retrenchment insurance and retirement income for low-income senior citizens, he said the party’s “comprehensive policy papers are all about putting people first”.
“Now how do we pay for this? We’ve calculated that using slightly more of the NIRC (Net Investment Returns Contribution) and raising wealth taxes, we would more than cover the cost, without touching the reserves,” he said.
“Singapore doesn’t have oil or gas or diamonds. Our reserves are built from the sacrifices of our parents and grandparents, who gave up their pensions and cheap health care and housing so that we’d have funds for a rainy day.”
He said the PAP had “recklessly decided to risk the public’s health” by holding the elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim of “wiping out” the opposition.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown overcrowding is a “recipe for disaster”, he added.