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GE2020: In Pasir Ris-Punggol broadcast, PAP offers stable and secure future; PV promises to put people first; SDA says 'enough is enough'

GE2020: In Pasir Ris-Punggol broadcast, PAP offers stable and secure future; PV promises to put people first; SDA says 'enough is enough'

Teo Chee Hean of People's Action Party, Jireh Lim of Peoples Voice and Desmond Lim of Singapore Democratic Alliance, three of the candidates contesting Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, speaking at the constituency political broadcast on Jul 6, 2020.

SINGAPORE: In their constituency political broadcasts for Pasir Ris-Punggol - the only GRC to see a three-cornered fight this election - the People's Action Party (PAP) outlined their plans for a "stable and secure" future, the Peoples Voice (PV) promised to put the interests of the people first and the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) said "enough is enough".

As the incumbents, candidates from the five-member PAP team spoke first, followed by PV and SDA.

PAP: FOR A "STABLE AND SECURE FUTURE"

Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean said the PAP has been with residents "through good times and difficult times".

READ: GE2020: Pasir Ris-Punggol only GRC with three-cornered fight, involving PAP, SDA and Peoples Voice

He pointed to the "many new developments" in Pasir Ris and Punggol over the past 20 years and spoke of "exciting plans in the years ahead". Pasir Ris is due for a makeover, including a new Cross Island MRT line connecting Pasir Ris and Punggol towns and the rest of the country.

He also flagged the new Punggol Digital District, which is set to bring education and jobs closer to home for residents.

Mr Teo gave his speech in English. The three new PAP candidates, social entrepreneur care engineer Yeo Wan Ling, aerospace engineer Sharael Taha and former People's Association head Desmond Tan Kok Ming spoke next.

Mr Tan gave his speech in English, Ms Yeo in both English and Mandarin and Mr Sharael in English and Malay. Party whip Janil Puthucheary rounded off the PAP team's speeches in English.

Teo Chee Hean, Yeo Wan Ling, Sharael Taha, Desmond Tan and Janil Puthucheary of the People's Action Party team contesting Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC speaking at the constituency political broadcast on Jul 6, 2020.

Ms Yeo said that although this is her first election, she is not new to serving the community, pointing to her experience working with thousands of families for their caregiving needs.

Mr Sharael shared his experience "working with cutting-edge technologies" in cars, oil rigs, aircraft engines and factories across the world. Speaking about the rise of the digital economy and the expected changes to the industries as they evolve, he said he wants to work with residents to help them develop the right skillsets and create good jobs.

READ: GE2020: Singapore's education system prepares young people to have flexibility, skills to prepare for any job, says SM Teo

Mr Tan, who has spent 30 years in public service, said he belongs to the sandwiched generation with ageing parents to look after and young children to support, and wants to help his generation as they face major changes in the workplace.

Mr Puthucheary rounded off the speeches by reiterating Pasir Ris' "extensive rejuvenation exercise" and Punggol's ongoing growth.

He said COVID-19 "now threatens every aspect of our society" and that "we need to work hard and to get this right to secure our future and create opportunities for our children".

PV: THINGS HAVE GONE WRONG, WE WILL DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY

Personal driver Jireh Lim, also known as Simon, spoke first for PV.

He said that while PV may be a new party, they are not "a stupid, irresponsible or a troublemaker party".

He said that "many things have gone wrong under the present PAP Government", pointing to the number of COVID-19 cases that he called "horrific and an international disgrace", and the corruption case in Ang Mo Kio Town Council.

He also made criticisms about the Central Provident Fund (CPF), and said that PV will abide by the guiding principle of putting people first if they are elected.

READ: GE2020: Peoples Voice introduces 9 candidates, including blogger Leong Sze Hian and activist Gilbert Goh

Mr Lim's other party members each flagged a specific issue. Business financial manager Prabu Ramachandran spoke about Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats, saying that residents bought their flats with past governments telling them "that the price of your HDB will not go down, HDB is a good sound investment" and a retirement nest egg.

"And just as a short while as last year, the Minister for National Development mentioned that at the end of your 99 years, HDB would take back your flats and it will be no value to you. How could you let this be?" he said.

(Left to right) Jireh Lim, Prabu Ramachandran, Mohamed Nassir, Vigneswari Ramachandran and Gilbert Goh of the Peoples Voice team contesting Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC speaking at the constituency political broadcast on Jul 6, 2020.

Pre-school educator Vigneswari Ramachandran spoke about "rising pre-school fees", saying that salaries have to increase alongside the cost of living.

"The PAP behave elitist. They do not understand the struggles and difficulties ordinary Singaporeans like yourself and me go through," she said, adding that she will speak up on social issues if elected. 

Freelance economics lecturer Mohamed Nassir Ismail said Singaporeans are "struggling for a living in a most expensive city", while activist Gilbert Goh spoke about the elderly poor who "have to work as cleaners" instead of retiring.

The PV team gave their speeches in English.

SDA: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

SDA chairman Desmond Lim spoke in Mandarin, while secretary-general Abu Mohamed spoke in Malay.

READ: GE2020: SDA's Desmond Lim 'very confident', says redrawing of boundaries won't affect him

In the English speeches, new candidate Kelvin Ong, a facilities management officer, asked if people can keep up with the CPF minimum sum with "the current state of wages and cost of living".

Another new face, electrical engineer Kuswadi Atnawi, said the SDA is contesting in these "trying times" to deny the incumbent the majority in Parliament, so that "they would not pass any Bill or any policies that will cause more strain to our lives and livelihoods".

He listed issues such as employment, CPF, housing and cost of living, and said the party hopes to seek "the right answers from our ministers and MPs".

(Left to right) Desmond Lim, Abu Mohamed, Kelvin Ong Soon Huat, Kuswadi Bin Atnawi and and Harminder Pal Singh of the Singapore Democratic Alliance team contesting Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC speaking at the constituency political broadcast on Jul 6, 2020.

Chief media officer Harminder Pal Singh said the SDA had "expected the PAP-led Government to do such a irresponsible thing" and call the election "during a time when Singaporeans like you and me are suffering from COVID-19, a rise in dengue cases".

"Touch your heart, ask yourself – 'Why, why did they do this to call for an election at such an irresponsible time?'" he said. "Shouldn’t the Government be focusing on helping people succeed? Instead, it wants to put your lives at risk. But what is done is done."

He also spoke of how "there are people who laugh at us". SDA contested in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC in the last three elections but has never won, and chairman Mr Lim was criticised for his command of English in 2015.

"They say - 'Why not give up, since you lost before.' And we say the SDA will never give up," said Mr Singh. "And the simple reason is: We have walked the ground in Pasir Ris-Punggol for 13 years. We feel the pain of the bad policies."

If elected, the party will challenge the Government to return CPF in full at retirement age, use an extra 1 per cent of GDP to help poor families, tighten immigration controls and enact fair labour policies as well as stop "irresponsible spending on extravagant government projects".

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of GE2020 and its developments

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Source: CNA/ll

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