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GE2020: PSP manifesto articulates vision clearly, PM Lee should consider party's ideas, says candidate Michael Chua

GE2020: PSP manifesto articulates vision clearly, PM Lee should consider party's ideas, says candidate Michael Chua

The Progress Singapore Party's candidate for Tanjong Pagar GRC, Michael Chua (L) with secretary-general, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, speaking to the media during a walkabout at 115 Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre on Jul 7, 2020. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

SINGAPORE: The Progress Singapore Party's (PSP) manifesto articulates the party's vision, providing a clear blueprint for the road forward, said its candidate for Tanjong Pagar GRC, Michael Chua, on Tuesday (Jul 7).

“I believe our manifesto has articulated our vision for Singapore - there is a very clear blueprint of what we need to do to address this issue at the country level for the longer run."

In an online rally on Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong questioned if voters really wanted to choose parties "who in a crisis come up with nothing better than old recycled manifestos".

Speaking to reporters after a walkabout at Bukit Merah View Market, Mr Chua added: "As much as COVID-19 is a very important crisis that is affecting the country, the country should not stop and look at the problem on its own but look at what else needs to be done to address the structural problems affecting us. And the manifesto addresses that.” 

READ: GE2020: PM Lee calls for support from all Singaporeans in getting through COVID-19 crisis

The Progress Singapore Party's candidate for Tanjong Pagar GRC, Michael Chua, during a walkabout at 115 Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre on Jul 7, 2020. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

Mr Chua was joined on the walkabout by fellow PSP candidates for Tanjong Pagar GRC, Ms Wendy Low, Mr Terence Soon, Mr Abas Kasmani and Mr Harish Pillay.

“So perhaps when the PM has time to review our plans, he can consider looking at some of our ideas and incorporating that into whatever they plan to do next,” said Mr Chua.

PSP chief Dr Tan Cheng Bock was also at the walkabout, where he crossed paths with People's Action Party (PAP) incumbent Joan Pereira. The pair exchanged pleasantries.

Ms Pereira is part of the PAP slate made up of Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah, as well new candidates Alvin Tan, a LinkedIn senior executive, and former public servant Eric Chua.

After the walkabout, Dr Tan also stressed that PSP would be able to manage running town councils, should the party's candidates be elected.

“They think that people like us won’t be able run town councils when we are elected, that’s a wrong thing, a wrong assumption ... I remember how we managed it, and I can tell you if you go back to history, we did a very good job," said Dr Tan, who had during his days as a PAP Member of Parliament, chaired a number of town councils.

THE "POLITICS OF FEAR"

Speaking to the media, Dr Tan also noted that he had also observed the "politics of fear" during his time spent walking the ground.

"I noticed something - there's the politics of fear. The PAP (are) always having this politics of fear - fear and reward," he explained. 

"I reward you, you vote for me. If you don't vote for me, you are against me, I don't like you ... Where is that chance for us to have a dialogue? To have a conversation?"

Dr Tan said that he had been told by new citizens that they were afraid to vote against the PAP for fear of losing their citizenship.

The Progress Singapore Party's candidates for Tanjong Pagar GRC and secretary-general, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, during a walkabout at 115 Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre on Jul 7, 2020. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

"Let me tell you, when they give you your citizenship, they just cannot take (it) away. Who can take away your citizenship? You qualified because you stayed here long enough, you have actually acclimatised to the environment, so we accept you as a Singaporean ... So I tell the new citizens, please don't let this politics of fear interfere with your right to choose the right person to go into Parliament."

Tanjong Pagar candidate Wendy Low also stressed the importance of "gentlemanly politics".

"Singapore is too small and fragile to be attacking political opponents based on character or past comments," she said. "We have seen a new generation of young political leaders stepping up and I think that's encouraging, and we actually should give them that platform to say step up, don't be afraid, don't be fearful of being attacked."

Ms Low noted that continuing in the "politics of fear" deprives Singaporeans of the best leaders. 

"I know a lot of qualified professionals, people from different backgrounds who want to step up, but it's because they are so afraid of having their public lives exposed, their social media accounts being trawled from way back ... I think we are doing Singaporeans a disservice by perpetuating that."

Later in the morning, Dr Tan also met Singapore Democratic Party chairman Paul Tambyah at a coffeeshop in Bukit Panjang. Dr Tambyah is contesting Bukit Panjang SMC against PAP's Liang Eng Hwa.

"The Prime Minister has asked for what the opposition parties are doing about COVID and if he was not so disconnected, he would have know that for the past few months, we have been giving comments, suggestions, we've also said explicitly that holding an election during a pandemic is really reckless and dangerous," said Dr Tambyah.

The Progress Singapore Party's (PSP) secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock and the Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) chairman Paul Tambyah meeting residents at Block 257 Bangkit Road on Jul 7, 2020. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

Earlier in the day, Dr Tan had noted that there were a lot of "deficiencies" in how the PAP had managed to COVID-19 situation. He explained how he would have used a "very fundamental" approach to control the infections.

"Instead of doing case tracing, I would do the community tracing for the whole dorm," he said. "The moment I identified those who are well, I (would) quickly take them out, put them in a place (that is) safe and we control what is infected in that dormitory."

Dr Tambyah reiterated that along with Dr Tan, he welcomes the opportunity to have an "open debate" with the PAP.

"They think that we are so incapable of managing COVID-19. We are going to tell them - look, let the Singaporeans decide whether we have the capabilities and also the experience," added Dr Tan.

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of GE2020 and its developments

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Source: CNA/zl(ac)

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