GE2020: In Tanjong Pagar broadcast, PAP sketches out a 'home with heart'; PSP calls for 'systemic reform'
SINGAPORE: The People’s Action Party (PAP) laid out its initiatives for Tanjong Pagar GRC residents, while the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) outlined their ideas for reform, in the constituency political broadcast for the Group Representation Constituency on Wednesday (Jul 8).
As the incumbents, the five-member PAP team went first.
PAP: “YOU ARE NOT ALONE, ESPECIALLY IN THIS TIME OF CRISIS”
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah, 57, spoke in Malay, then English, promising to do more for Tanjong Pagar residents.
“We will introduce green initiatives, we will add new social programmes to existing ones to help residents in need of help and support,” she said.
“We will look after our seniors, we will strengthen that special bond so that you know you are part of the bigger community and you are not alone, especially in this time of crisis.”
She said that Tanjong Pagar was more than a constituency. “It is also a home with heart,” she said.
“The PAP’s long history of service to Singapore and Singaporeans began in Tanjong Pagar. Our team will honour that legacy and build on it to improve lives for all.”
Mr Alvin Tan, 39, spoke in English and Mandarin. The LinkedIn executive spoke about the social programmes he has been involved in since he started community service in the Chinatown area about 16 years ago.
Mr Eric Chua, 41, said that he became a father just three weeks ago and it got him thinking hard about life.
“Many say it takes a village to raise a child … I hope my son can grow up in a village where every child can have a fair chance to succeed in life, regardless of their starting points,” said the former civil servant, who is also a long-time volunteer in the GRC.
Initiatives he would work on include helping those impacted by pandemic and helping the elderly and hawkers go digital, he added, before concluding his address in Mandarin.
Speaking in Mandarin and English, Ms Joan Pereira, 52, who had been a Member of Parliament (MP) in Tanjong Pagar since 2015, noted that many programmes have been organised to help residents in need, particularly the elderly.
“I have been with my residents in challenging times and in good times, and I will continue to work hard for you,” she said.
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, 50, started in Mandarin before giving an English speech to round off the team’s broadcast.
“Our founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew has set high standards for us, to take care of Singapore, take care of Tanjong Pagar and to take care of our residents,” he said. “Our team is determined to do our best to uphold these high standards.”
He said that the PAP will keep its promises and do its best for Singaporeans and for the country.
PSP: “NO ONE SHOULD BE LEFT BEHIND – NO ONE”
PSP organising secretary Michael Chua, 55, started by reassuring residents that the team would be able to manage a town council if elected.
He said that a “PAP-dominated” Parliament is not working well because of “group-think” and asked for Singaporeans to vote for their team for a “better and stronger” Parliament.
Too many PAP MPs come from the same background, such as the military or civil service, he said.
“They’ve always voted in favour of all policies. No PAP MP has ever seriously disagreed except for Dr Tan Cheng Bock,” he said. “For these reasons, we have to break this calcified mould and bring a new vision and fresh ideas to Parliament.”
Lawyer Wendy Low, 43, called for “systemic reform” in Singapore for social security, job creation and to promote sustainable growth.
She called for a minimum “living” wage, and a national database on the homeless and the “invisible poor” living in three- to five-room flats, as well as economic and training initiatives like making Singapore an ASEAN hub for corporate universities.
“Industry and start-up leaders can set the curricula and close the gap between market needs and available graduates’ skill sets,” she added. “An industry-driven curricula will mitigate the excuse to import more foreign talent.”
Ms Low said that one of the party’s aims will be affordable and holistic healthcare: “We should address mental well-being like any other ordinary illness. Zero suicide should be a national goal.”
IT executive Harish Pillay, 60, highlighted PSP’s proposals including a review of Singapore’s free trade agreements, promoting a more vibrant small- and medium-size enterprise sector, and energy sustainability.
The Singapore-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, for instance, “needs serious review because it is hurting our local PMETs and fresh graduates”, he said, adding that even where FTAs benefit the economy, “we must make sure that the impact on the ground is fair and equitable”.
Mr Pillay also said that Singapore should switch to a 100 per cent electric public transport system to diversify the country’s energy systems to renewable sources.
The PSP stands for diversity and inclusion, Mr Pillay noted. “We need diverse voices in Parliament. We do not need a parliament full of yes-men who allow the Government to rule for the few instead of all of us. No one should be left behind – no one.”
Mr Abas Kasmani, 67, a senior trainer and consultant, spoke in Malay, while Mr Terence Soon, a 29-year-old pilot, spoke in Mandarin.
This is only the second time Tanjong Pagar GRC, which has 134,642 voters, has been challenged by an opposition party. In 2015, the PAP ran against the now-defunct Singaporeans First led by Mr Tan Jee Say in Tanjong Pagar, and won with 78 per cent of the vote.