GE2015: Highlights from 4 rallies held on Day 5

GE2015: Highlights from 4 rallies held on Day 5
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Four rallies by four parties were held across Singapore on Sunday night, Day 5 of the 2015 General Election. AsiaOne was at the rallies held by the Workers' Party (WP) and Reform Party (RP). Here are some of the highlights:

Reform Party rally at Delta Hockey Pitch for Radin Mas SMC

1. Healthcare

Blogger Roy Ngerng questioned why Singaporeans could withdraw only 1.5% of Medisave for use in 2013. "Where did our Medisave go?" he asked.

Mr Ngerng also said that hospitals in Singapore look like five-star hotels but Singaporeans cannot afford to pay for them. "Hospitals look so pretty but they're only good for the PAP to show off to other countries," he said.

He also talked about a man he knew who died because his family could not afford the hospital bills.

Siva Chandran added that all Singaporeans should be given free education and healthcare.

2. Minority candidate

Radin Mas candidate Kumar Appavoo says there is no minority candidate from the PAP in any of the SMCs.

He says he is determined to reach out to the residents despite being a minority candidate.

"I want to serve not only Indians or Malays but the Chinese (also), because they are the ones who are going to put me in Parliament and I will take care of them," he says.

3. Increasing defence budget

RP Secretary-general Kenneth Jeyaretnam said, "We are not a party of distribution. We do not believe in taking money out of the defence budget to put into other areas". He added that RP would consider increasing the defence budget, forming a professional army and reducing national service to one year.

He also said that the party would release its manifesto on Monday.

Workers' Party rally at Simei Road for East Coast GRC

1. Hawker centres are dying out, and so is Singapore identity

Candidate for Nee Soon GRC Ron Tan said that hawker centres, which are a crucial element of the Singapore identity, are dying out because of poor management by the PAP.

He questioned Dr Vivian Balakrishnan's past comment that rental costs formed just a small fraction of hawker stall costs, saying Dr Balakrishnan would go out out of business as a hawker in no time with figures like that.

"Do you only want the PAP to decide which stays and which gets bulldozed?" Mr Tan said.

2. Importance of dialects

Mr Tan also slammed the PAP's discouragement of the usage of dialects in the past, saying many now can't hold conversations with their grandparents.

3. Lee Hsien Loong posters

Fengshan SMC candidate Dennis Tan questioned the need for having posters of Lee Hsien Loong in wards other than the one he's standing for, suggesting it is unfair and that it may confuse some residents.

"What does this show? What? Is the PAP afraid of losing more seats? And that Lee Hsien Loong have no confidence in his teammates? We're not having a presidential election. Imagine if we do the same thing and put Mr Low Thia Khiang's photo everywhere - they will probably ask us to take it down," he said.

4. Talent-ready approach

East Coast GRC candidate Daniel Goh compared the PAP's "future-ready approach" against the WP's "talent-ready approach".

In the latter, the Government will "support institutions that empower citizens to become talents", and "foster a talent-ready society that frees the people to excel in many diverse ways".

5. Flats for divorcees and young couples

Punggol East SMC candidate Lee Li Lian called for measures to make it easier for divorcees and young couples to get housing, or family planning would get delayed.

She said that the HDB should aim to keep the current first-timer application rate at 1.5 to minimise costs and prevent backlog.

6. Punggol East accounts

WP chief and Aljunied GRC candidate Low Thia Khiang stood by his claim that there was clearly a $280,000 loss in the Punggol East Town Council accounts when the WP took over in April 2013.

This comes after PAP candidate for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Zainal Sapari rebutted the claim in a Facebook post today, saying Punggol East had an actual net surplus at the point of takeover.

Singapore Democratic Party rally at Jurong East Stadium for Yuhua SMC

1. Land price

Dr Chee Soon Juan recited lyrics from a Hokkien song 'If I had a million dollars' at the start of his speech.

He told supporters that higher price of land is the main driver of higher living costs in Singapore. This is because the Government determines the price of land parcels and therefore also the prices of flats and homes. Consumers also have to pay higher prices for goods as a result of high land prices, he said.

He also said that high property prices cause local businesses to face steeper cost pressures and in turn hire cheaper foreign labour. "It lowers productivity and increases unemployment and under employment," he said.

He added that land should not belong to the Government but to all Singaporeans. "This land belongs to all of us," he says. "It shouldn't be used by the Government for profit," he says, adding that it should be used for "the common good", and to make life easier for all Singaporeans.

2. YOG budget

Dr Chee brought up the Youth Olympic Games budget when he mentioned that he was criticised for his economic proposals.

"Dr Balakrishnan if you are listening to my speech and I'm sure you are, you have absolutely no moral authority to tell Singaporeans that they will squander their savings when you outspend the YOG budget by $300 million dollars!" Dr Chee said during the rally.

He said the Government can make such statements about Singaporeans because there is no effective opposition in Parliament.

Chee also commented on Dr Vivian Balakrishnan's statement that there are only two kinds of people who would work without incentive - those who are wealthy and those who are corrupt.

Dr Chee shouted: "Do you know how insulting that is to the hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers helping us and other organisations and have never demanded a single cent in return?"

Singapore People's Party rally at Stadium Drive for Mountbatten SMC

1. 'Tigress in Parliament'

Former MP Chiam See Tong and his wife Lina showed up at the rally, to strong cheers from supporters, in support of contesting candidate Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss.

In the same rhetoric as last night's rally, Mrs Chiam said that the SPP has kept the Government in check on issues such as CPF, over-population, and the recent Attorney-General's Chambers report on lapses in public bodies.

She said the SPP has a strong record of running Potong Pasir Town Council well for 25 years, and that Ms Chong-Aruldoss would run the Mountbatten ward equally well if she's elected.

Mrs Chiam added that Ms Chong-Aruldoss would be "another tigress in Parliament", in response to a supporter's comment that Mrs Chiam was one when the microphone toppled because it was "scared".

ljessica@sph.com.sg
huizhen@sph.com.sg

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