GE2015: Highlights from 8 rallies held on Day 4

GE2015: Highlights from 8 rallies held on Day 4
PHOTO: AsiaOne

SINGAPORE - Eight rallies by seven parties were held across Singapore on Saturday night, Day 4 of the 2015 General Election.

AsiaOne was at the rallies held by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and SingFirst.

Here are some of the highlights:

Singapore Democratic Party rally at Commonwealth Ave for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC

1. Minimum wage

Mr Sadasivam Veriyah, candidate for Bukit Batok SMC, asked for a minimum wage of $7 an hour. He claimed that this will allow people to live comfortably.

He added that those who earn less than $20,000 per annum should not need to submit income tax forms. He also said that the top per cent is earning too much and income disparity widens every year.

Mr Veriyah also criticised the People's Action Party (PAP) for "wanting all 89 seats to take care of their own welfare".

"If they get elected, they will only come up with policies to serve their own needs," said Mr Veriyah.

However, he said that SDP is not against the PAP, they just want an opposition voice to provide checks and balances.

2. Singapore First policy

SDP candidate for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC John Tan proposed a Singapore First policy where housing and employment is given to Singaporeans.

"We import talent only when we cannot find a Singaporean to do the job," said Mr Tan, adding that "charity begins at home".

He also commented that the PAP should keep to their original promise of letting residents withdraw their CPF savings at 55 years old.

3. Challenged PAP's foreign policy

All speakers present said that this policy is the root of many problems in Singapore, namely high cost of living, stress, unemployment and decreasing quality of life.

However, they were quick to clarify that they were not xenophobic and that they understood the need for immigrants.

SDP chief Chee Soon Juan said: "After all, we are a country of migrants."

However, he and his team called for the PAP to manage the influx of foreigners, especially PMETs.

Dr Chee also warned against the Asean Economic Community (AEC), which will allow an unlimited inflow of foreign labour from Southeast Asia into Singapore.

SingFirst rally for Tanjong Pagar GRC at Queenstown Stadium

1. Party chief Tan Jee Say attacks PAP and ministers

After introducing the credentials of his party's candidates, SingFirst party chief Tan Jee Say launched into a series of criticisms against the PAP, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and other ministers.

Some of his remarks included:

"Since Lee Hsien Loong took over in 2004, Singapore has been going down the drain!"

"Goh Chok Tong is the oldest candidate in this GE. He is an overstayer! He is an obstacle to leadership renewal!"

"PAP only keeps promises for themselves. Their million dollar salaries!"

He also criticised PAP's leadership renewal efforts, saying that the new batch of MPs are from the same mould of senior civil servants and military generals.

Mr Tan pointed out ministers Chan Chun Sing, Tan Chuan-Jin and Lawrence Wong and asked: "What have they achieved so far as leaders?"

2. "PAP has betrayed Lee Kuan Yew's ideals"

In his speech, Mr Tan said the PAP has betrayed the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's ideals in three ways:

- Mr Tan claimed that in 1979, he had warned against the influx of too many foreign workers. Today, under Prime Minister Lee, one million foreigners came to Singapore in the last 10 years,

- Mr Tan said that Mr Lee stood for trust and "trust in the government has falled under present leadership". Citing a survey from Edelman, Mr Tan said trust in the government has hit rock bottom,

- Mr Tan said that in 2014, The Economist ranked Singapore top five in global cronyism index behind Hong Kong, Russia, Malaysia and Ukraine.

"Where has Singapore sunk to? Lee Kuan Yew's ideal of meritocracy has been betrayed by his son.

"If Singaporeans vote in gratitude to the father, you will get servitude to the son."

3. "Singaporeans, not Singaforeigns"

Before Tanjong Pagar GRC candidate Fahmi Rais began his speech in Malay, he exclaimed: "This island is for Singaporeans, not Singaforeigns."

"Singaforeigns" seems to have been the buzzword of the night.

Workers' Party rally for Punggol East SMC at Punggol Field Walk

1. Proposals for ageing population

The need for better jobs for senior citizens was the first issue that was brought up by Workers' Party (WP) candidates at the rally.

Marine Parade GRC candidate He Ting Ru spoke about how a tourist, who saw seniors clearing tables at eaters, expressed surprise as he thought Singapore was a prosperous country.

She questioned the Government's characterisation of Singapore's ageing society as a "silver tsunami".

"Do you believe old people are like a flashflood ready to wash us away?" said Ms He.

During the rally, WP proposed for an "accelerated workplace and job redesign for senior workers".

This will include conducting annual surveys to track employment of senior workers in various industries, said Ms He.

2. Lower CPF retirement payout

Ms He also proposed to lower the Central Provident Fund retirement payout eligibility age from 65 to 60.

Silver Support payouts for the low-income elderly should also be adjusted for inflation so that older Singaporeans are protected from rising costs of living, said Ms He.

3. More sensible immigration policy

Jalan Besar GRC candidate L. Somasundaram spoke about immigration and the "growing need to distinguish and divide between Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans".

He proposed that foreign spouses of Singaporeans should be given priority when applying for citizenship as they are most liley to integrate well because of family ties.

On permanent residents, Mr Somasundaram said PRs should have five years of uninterrupted residency before being considered for citizenship.

4. Lower COEs for motorcycles

Noting that the certificate of entitlement (COE) for motorcycles have jumped by more than 500 per cent, Punggol East SMC candidate Lee Li Lian suggested an amendment to the COE system so that owners of small bikes do not have to compete with owners of bigger, more expensive bikes.

Ms Lee said this is because many rely on these vehicles to earn a living as deliverymen.

People's Action Party rallies for Bukit Panjang SMC at Petir Road and Chua Chu Kang GRC at Teck Whye Crescent

1. Serving the community

The two PAP rallies at Petir Road and Chua Chu Kang touched on the same issues of serving the community.

The ministers who spoke emphasised on upgrading works through the use of town councils and how long they have been working within the community.

For example, Teo Ho Pin said at the Petir Road rally: "The running of town councils can make a difference in the lives of residents."

If he is elected, he said he will focus on three areas - upgrading homes under HDB's home improvement programme, improving the transport situation, and organising more community activities to strengthen the Bukit Panjang kampung spirit.

National Solidarity Party rally for Tampines GRC at Tampines St 81 and Reform Party rally for West Coast GRC at Clementi Stadium

1. Foreign influx issues

Both NSP and RP spoke about the issue of foreign influx and wanting to take Singapore back.

NSP's Kevryn Lim, who spoke at the rally in Tampines, said: "Getting an influx of foreigners in, was it for us? Did you ask for it? Why is the government doing this? Because you voted them in. Do you want to take your Singapore back?"

RP's Gilbert Goh said more new citizens are added every year, stealing Singaporeans' jobs. If the PAP is voted in, the next five years will be miserable for Singaporeans, he added.

"If you have a degree, you will drive a taxi, I promise you. ... If I have a degree, I should have access to a good job."

He also called for support to the audience with shouts of "Singapore for Singaporeans!"

Singapore People's Party for Hong Kah North SMC at Bukit Batok West Ave 2

1. Support for Ravi Philemon

Lina Chiam spoke at the Bukit Batok West rally asking for support for front-runner Ravi Philemon, saying the SPP is a stable force.

Benjamin Pwee said if you vote for Mr Philemon, the whole SPP team is behind him: "Buy one, you get nine free!"

klim@sph.com.sg

spanaech@sph.com.sg

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