GE2015: Highlights from rallies held on Day 8

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

A total of 14 rallies - a record number so far, took place on the last day of the campaign period for the General Election.

Representatives from all nine political parties contesting this election all spoke today.

The PAP held six rallies this evening.

AsiaOne was at six rallies - People's Action Party (PAP) rallies for MacPherson SMC and East Coast GRC, the Reform Party (RP) rally for Ang Mo Kio GRC, Singapore People's Party rally for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC at Bishan Stadium, Workers' Party (WP) rally for East Coast GRC at Bedok Stadium and the National Solidarity Party rally for Tampines GRC.

Here are some highlights from the rallies:

Workers' Party at Bedok Stadium for East Coast GRC

1. How WP has changed the Government

Mr Low Thia Khiang spoke on how WP has changed the Government, saying Singapore under a one-party system has resulted in Bills being passed through, not all of which were to Singaporeans' benefit.

2. Lowering voting age

Candidate for MacPherson SMC Bernard Chen also took the stage, advocating for the voting age to be lowered from 21 to 18, to encourage younger people to have an early interest in political governance.

3. Make HDB affordable

Candidate for East Coast GRC Daniel Goh said the WP wants to make Singapore a home city again, where families can afford HDB flats.

Added fellow candidate Leon Perera: "People think that the hammer is meant for "hantam" (hitting in Malay) but it is also meant for building things."

4. Need for representatives in Parliament, not cheerleaders

East Coast GRC's Gerald Giam said: "We don't need any more cheerleaders in Parliament, we need representatives."

Giam also said that the Parliament will become a "more lively, and more effective forum" if more WP candidates are elected.

He also fired a salvo at the PAP: "Looking at the current batch of PAP candidates, can you see any future Lee Kuan yews, Goh Keng Swees or Rajaratnams?

The WP ended the rally with the pledge and a "wefie" from the stage.

PAP rally at Simei for East Coast GRC

1. Major shifts

DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam took the stage at Simei with the PAP team for East Coast GRC.

He touched on three major shifts in recent times - the need to rebalance economic and social welfare, the shift beyond the focus on academic grades, and how the Government has changed to be more responsive to citizens.

2. Budget surpluses and CPF

Mr Tharman also addressed the issue of budget surpluses, saying GIC can invest long-term and take higher risks because of more than 30 years of budget surpluses.

Refuting claims that the Government earns money from the people by pricing land, DPM Tharman said: "We have written it into the Constitution - the Government cannot spend money obtained from selling land. The money has to go into reserves, because this was an asset we had. If you sell it, you keep it as an asset in your financial reserves".

On the CPF, he said the system is not perfect, but it is sustainable. "It is also fair," he said.

Mr Tharman also highlighted how significant Government intervention has helped low-skilled workers, but added that more needs to be done to help the bottom 5 per cent of the population who earn less than $1,000 a month.

3. Minimum wage

Mr Lim Swee Say touched on proposals for a minimum wage, but says it is a tricky situation: "If it is set too high, low-skilled workers lose their jobs. We don't go for minimum wage, we go for progressive wages, because low-skilled workers deserve them too."

4. Good politics vs Good policies

He also accused the WP of using "good politics" to win voters: "Do you want to vote for the party that has good policies? Or do you want the party that pursues good politics to pursue your vote?"

Mr Lim added: "I don't have a doctorate (referring to Dr Daniel Goh's status as a NUS sociology professor), I don't possess a degree from Oxford (in a nod to Mr Leon Perera's education credentials), but what I have is a sincere heart that is willing to serve Singaporeans."

PAP rally at Circuit Road for MacPherson SMC

1. Motherhood not a weakness

In her speech, Ms Tin Pei Ling addressed comments by NSP's Cheo Chai Chen that being a mum is a weakness, saying "this is no joking matter", and that mothers put in no less effort in their careers.

She also criticised the opposition for having only one message, that "the Government can spend more."

She told residents in Mandarin: "You are like my family, I can't let this relationship go. Please vote for me!", to cheers from supporters.

Reform Party rally for Ang Mo Kio GRC at Buangkok Crescent

1. High cost of living, lack of vision

RP's speakers brought up the issues of Singapore's foreign worker policy and again argued that locals are losing PMET jobs to foreigners. Blogger Roy Ngerng also argued that flats are also getting smaller because the Government wants to accommodate a 6.9 million population and increase profit.

The high costs doesn't match up to quality, said RP candidates. The speakers cited examples of how residents complain that HDB developments are built poorly and how they have to wait a long time to get their flats. Increasingly smaller spaces also have caused a decline in the quality of life here, they said.

2. On transparency

Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam likened the CPF to a magical act that doesn't produce the white bunny.

He added that Singapore's reserves should be checked. He also said that all companies, whether AAA rated or not, should be checked.

 

During the Reform Party's rally at Buangkok Crescent, Kenneth Jeyaretnam talked about funds being unaudited and asked...

Posted by AsiaOne on Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Mr Ngerng told supporters that his blog contains evidence on how the Government is dipping into citizens' CPF money. Candidate Osman Sulaiman also said that it was not good enough that the CPIB, the AGO and trade unions report to the Prime Minister directly.

3. PAP not doing enough for poor people

Candidate for West Coast Andy Zhu said residents have to wait a long time to see the MP who only makes time for them once a week. He added that a university professor told him that 30 per cent of Singaporeans are poor and the presence of elderly working as cleaners, cardboard collectors are proof of negligence of the Government. He added that it's impossible to buy a flat with an income of $1,000, contrary to what the PAP claims.

Mr Jeyaretnam also decried Tharman Shanmugaratnam's speech about Singapore having a trampoline system. He said trampolines also come with safety nets.

He also brought up the AHPETC saga and said that RP won't bring in their friends to run the town council. Instead, the RP team has a mix of credible candidates who know how to run a town council, he said.

SPP Rally at Bishan Stadium for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC

1. National issues

Mr Ben Pwee spoke about a range of issues from transport to healthcare to housing. He added: "We have big, beautiful hospitals but half the time you can't get a bed."

Mr Pwee pointed out that the PAP has made some policy missteps in the past few years.

On the issue of foreign influx, Mr Law Kim Hwee said the Ministry of Manpower has not done its job in ensuring that foreigners who enter are genuinely qualified. 

2. Local issues 

Mr Bryan Long spoke about local issues and says the SPP has plans for the area to "bring life back to the physical structures of Bishan-Toa Payoh". "I understand that the little things matter to residents. Like building stairs to replace the slope up to Marymount MRT."

He added in an attack against the PAP: "The concept of happiness is embedded in our Proclamation of Independence and our national anthem. But why does the concept seem taboo to the PAP?"

Mr Ben Pwee also called for grassroots orgs like NCs, RCs and CCCs to be depoliticized, because right now they don't speak for the people.

3. Transport and housing

Speaking in Malay, candidate Hamim Aliyas questioned why there have been frequent transport fare hikes, even though SMRT has been recording profits every year. Abdillah Zamzuri highlighted that a four-room flat now costs 19 times more, but salaries have only gone up by about four times.

4. Mr Chiam See Tong's arrival

 

The crowd cheers as SPP's Chiam See Tong arrives at the party's rally in Bishan Stadium. Catch up on the latest...

Posted by AsiaOne on Wednesday, September 9, 2015

 

There were loud cheers from the crowd as Mr Chiam See Tong arrived, with many rushing forward to get photos of the veteran opposition politician.

Highlights from PAP rally at Boon Keng Road for Jalan Besar GRC

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told supporters that the opposition looks for topics that will rile people and stir up their emotions. He said that the PAP has produced a good report card since the last election, addressing various issues such as housing for the low-income group and medical care for the Pioneer Generation. The opposition's calls for a restructuring of the transport system is slow, he adds, saying that the Government had already begun restructuring before they could suggest it.

Referring to ESM Goh Chok Tong's earlier characterisation of WP as a rooster boasting that its crowing causes the sun to rise, PM Lee said: "This rooster (which) is supposed to wake up before dawn - I think woke up late this morning."

PM Lee again said that WP supporters had previously voted for a tiger in the Chamber, but got a mouse in the House. This is because they make fierce, rousing statements during the election period but fail to make the same statements in Parliament, he said. One example, is the way WP's Low Thia Khiang claimed the Government's economic policies were focused on 'blind economic growth' which have led to a decline in the quality of life. However, Mr Low did not say the same thing in Parliament, PM Lee said, adding that Mr Low had said then that he and his party supported the 'progressive' budget put forward by the Government.

Other notable quotes

"Doing the limbo rock, is it? The lower the better." - Lim Swee Say on opposition parties' proposals for CPF withdrawal age to be lowered.

"I'm talking to people, don't need anyone to stand in between!" - PM says in responds to WP's claim that it's standing up for the people.

"If it's good, ask for more. If it's not good, it's PAP's fault! So easy to say, I also can!" - PM Lee on opposition's criticism of the Government's policies.

The PAP "look more & more like secondhand car salesmen; some of them have their faces pasted all around Singapore." - SPP's Law Kim Hwee.

"DPM Tharman is making steps to make this (tax) a bit more progressive, by raising taxes of the top 5% income earners in Singapore, which is only very slightly different from our plan - which is why he is our favourite minister." - SDP's Paul Tambyah on Singapore's tax system.

"You can call me all sorts of names...You can take all my possessions away...No matter how nasty you play, I will not bow down." - Dr Chee Soon Juan at the SDP rally.

"When someone talks very well but sells koyok, puts our country in danger, I fight back." - Dr Vivian Balakrishnan at the PAP rally for Holland-Bukit Timah.

At the PAP rally at Woodlands stadium for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, Dr Halimah Yacob choked up as she thanked residents for the support after they found out her mother had been hospitalised during this time.

candicec@sph.com.sg
minlee@sph.com.sg

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