Indranee hits out, Sylvia is 'puzzled'

Indranee hits out, Sylvia is 'puzzled'

SINGAPORE - The ruling People's Action Party (PAP) stepped up its political offensive yesterday, with MP Indranee Rajah hitting out at the Workers' Party (WP) for claiming credit for MediShield Life.

In a Facebook post titled The Art Of Claiming Credit, she responded to WP's statement on the new MediShield Life last week.

She said: "The implication is that MediShield Life happened because they (WP) spoke up in Parliament. No credit is shared or given to anyone else."

She said that MediShield Life was born out of the Our Singapore Conversation sessions involving 50,000 Singaporeans, and added that PAP MPs have also brought up health-care issues, "and in far greater numbers and volubility".

Ms Indranee, who is also Senior Minister of State for Education and Law, said that the WP approach is to claim credit, keep things vague and call for more.

She also singled out a line from the statement that WP "will continue to advocate that the Government should shoulder a higher proportion of health-care costs, and share more risks on behalf of Singaporean families", and questioned the lack of concrete proposals on how this should be achieved.

WP party chairman Sylvia Lim told My Paper yesterday that she was "quite puzzled".

"We have stated the fact, which was that these are some of the areas that we have been looking at for quite some time," she said, adding that she did not know why Ms Indranee accused WP of claiming credit.

She said she did not find the post "particularly constructive".

Ms Lim added that WP Non-constituency MP Gerald Giam actually filed an adjournment motion giving some details of what WP thinks the MediShield review and the whole health-care financing review should take into account.

Ms Indranee's post comes on the heels of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's attack on WP chief Low Thia Khiang in Parliament two weeks ago.

He had said that the WP approach is to be low profile in Parliament and "turn into tigers and heroes" come election time. He also described WP's actions as those of a "sub-standard" opposition.

Political observers said they expected the heat to be turned up as the next General Election drew nearer.

Former Nominated Member of Parliament Calvin Cheng told My Paper that WP may be able to sustain its current style of politics only as a small party in Parliament.

"If it wants to grow into a meaningful alternative to the PAP, it needs to start fleshing out its ideology and principles as an alternative government."

Associate Professor Eugene Tan from Singapore Management University said that PAP and WP would both want to show how effective they are in policy-making, but he believes that people will take stock of all policies - and political approaches - nearer to the next General Election.

And while the PAP was keen to show up WP's deficiencies, both political observers warned against an "overkill".

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