WP: Time is right to build up credible opposition

Workers' Party candidate for Fengshan SMC Dennis Tan, candidates for East Coast GRC-Daniel Goh, Gerald Giam, Fairoz Shariff, and Leon Perera.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Just like how one buys insurance before something goes wrong, Singaporeans should vote in a credible opposition party before faith in the ruling party is lost, said Gerald Giam of the Workers' Party (WP) yesterday.

"You don't buy insurance policies when you meet with an accident. You buy insurance policies before you get sick, before you meet with an accident," he told reporters during a walkabout at New Upper Changi Road.

"(Similarly) it's important to build up a credible, responsible opposition party while we have time, and not when the ruling party has lost the support of the people."

Mr Giam, 37, is team leader of the WP's slate for the four-member East Coast GRC, which is expected to be hotly contested. He was responding to remarks by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a People's Action Party (PAP) lunchtime rally on Tuesday.

Mr Lee, the PAP's secretary-general, had dismissed WP's argument that a strong opposition provides insurance against the ruling party's failure, saying: "Insurance is good but you must buy the right insurance from the right company."

Mr Giam, whose WP team is taking on a PAP slate led by Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, 61, expects the PAP to return as the Government this General Election. Even if the results are unfavourable to the ruling party, he wants it to govern in the interests of all Singapore. He indicated that WP, too, would play its part.

"If we are elected into Parliament, we will suggest improvements that can be made, and the ball will be in their court. And if they make the improvements, I'm sure the people will appreciate it.

"We (the WP) will appreciate it, as we are here to bring Singapore forward. We are not here just to score political points... We want to see the progress of Singapore as well."

Mr Giam said his team has been getting good support for its East Coast campaign. He said: "I hope (the support) will be... reflected at the polls in a few days' time."

He also told The Straits Times separately that if elected, the WP team would like to retain the East Coast Town Council's managing agent to ensure continuity in services to residents.

But if EM Services, the existing managing agent, decides not to continue with its current contract, the WP will consider other options like direct management to prevent any disruption in estate operations, he added. "We will seek to have a smooth handover," he said.

The WP has been under the spotlight since 2013 over financial lapses at the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council. The party has said the lapses arose as some paperwork and information were not handed over by the PAP-run Aljunied Town Council. A company linked to the PAP also terminated its computer services shortly after the WP won Aljunied GRC at the May 2011 polls.

audreyt@sph.com.sg

kianbeng@sph.com.sg


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