Saturday, April 30, 2011
GE2011 2nd day rally ~ worker party @ Seragoon stadium 29 April
~ Workers’ Party chief slams GRC system
Workers' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Kiang has attacked the government's Group Representation Constituency (GRC) system, saying it serves the ruling party's self-interest, and not the voters.
As the battle for the hearts and minds of Aljunied GRC voters heats up, he told an estimated-30,000 crowd at Serangoon stadium on Friday, "There's nothing more against the spirit of democracy than the GRC."
Calling for a "breakthrough" this election, he argued that the GRC system, introduced in 1988, "served the PAP's self-interest and not the voters".
"Let me tell you, if no opposition is able to break through the GRC, you will be forever shackled by the system. The PAP will continue to govern, and to bully you without having to account to you all," he said.
Low countered the PAP's explanation that the scheme is meant to ensure minority-race candidates make it into Parliament by citing the example of the late Joshua Benjamin Jeyaratnam.
More commonly known as JBJ, he was voted in during the 1981 Anson by-election by a Chinese majority constituency.
"No PAP minority -race candidate was voted out as a result of Singaporeans voting along racial lines," Low said.
Referring to his own experience, he said he could have won his first election in 1988 when he contested in Anson, but when it merged to be part of a newly created three-member GRC known as Tiong Bahru GRC -- which included Henderson and Tiong Bahru wards -- he lost.
"Tiong Bahru delivered over 70 per cent support for the PAP... I lost the election," he said.
Since then, he added that the GRC system is "like a rubber band", that it could keep growing from three members in 1988, to four in 1991 , and to six by 1997.
"Like a rubber band, a GRC can stretch all the way from Marine Parade to Serangoon Central," he said, to much laughter from the audience.
Low urged first-time voters to cast their vote "not just wisely, but bravely, intelligently, and in a heartfelt manner".
Watch as Low addresses the crowd.
Party chairman Sylvia Lim, who spoke in Mandarin and English, also hit back at the ruling party's gerrymandering tactics.
"If the PAP really respects voters' needs and wishes, why does it keep re-drawing boundaries after every election, based on the voting results?" she asked.
"Why don't we ask the voters in Kaki Bukit, who have not moved house for 25 years but have been kicked around from Eunos GRC to Marine Parade and now Aljunied? Who is the one using voters as instruments to be chosen or discarded?" she said to the estimated 30,000 people at the rally.
She assured voters that even if Minister Yeo is not voted into Parliament, "his talents will not be lost". Instead, she said it would merely be an "early retirement" for the minister, who would have no problem finding a job in one of the government-linked companies or be an ambassador-at-large, she said.
"So don't think of voting for WP as voting against George Yeo. Think of it as helping him into early retirement," said Lim, who led the WP Aljunied team to win 43.9 per cent of the votes in GE 2006.
Lim also stressed on another key point in her speech: your vote is secret.
~ The Workers' Party's second GE rally packs the Serangoon stadium with tens of thousands of people
WP's star catch Chen Show Mao also took the stage to rebut Foreign Minister George Yeo's "secret weapon" comments published on Friday.
Minister Yeo, who leads the People's Action Party team that will go up against the WP's A-team led by WP chief Low and chairman Sylvia Lim in keenly-contest Aljunied, had said the WP was making use of the ward's 143,148 voters to push the opposition cause and that it was forcing an "emotional dilemma" on them.
"Voters of Aljunied GRC, we appreciate your kind consideration, but please, please first look after yourselves," Mao said.
"Ask before you vote, how can you make yourself better? How can you make your lives better? Please, go ahead don't be shy," he said, before stating, "We believe you will be better off if you vote Workers' Party."
Meanwhile, Aljunied GRC candidate Pritam Singh targeted his message at civil servants and youth.
To civil servants afraid of voting for the opposition, he said, "Please think again. The PAP did not give you your job, the civil service will not crumble just because the PAP loses a few ministers."
He also commended 20-year-old Low Peiying, whose article on why she signed up to volunteer with the WP, has made waves online.
He called on youths to take active interest in politics: "This is indeed your country, live your dreams here, take ownership of your country, be the change you want to make."
~ The crowd continues to cheer "Workers' Party" for about 15 minutes after the rally ends
A total of 10 candidates spoke on Friday evening, addressing issues such as the cost of living, accountability, housing and immigration.
This video was taken about 5 minutes after all the Workers' Party candidates have left the stadium, scene that you will not get to see on the main stream media. There are no buses to pick them. The crowd are from all ages, not the elderly from community club or RC!
Article by :By Alicia Wong
Video by :