Give the PAP a wake-up call: WP’s Sylvia Lim
By Jeanette Tan | SingaporeScene – Tue, May 3, 2011 9:37 AM SGTShareretweetEmailPrint
WP chairman Sylvia Lim takes to the stage at Moulmein-Kallang rally. (Reuters photo)
Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim has called on voters to give the ruling People's Action Party a "wake-up call" in this General Elections.
Referring to the aftermath of the 1991 GE, when the PAP was "stunned" after losing four seats in Parliament, she said, "What happened after 1991... showed that the PAP takes election results very seriously. Poor election results... improve your life."
Speaking before an estimated 12,000 people at a rally in Moulmein-Kallang GRC rally on Monday night, she added, "If you vote for the opposition, the PAP will wake up and take concrete steps to address your concerns."
Besides the four seats lost in 1991, the PAP's overall share majority dropped to 61 per cent -- its worst electoral showing since independence.
The results led to the PAP to form a cost review committee to study concerns about the rising cost of living, Lim said.
Lim, who is part of WP's "A team" that's contesting the hotseat of Aljunied GRC, went on to say, "If you vote for the PAP and give them a high mandate, the PAP will take you for granted and ignore your concerns."
Video (Sylvia Lim) :
At the same rally, WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiang also called for a change in the Constitution so that all male election candidates would have to serve National Service first before being eligible for election.
Without naming any names, Low said the PAP should not field a candidate "who just became a new citizen without serving National Service."
It's been reported that PAP new face Janil Puthucheary, 38, only became a citizen in 2008 and has not gone through NS.
Low said even his party's star candidate, Taiwan-born Chen Show Mao, had served NS before taking up citizenship in 1986.
He said, "This is only fair to us. We have all done national service, including myself, including Chen Show Mao!" to loud cheers and applause from the crowd.
Low also picked up on his argument that the PAP government was abusing its power by employing public organisations such as HDB residents' committees (RCs) and the People's Association to assist them in their election activities.
He shared an example of an Aljunied resident who told him that his RC chairperson had contacted him to inform him of the details of a PAP rally to be held that evening. He asked the crowd, "Why is the RC promoting the PAP rally?" to shouts of "Kelong!" from the audience.
Low also shared that he had posed a question about the opposition's inability to build branch offices in parliament, asking why he had to sit at an HDB void deck to conduct Meet the People Sessions for the past 20 years.
Video(Low Thia Khiang):
WP's trump card Chen Show Mao launches an attack on the incumbent party who also took to the stage to rousing cheers, questioned the discrepancy between the growth in Singapores' economy over the past year (14.5%) and the rise in median income (3%), asking why average income was only half of GDP per capita, and where the other half had gone.
Chen also criticised the rising retirement age, citing Minister in the Prime Minister's office Lim Boon Heng's comment that it may rise to 68 soon.
Saying "man cannot live by GDP alone", the top corporate lawyer pointed out that while inflation for the year is nearing 5%, interest rates in CPF accounts remains at 2.5%, asking the crowd if it was a rate that provided good returns that were sufficient for retiring at age 62.
Touching on the issue of foreign talent in Singapore, he said, "It's tough for the rest of us," he said. "The goal post keeps getting moved back, and we have to keep dribbling past young foreign players trying to take the ball away."
Referring to Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang's earlier comment that keeping foreigners to one-third of the population is "a severe limitation", Mao asked the crowd: "Did he ask you if one-third is the right number? Why not one-quarter? One fifth?"
To the crowd's loud bellows of "NO!", he said: "Perhaps we should send someone to parliament to ask him."
Video (Chen Show Mao) :
Video(Glenda Han) :
Video (Mohd Rahizan Yaacob):
Many in the audience felt WP's rally speeches resonated with them.
Ms Tay, a Bishan resident in her 40s, told Yahoo! Singapore, “I agree that CPF is an issue, as is housing, and it’s very true -- where did the other 11.5% go? I just came to listen to them speak. Sylvia Lim is very good and relevant, and so is Chen Show Mao.”
Married couple Michael, 34, scheduler and Lina Chan, 33, an oil and gas buyer, also travelled down from their home in Woodlands to listen to what WP had to say.
“Most of the proposals tabled are very feasible in the near future,' said Michael.
"The atmosphere was very good, very exciting. We wanted to come to listen to them talk, to hear another perspective, because we’re both used to thinking that the PAP is the one we should vote. I now think otherwise,” said Lina.
Chimed in Catherine Yeo, 42, an East Coast GRC resident who arrived at the rally two hour early to stake out a front-row seat, "The topics that the WP candidates touch on are Singaporean voices. They are real and I support them.”