The new PAP is building houses out of straw, says SDP’s Michelle Lee

The country will not fall apart if the Opposition is voted into Parliament, claimed Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Michelle Lee Juen pointing out: “PAP is not the Civil Service”.

“Our civil servants are Singaporeans too with families and homes too. They will not run away from their job and leave their duties just because there’s opposition in Parliament,” said Ms Lee, 35, a member of the SDP’s “A” team that is contesting in the Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency at their first rally.

Ms Lee, who was a financial analyst before switching to a career in education, likened the election to investing one’s money, where “diversification is the key to reducing risks”.

“Having only the PAP in government is like putting all your eggs in one basket. Will you put all your life savings in one investment product?” she asked the rally crowd at Commonwealth last night.

Echoing a point made by several other SDP speakers, Ms Lee said that while the “old” PAP had done good for Singapore, the “new” PAP’s track record has “blemishes”.

“We have been reminded not to rock Singapore’s foundation and we have absolutely no intention of rocking that. The new PAP, on the other hand, are building houses of straw on this strong foundation when they should be building houses of stone,” she said.

Such straw houses include the casinos, which have placed temptation in the way of “many husbands and fathers” and exacerbated problems with illegal moneylending; as well as the lack of accountability over billions lost in overseas investments by state-owned vehicles like Temasek Holdings.

Besides such national issues, the SDP speakers also zoomed in on constituency concerns. Candidate for the Bukit Panjang single-seat ward Alec Tok, for instance, said his recent chats with Bukit Panjang residents have highlighted three issues – one of which are the elderly’s healthcare expenses for chronic illnesses.

Mr Tok, 46, a theatre director who was the SDP’s surprise candidate against PAP incumbent Dr Teo Ho Pin, recounted asking one senior resident if he had enough to spend on medicine. The answer in Hokkien rougly translated as: “Save on eating, will be enough.”

“When have we become a society that has to stop eating so that we can buy our medicine?” asked Mr Tok, who spoke mostly in Mandarin.

Mr Tok also touched on the inconvenience of public transport as well as the emergence of gangsters and secret societies in Bukit Panjang – a problem he linked to the larger issue of the younger generation’s distancing from society.

Citing a Singapore Polytechnic survey done last year which showed that 60 per cent of youth below the age of 23 think of emigrating, Mr Tok said: “This shows that PAP, no matter how well they have performed, if it ultimately can’t make the younger generation stay, it means they have failed.”

Academic James Gomez, a member of the SDP team challenging Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan‘s Sembawang GRC, zoomed in again on Mr Khaw’s 2009 comments about how Singaporeans could save money by going to nursing homes for the elderly across the Causeway.

“If Mr Khaw wants to send the elderly overseas, we’ll send him to Johor Bahru,” said Mr Gomez. In an earlier riposte to the SDP criticism on this issue, Mr Khaw had said they would twist his words to suit their political purpose and reiterated that he had never suggested that people dump their parents in Johor.

Source : Today – 29 Apr 2011


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