WORKERS' PARTY RALLY

A WP govt would do things differently, says Sylvia Lim

At the Jalan Besar GRC rally, Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim dwelt on how a hypothetical WP government would do things differently than the PAP. She said a WP government would not "infiltrate every aspect of life" by placing its officials in spor
At the Jalan Besar GRC rally, Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim dwelt on how a hypothetical WP government would do things differently than the PAP. She said a WP government would not "infiltrate every aspect of life" by placing its officials in sports, the arts and professional groups.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

If it ever came to power, WP would scrap GRC and NMP schemes and entrench opposition in Parliament

If the Workers' Party ever forms the government, it will get rid of group representation constituencies (GRCs) and the Nominated MP scheme, party chairman Sylvia Lim said last night.

It will also ensure an entrenched opposition presence in Parliament and reduce the government presence in all aspects of life.

With 28 candidates, the WP is the biggest opposition party in this year's General Election. There are 89 seats at stake in 16 GRCs and 13 single-member constituencies, and the ruling People's Action Party is the only one contesting all seats.

BLANK CHEQUE

Even if PAP MPs speak up, can they vote when the party leaders decide on something?

Letting them check themselves is giving them a blank cheque. To protect Singaporeans, you must also check the Government with votes.

WORKERS' PARTY CHAIRMAN SYLVIA LIM

POLITICAL MILIEU HAS TO CHANGE

In the next 50 years, we need a new political environment, so that we can have a better development.

We need a tolerant government, a free political system, so that people with different opinions can express their talents. This way, our people can create new things, and we can compete on the world stage and achieve success.

So on Sept 11, for Singapore to have an equal, democratic society and for a brighter future for your kids, vote for the Workers' Party.

WORKERS' PARTY CHIEF LOW THIA KHIANG, urging voters to send a signal to the People's Action Party to stop what he claims to be political smearing tactics by the ruling party over the WP-run town council

Speaking at the WP's rally for Jalan Besar GRC at an open field in the Boon Keng area, Ms Lim dwelt on how a hypothetical WP government would do things differently than the PAP.

First, it would do away with GRCs, which she said were introduced to ensure minority representation in Parliament but "are being used to bring in candidates into Parliament under the protection of a minister".

"They dilute your vote and dilute your voice," she said.

The Government has said that the GRCs, introduced in 1988, are needed to make sure minority MPs get elected. Since then, they have also allowed for economies of scale for town councils.

The WP would also do away with NMPs as they are not elected by the people but selected by a committee, which Ms Lim said was dominated by the PAP. "If WP ever comes into power, we would abolish both schemes even though they would favour us," she said.

The WP also believes a strong opposition presence in Parliament is beneficial for Singapore, said Ms Lim, as she questioned the PAP argument that its backbenchers act as a check on the Government.

"They are called backbenchers for a reason. It is the PAP ministers sitting in the front who make the policy. Even if PAP MPs speak up, can they vote when the party leaders decide on something?" she said. "Letting them check themselves is giving them a blank cheque. To protect Singaporeans, you must also check the Government with votes."

Finally, she said, a WP government would not "infiltrate every aspect of life" by placing its officials in sports, the arts and professional groups, like the PAP currently does.

"They want to control every aspect of our lives. How can Singapore be a dynamic nation?" she asked. "This election, we must bring the power back to the people, send a strong message that Singaporeans want to be free from their arrogance, control and threats."

In his speech, WP chief Low Thia Khiang said Singaporeans must continue backing the opposition to remind the PAP that there is a distinction between national interest and the ruling party's interest.

"For many years, the PAP has defined and interpreted what is the national interest and what is the best interest of the people," he said.

"Being in power for so long, the PAP equates Singapore to the PAP Government, and the PAP Government to the PAP. Because of this mindset, they paint the opposition and critics as troublemakers and rebels. We must stop the PAP from becoming more self-absorbed."

He urged Singaporeans to play their part in building a new political environment by seeking information themselves and critically assessing issues.

"Do not let the PAP monopolise the narrative. Before we had social media, the mainstream media acted as the mouthpiece of the PAP and was the only source of information," he added. "Now, with competition, people have more means to find out the facts and truth. With education, people can analyse and see issues on their own."

He said the opposition cared about Singapore's interests as much as the PAP did, and WP supporters were just as loyal to the country as any PAP supporter.

"I urge you to vote for the WP so that you, me, each and every one of us here, the people of Singapore, can collectively decide on the direction and forge our future together."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2015, with the headline 'A WP govt would do things differently, says Sylvia Lim'. Print Edition | Subscribe