With jobs a key concern for Bukit Batok residents, the candidates vying in the May 7 by-election responded by outlining programmes after walkabouts yesterday.
Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan reiterated his call for retrenchment insurance and gave details of how such a scheme would work.
Separately, the People's Action Party's (PAP) Mr Murali Pillai described how his job placement programme would tap contacts and a network of people in the community to help retrenched workers and others who are not employed.
Dr Chee's plan would see workers pay a fee to be included in the system. If retrenched, they get 75 per cent of their last drawn salary for the first six months that they are without a job. They then get 50 per cent for the next six months, and 25 per cent the six months after.
He did not say what the buy-in fee would be, but said the plan would give those out of work peace of mind while they look for a new job, as well as help pay the bills.
Dr Chee, 53, spoke after his walkabout and called on employers to let go of foreigners first and axe Singaporeans only as a last resort, if retrenchment was needed.
Both he and Mr Murali said their respective plans were necessary, given that residents have been concerned about the economy.
Mr Murali, who visited bus captains at Bukit Batok bus interchange, has already piloted his programme on an informal basis to help several residents. The programme is a key plank of his manifesto. It entails "leveraging on community contacts within the pool of community volunteers and Bukit Batok residents, and also my own business contacts", said the 48-year-old lawyer.
The campaign is "a tough fight", he said. "The 'by-election effect' is real. Every day, I need to do what I need to do - to persuade Bukit Batok residents of the plans I have for them and seek their support."