GE2015: East Coast residents bring up local issues rather than AHPETC, says WP's Gerald Giam

Mr Gerald Giam and Mr Daniel Goh, as well as candidate for Fengshan SMC Dennis Tan, greet butcher Mr Soh Ah Pek, 57, on a walkabout at New Upper Changi Road Market and Food Centre.
Mr Gerald Giam and Mr Daniel Goh, as well as candidate for Fengshan SMC Dennis Tan, greet butcher Mr Soh Ah Pek, 57, on a walkabout at New Upper Changi Road Market and Food Centre.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

SINGAPORE - The issues surrounding the Workers' Party-run town council does not figure much in the minds of East Coast residents, said WP candidate for the GRC Gerald Giam on Thursday morning.

"Very few" residents have questioned them on the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) issue during the WP team's two years of house visits in the GRC, Mr Giam said.

When they did bring up the topic, voters said they wished the WP had explained their side of the story more, he added.

The WP members would say that the party had already spoken on the issue many times, including through press statements and during a two-day parliamentary debate on the Attorney-General's Office's report on lapses in governance in the town council.

 

The People's Action Party has accused the WP of being unable to run the town council competently, and turned up the heat on this subject during the election season.

But Mr Giam said local issues were brought up by residents more often. He added that his team has compiled a list of municipal concerns such as cleanliness and lift maintenance that they have tried to help with, including by reflecting the problems to the East Coast Town Council.

Mr Giam was speaking to reporters during a walkabout at the Block 58 Market and Hawker Centre in Upper Changi Road in East Coast GRC, which is expected to be hotly contested.

He was joined on the walkabout by all his East Coast team members, Fengshan candidate Dennis Tan, and party chief Low Thia Khiang.

Mr Giam also repeated the party's call for a national minimum wage, which is found in its election manifesto. He said that it will help attract Singaporean workers back to the workforce and compel employers to raise the productivity of their workers.

When asked for details, fellow East Coast candidate Leon Perera said that the wage should be pegged to the average household expenditure on basic needs and start off at 80 per cent of the figure, which works out to about $1,000.

It should be maintained for a few years before being gradually revised to match the average household expenditure on basic needs, but Mr Perera said that the exact timeframe for this to happen has not been fixed.