GE 2015

Polls 'not just about raising issues'

Chan Chun Sing shaking hands with supporters after the rally on Sept 2, 2015.
Chan Chun Sing shaking hands with supporters after the rally on Sept 2, 2015.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

An election is not just about raising issues but also about putting in place a team that can plan for the future, said labour chief Chan Chun Sing yesterday.

And besides having plans and implementing them, the team also has to unite people and rally them to overcome challenges in the future, said Mr Chan, as he urged voters to examine proposals by the various parties and candidates closely.

"Over the last five, six days, we have heard many people raising different issues," he said, without naming any party. "It is all right and good to raise all these issues so that Singaporeans are more aware of the challenges facing our country."

But it is also critical for Singaporeans "to sit back and analyse the different proposals by the parties and candidates, and see whether they work and whether they are in the best interests of residents now and in the future", he told reporters after visiting Tiong Bahru Market.

The former army chief is leading a five-member People's Action Party team contesting in Tanjong Pagar GRC, which is seeing its first contest since it was formed in 1991.

The PAP team faces a Singaporeans First (SingFirst) slate led by former presidential candidate Tan Jee Say, who charged at a rally last Saturday that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had betrayed Mr Lee Kuan Yew's ideals, citing Mr Lee's warning in 1979 against having too many foreign workers.

Responding, Mr Chan said: "At every stage of our development we have different challenges. Policies are never static. We will always have to evolve our policies to (address) what we have to tackle today and what we have to tackle tomorrow."

On the allegation that foreigners take away jobs from professionals, managers and executives (PMEs), he said the Government, unions and employers are working together to help PMEs boost skills and remain competitive in Singapore and overseas. "Maybe (Mr Tan) is not fully aware of the things being rolled out by the Manpower Ministry and National Trades Union Congress."

Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Indranee Rajah responded to SingFirst's claim that the GRC has not served Malay voters in the ward well as it did not have a Malay candidate for many years. "There have been many programmes that we have done and all you need to do is to speak to our Malay residents."

When asked whether he is bothered by his opponents calling him a "paper general", Mr Chan said: "No. This is part and parcel of what we expect. Our focus has always been on working with and for our residents. We prefer not to respond to baseless name-calling."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2015, with the headline 'Polls 'not just about raising issues''. Print Edition | Subscribe