GE 2015: On the campaign trail

Vivian: 'Zero' offering from SDP at local level

Mr Vivian Balakrishnan speaking at the PAP Rally for Bukit Panjang GRC at field in front of blk 136, Petir Road, on Sept 5, 2015.
Mr Vivian Balakrishnan speaking at the PAP Rally for Bukit Panjang GRC at field in front of blk 136, Petir Road, on Sept 5, 2015. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

At the local level in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has done little for residents, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said.

"We are the incumbents, we've worked (here) for many years," he told reporters during a walkabout at Adam Road Food Centre yesterday morning.

"The residents know we've transformed the town and appreciate it,'' said the anchor minister, who is leading a four-member People's Action Party team against the SDP.

"I would also daresay that there is overwhelming support for the new plans that we have offered," he added, referring to better transport connectivity and upgrading of housing estates, among other things.

"So at a local level, there really is no contest. In fact, the SDP has offered absolutely zero at a local level," he concluded.

Dr Balakrishnan and fellow incumbents Liang Eng Hwa, Sim Ann and Christopher de Souza are up against SDP's 'A' team of party chief Chee Soon Juan, Prof Paul Tambyah, Ms Chong Wai Fung and Mr Sidek Mallek.

The minister was also critical of what he called the SDP's so-called policies and plans which, he said, "are downright dangerous, reckless and irresponsible".

He said his team and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam have "effectively demolished" these policies.

Last Saturday, Mr Tharman attacked the policy proposals of opposition parties, including the SDP, warning that free healthcare and other social services would impose a higher tax burden on middle-income families.

SDP's economic proposals include a minimum wage, raising the personal income tax rate for the top 1 per cent of earners, and increasing social spending, particularly on public healthcare.

Dr Balakrishnan, however, acknowledged that Singaporeans continue to be anxious about national issues such as the cost of living and job prospects.

His team intends to address these concerns in the remaining days of their campaign, he said, adding that they will also focus on Singapore's future challenges.

"We want to look forward and we want to focus on how Singapore will get to SG100 in a stronger position," he said, pointing out that there may be trade-offs.

"Unlike the opposition, we don't wave a magic wand and say, 'I can solve everything painlessly'."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2015, with the headline 'Vivian: 'Zero' offering from SDP at local level'. Print Edition | Subscribe