WORKERS' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang swopped a defensive stance for full-frontal attack at the Punggol East by-election, questioning the durability of the Singapore political system and its economic policies.
He slammed the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) last night for being a poor shadow of its past over its recent lapses of judgment, urging voters to see the opposition party as an "insurance" in case of a corrupt regime.
He cited two unprecedented missteps as signs of the PAP's decline - the extramarital affair of Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer that triggered the by-election and the last-minute withdrawal of PAP candidate Steve Tan at the 2011 General Election.
In addition, the PAP-led Government has privatised essential services such as public transport, utilities and electricity, leading to profit-driven companies and rising costs of living for the people, he charged. He also criticised the Government for selling the management of these services to government-linked companies like Temasek Holdings.
For instance, he said, the Government has raised water charges on heavy users to cover the costs of developing and operating the water and public sewer systems, which were financed by taxpayers' money in the first place.
"Is this reasonable? Even if it isn't, there is nothing you can do because it is the Government. The only thing you can do is to settle the score during election."
Another beef he had was how the Government has defined lesser profits as market subsidies.
"Older Singaporeans tell me that the PAP Government now talks only about money, tries to use money to induce votes during elections, which has turned Singapore into a highly selfish and utilitarian society," he said.
These examples show that it is dangerous for Singaporeans to continue trusting the PAP like they used to in the past, said the WP chief in Mandarin as he wrapped up the WP's third and final rally for Saturday's polls.
It is also an increasing unknown, he added, whether ministers in the future PAP Government, after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong steps down, would be able to plan for the future and serve the people well.
"So, for your future and your children's future, we need to build an effective check and balance system and we must start now to prepare for a rainy day.
"Let WP gradually become steady so that when the time comes, we can play the role. Don't wait for PAP to be corrupt, and we have to riot on the streets. Singapore cannot take such turmoil," said Mr Low.
The party, which last night introduced new member Daniel Goh, a sociologist from the National University of Singapore, ended days of defending its performance in Parliament, after criticisms by PAP leaders.
Instead, going on the offensive, Mr Low urged voters to follow the example of Aljunied GRC voters, who had chosen, in the words of Hougang MP Png Eng Huat, to deliver a slap to the PAP during the general election.
"May the by-election provide a Punggol East slap that the PAP will never forget," he said.