Workers' Party

WP: Empower your future with a new kind of politics

Political sticking points: A sheet of stickers with the logos of some parties and other symbols. SYLVIA LIM SWEE LIAN Chairman
Political sticking points: A sheet of stickers with the logos of some parties and other symbols. SYLVIA LIM SWEE LIAN ChairmanST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
SYLVIA LIM SWEE LIAN Chairman
SYLVIA LIM SWEE LIAN Chairman

Seven political parties delivered their second party messages on television and radio last night. The time allocated was based on the number of contesting candidates. We reproduce the messages that were delivered in English.

SYLVIA LIM SWEE LIAN, WP CHAIRMAN:

Good evening, voters.

The Workers' Party has called on you to empower your future. The ruling party has asked you to vote for the status quo, to continue the political system that has brought us to this crossroads today. This crossroads is a mix of successes and failures.

The ruling party has emphasised the successes and attributed them to its own talent and effort. Remember that our pioneer generation was recognised only last year, in 2014, for their long contribution to building our nation.

The Workers' Party supported the Government's Pioneer Generation Package because we called for the recognition of the pioneer generation during the National Day immediately after the last general election in 2011. "Better late than never."

In recent years, "better late than never" has become a recurring theme, in housing, in transport, in healthcare, in social welfare nets, in costs of living. The ruling party has run out of ideas and is chasing after failures in these key sectors, trying to put out the fire and fix the breakdowns. Better delay than complete breakdown. But during the delay, the people suffer.

We need a new vision for the next 50 years. We should seek to free the people to aspire and empower them to realise their dreams. In our vision, the role of the government is not to interfere with and supervise every aspect of our life, but to focus on investing in our social, economic and political institutions and ensuring their independence. The Singaporean talents unleashed would then take these institutions to new heights of achievement.

In our vision, society is not shaped like a pyramid, with a super-elite ruling over the struggling masses and a shrinking middle class feeling squeezed by rising costs. We seek a society with many peaks of excellence rising from the thriving majority of successful Singaporeans.

In our vision, Singapore would be a society where Singaporeans are secure in their accomplishments and would willingly support fellow Singaporeans who have fallen through the cracks.

We need a new kind of politics. It no longer makes sense to give a small group of self-selecting and self-checking leaders a blank cheque to take us forward into the murky future. We believe that empowering Singaporeans entails a system of government where there are adequate checks and balances without political gridlock.

Parliament must play the crucial role of checking and pushing a powerful executive to make well-balanced policies and laws that protect and advance the people's interests. A Parliament monopolised by one ruling party fails the test of rigorous debate and voting in forging sound policies. This grave imbalance has given free rein to the ruling party to take our country in any direction it deems fit. It has refused to listen for many years. Policy U-turns take place only after our institutions come close to breakdown.

It has also led to our current situation where the ruling party is suspicious of all critical voices and opposition parties, and equates the nation with the government and the government with itself.

This has led to the ruling party seeking to hold on to power by making unfair rules against other political parties.

Patriotic but disagreeing citizens who seek reforms through the democratic process should not be deemed as enemies to be picked on and discredited. Politics and elections should not be treated as wars. We need to move away from the unscrupulous politics of knocking out your opponent at all costs to fostering fair play and truly constructive politics.

Fellow citizens, Singapore is not the PAP. Singapore is now a mature and diverse society. We are ready for a Parliament with different political voices.

A balanced Parliament is critical in assisting the Government to make sounder judgments about policy trade-offs. A balanced Parliament is critical in getting the ruling party to treat all citizens with decency and respect, including those who disagree.

Your vote is your power. The Workers' Party is your credible choice. We offer a slate of capable candidates, carefully selected to ensure the renewal of the party, who embody our values of bottom-up service to the people and being a rational, respectable and responsible party. Our candidates come from many professions with diverse skill sets and expertise, but are all united in seeking the empowerment of Singaporeans. Empower yourself to make decisions for your own future! Vote Workers' Party. Empower your future.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2015, with the headline 'Empower your future with a new kind of politics'. Print Edition | Subscribe