GE2015: Holland-Bukit Timah residents get PAP letter criticising SDP policies

The letter sent out by the PAP to Holland-Bukit Timah GRC residents.
The letter sent out by the PAP to Holland-Bukit Timah GRC residents.ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO

SINGAPORE - The People's Action Party (PAP) team contesting in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC has sent to its residents a letter picking apart its opponent's policies.

Titled The Hard Truths About SDP's Policies, the letter, in both English and Chinese, was sent to some 45,000 households across the ward.

Among the SDP proposals listed is the raising of personal income and corporate taxes, which the PAP team said was "unrealistic" and would result in the relocation of multi-national corporations and large companies, or "corporate flight".

The letter also said the SDP's suggestion to cut the defence budget by 40 per cent "(threatens) Singapore's existence" and "ignores geopolitical risks". It added that he SDP's healthcare system as "very expensive" and said it "erodes personal responsibility".

Signed off by the PAP candidates, the letter also said the opposition party was "ignorant of local needs and concerns" and indicated that the SDP had no town and community plans for the GRC.

The PAP team, consisting of the Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information Sim Ann, banker Liang Eng Hwa and lawyer Christopher de Souza, is going up against an SDP team led by party chief Chee Soon Juan.

Dr Chee's team includes medical professor Paul Tambyah, healthcare administrator Chong Wai Fung and compliance auditor Sidek Mallek.

This is the second time that the area is being contested. In the 2011 general election, the SDP went up against the same PAP team, but lost with 39.9 per cent of the vote.

This letter is not the first time that Dr Balakrishnan and his team have slammed the SDP and its policies.

On Nomination Day itself, soon after nominations closed, Dr Balakrishnan said the SDP's policies would set Singapore "on the road to Greece", referring to the debt-stricken European country.

Mr de Souza has repeatedly said during his team's rallies that the SDP's plans to cut the defence budget would "ambush Singapore's sovereignty".

The SDP team, however, have stood by their plans and has criticised the PAP's policies in return.

Dr Chee said the PAP's policies sometimes imitate the SDP's in piecemeal fashion, giving the example of the Government's progressive wage model, which ties the pay rises of low-wage workers to training.

"(They) call it by another name, but it's still the minimum wage for selected industries," he said.

Dr Tambyah has also defended the SDP's healthcare policy. He said: "Healthcare is actually essential to the defence of Singapore. The amount we propose reducing the defence budget (by) is minuscule... it would still leave Singapore's defence budget as far in excess of all the Asean countries put together."

During a rally on Tuesday, Dr Chee added: "We're not saying that we change everything overnight. We're not even saying that we've all the answers. We believe that our alternative ideas are good, but we know that they are not perfect."