SINGAPORE - Noting that many Aljunied GRC residents seem to be in a dilemma about who to vote for, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong urged voters to do so according to their self-interest.
Speaking to reporters after a two-hour walkabout in the constituency on Sunday, Mr Goh said residents have told him they want to vote his People's Action Party (PAP), but are also worried that Workers' Party (WP) Members of Parliament would lose their seats.
"My own advice is not to argue for the PAP or against the WP, but look at their own interests as a voter... Because when you vote for somebody, you must vote for a candidate whose values you appreciate. Values like humility, sincerity, hard work, integrity, honesty."
He also urged voters to consider their future and their children's in choosing at the ballot box: "Who can help you better in the future? So if you rationalise and look at these two (criteria), then you can come to a decision."
He likened the PAP and the WP to different types of cruise ships.
"If you go with the PAP, you're embarking on a cruise ship with a definite destination... You know the captain, the crew members, you know the quality."
But other parties are cruise ships with no clear destination, he said. "These are gambling ships, casinos. Very exciting. So you can take this ship, you can gamble, but you go nowhere."
He added: "If you're a gambler, then of course you take the casino ship. But if you're not a gambler and you worry about your children's future, you'll take the other ship."
Mr Goh also addressed worries among some voters that not voting the WP would result in them not having a voice in Parliament.
To this, he said the WP "can have their cake and eat it."
Referring to the Non-Constituency MP scheme, which gives the top opposition losers seats in Parliament, Mr Goh said the WP's voice can still be as strong as before, with the added benefit of not having to run the town council.
The WP-run Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council is in an ongoing spat with the Government about the state of its finances, and its reported lapses in governance and accounting have been the source of back-and-forth exchanges between the PAP and WP on the campaign trail.
"They're more free to write more great speeches to make more great rhetoric in Parliament," said Mr Goh.
This is Mr Goh's first visit to Aljunied GRC since campaigning started. He had earlier visited the constituency in the middle of last month to give moral support to the team there.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visited several wards in the constituency.
Asked whether both his and Mr Lee's appearance could sway voters to the PAP's side, Mr Goh said it would, for the people they have met on the ground.
"But its always the people who are not here, the silent majority, (that we need to reach), so we can't take things for granted."
"It's still very much an uphill task for the team over here. It's not easy. They've got to work for every vote."
The PAP's team for Aljunied GRC is led by veteran MP Yeo Guat Kwang and comprises Mr Victor Lye, Mr K. Muralidharan Pillai, Mr Chua Eng Leong and Mr Shamsul Kamar.
They will face the incumbents, WP chief Low Thia Khiang, party chairman Sylvia Lim, Mr Pritam Singh, Mr Chen Show Mao and Mr Faisal Manap.