Singapore GE2020: Singapore did not collapse when PAP lost ministers and a GRC in 2011, say WP candidates

WP chairman Sylvia Lim (centre) joins Marine Parade GRC candidates Muhammad Azhar Abdul Latip (left) and Yee Jenn Jong on a walkabout on July 4, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - Singapore did not collapse when it lost two full ministers and a senior minister of state in 2011, said Workers' Party (WP) candidate for Marine Parade GRC Yee Jenn Jong in a Facebook post on Monday (July 6).

He was referring to three of the PAP candidates in Aljunied GRC the year it fell to the WP, namely, then Foreign Minister George Yeo, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Hwee Hua and Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zainul Abidin Rasheed.

Mr Yee added that many countries also have different parties represented in Parliament, citing New Zealand as an example of a minority government that has handled the Covid-19 crisis "far better" than Singapore has.

He also said investments are healthy even in developed countries without a single party with a supermajority.

"The PAP will already have their majority in the 14th Parliament for sure after this general election, which is hurried in the middle of a pandemic to their enormous advantage," he added. "Vote fearlessly."

The remarks were put up on Facebook hours after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's afternoon rally, where he had stressed the importance of a strong mandate as Singapore tackles the Covid-19 crisis. He said that investors, friends and adversaries of Singapore would scrutinise the election results to see if Singaporeans are united and whether they still strongly support their leaders.

Mr Yee on Monday also referred to an earlier post by fellow WP candidate Leon Perera, who is standing for election in Aljunied GRC.

Mr Perera had addressed the PAP's argument that Singapore's foreign direct investment (FDI) from multinational corporations could be affected if the PAP loses more seats in Parliament.

"I remember that, in the past, this view was used by the PAP very frequently and loudly at every GE," he said.

"Yet, the stock of FDI grew after the 2011 GE, when the WP won the GRC of Aljunied as fully elected MPs for the first time - from approximately $665 billion in 2010 to $1.27 trillion in 2015."

Mr Perera, CEO of a market research consultancy, also said the WP supports strong FDI attraction and good economic management, and WP MPs have spoken up in Parliament about these subjects.

Singapore is facing new challenges with Covid-19, including rising economic nationalism and geopolitical tensions, said Mr Perera.

"The economic models of the past, which included using incentives to attract FDI from MNCs, are still relevant, but will need to be supplemented by different approaches," he added.

"For example, we need to do more to nurture strong local enterprises as an engine to create good jobs. Countries with a similar population size to Singapore like New Zealand, Denmark and Finland are less dependent on FDI than we are."

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