Housing, transport policies criticised

Transport and housing policies came under the most fire from the Workers' Party yesterday, as speaker after speaker pointed out the inadequacy of government measures in these two areas.

While some changes have been made since the 2011 General Election, such as the new MRT expansion announced last week, the lapses in transport and property policies showed the need for more opposition in Parliament to pressure the Government to do more, they said.

Several lambasted the series of MRT breakdowns since 2011 even as bus and train fares go up and the two public transport operators continue to turn in large profits.

Just last month, a breakdown in the North-East Line would have inconvenienced many Punggol East residents, said Mr Toh Hong Boon, one of WP's candidates for Moulmein-Kallang GRC in 2011.

He reminded the audience of WP's policy suggestions in its 2011 manifesto: nationalise public transport and regulate fare increases for taxis and buses.

Also criticised was the rising certificate of entitlement (COE) premiums. The COE price for small cars hit a new high of $92,100 this month.

Hougang MP Png Eng Huat noted that it has not become any easier after 2011 to own a small car to drive one's family around.

Mr Png also took the Government to task for the rise in property prices. While a seventh round of cooling measures was announced this month, he said the fact that these are needed shows something is "fundamentally wrong" with the system.

The WP had already pointed out before the GE that there was an undersupply of flats, he said. While the Government is claiming credit for policy changes since 2011, it is "just trying to rectify all these problems" after Aljunied GRC voters dealt it a "tight slap" in that election, said Mr Png.

"Having one more WP MP sends a powerful message to the PAP: that all is still not well," he said. "All is still not forgotten and all is still not fixed."

Property prices also featured in WP candidate Lee Li Lian's speech. Through Meet-the-People Sessions in Aljunied GRC, she has encountered Singaporeans who have been on the losing end of policies by the PAP Government, she said.

These include people who struggle to get a flat and young families that face rising child-care costs due to high rentals which are passed on to them by child-care operators.