The role of a Member of Parliament (MP) goes beyond being "a glorified estate manager" to speaking up for residents in the House, Mrs Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss, the Singapore People's Party (SPP) candidate for Mountbatten, said last night.
She charged that her opponent, the People's Action Party's Mr Lim Biow Chuan, is constrained in doing so despite his best intentions as he is subject to the PAP whip, which requires him to vote according to the party's line.
Speaking at the sports field in Stadium Drive, Mrs Chong-Aruldoss acknowledged that Mr Lim, a fellow lawyer, had done a "decent" job in the upkeep of the estate. But being an MP is "much more than maintenance, upgrading and building covered walkways", she said. "The role of an MP isn't just to be a glorified estate manager - the real role is to lead, to inspire, and to fight for the residents of the constituency," she said.
She added: "Do we need another PAP backbencher to okay public transport fare hikes... to vote for the 6.9 million Population White Paper, to attack the Aljunied MPs? No matter how much he wants to, my opponent cannot always speak for you because he has to toe the party line."
Referring to the election posters of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong that have been put up around the island, she said: "Regardless of how good Mr Lim's intentions are, who does he answer to? He answers to Mr Lee Hsien Loong. But I can speak up for you."
Mrs Chong-Aruldoss, who got 41.38 per cent of the votes in the 2011 contest against Mr Lim, asked voters to put her ahead in the rematch.
"I ask that you help me close the gap to cross the 50 per cent mark," she said. "Let me speak out for you, because my opponent sometimes cannot speak for fear of the party whip."