Singapore GE2020: Tan Cheng Bock defends PSP manifesto, says it is up to Singaporeans to judge it

Progress Singapore Party chief Tan Cheng Bock and PSP candidate for Pioneer SMC Lim Cher Hong visiting households in two Housing near Jurong Point on July 4, 2020. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - It will be up Singaporeans to judge the Progress Singapore Party's (PSP) manifesto, party chief Tan Cheng Bock said yesterday, responding to criticisms from the PAP that it was lacking in detail.

"A manifesto is something you have to go through it and read, and it is individual. There may be certain parts that may not be very agreeable with certain people but that is giving you a very broad picture," he told reporters on Saturday (July 4), after doing house visits in Pioneer SMC.

"A manifesto is up to your interpretation; we feel like our manifesto was crafted in the interest of Singaporeans, so it's up to their interpretation. If they think we have done a lousy manifesto, it's not up to him to say. It's for the people to decide."

On June 29, the PSP set out its policies over six pages in its 13-page manifesto, dividing the proposals into the three broad segments: economic development, social development and political development.

Earlier on Saturday, Mr S. Iswaran said the PSP manifesto was lacking in detail and made up of "broad statements" which are then left to "the imagination of the population".

Mr Iswaran, who is leading the People's Action Party (PAP) slate in West Coast GRC, said: "So I think the voters of West Coast GRC and Singaporeans deserve to know, what are you planning to give up when you say you're going to review all of these." He was referring to a point raised in PSP's manifesto on reviewing free trade agreements.

The PAP West Coast team, which comprises Mr Iswaran, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, Ms Foo Mee Har, Ms Rachel Ong and Mr Ang Wei Neng, is facing off against a PSP team led by Dr Tan, who was a former PAP MP.

On Saturday evening, Dr Tan and PSP candidate for Pioneer SMC Lim Cher Hong visited a few households in two Housing Board (HDB) blocks next to Jurong Point.

Party member Lee Hsien Yang, the brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, was part of the entourage.

When asked about Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing's comments about party manifestos being light on plans to tackle the Covid-19 crisis, Dr Tan disagreed.

He said: "We didn't miss that, that has been articulated so many times, you can look at my Facebook page... As a doctor, do you think we're not looking into it?"

"They will always say we are missing this point, we're missing that point. We're also not perfect, you know? But this is an important area because as far as I'm concerned, this is a Covid-19 election."

On Saturday, Dr Tan reiterated that he believed the emphasis on the Covid-19 recovery should be on lives and livelihoods, not just jobs. "If you don't control Covid-19... all the borders are closed to us. Where are we gonna get the people coming here to invest? Where are you going to get those people to come here as tourists? These are very fundamental basic things."

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