Workers' Party rally

Vote in WP to hold PAP to its word: Giam

Workers' Party rally at the field in front of Blk 155, Simei Road, for the electorial division of East Coast GRC.
Workers' Party rally at the field in front of Blk 155, Simei Road, for the electorial division of East Coast GRC.ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

The People's Action Party (PAP) may have said sorry for its past missteps, but Singaporeans need to vote in more Workers' Party (WP) candidates to Parliament to ensure that the ruling party follows through on its apology, WP candidate Gerald Giam said last night.

He was one of three WP candidates yesterday who sought to remind the public of the PAP's mistakes by bringing up its apologies.

"It took the General Election (GE) in 2011 for the Government to wake up and realise there were real problems hurting Singaporeans. Hence came the big sorry four days before Polling Day... Four-and-a-half years on, do you believe that the PAP was really sorry?" Mr Giam said.

During a rally at the previous election, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong apologised for the escape of terrorist Mas Selamat, the Orchard Road flood, and the stress on public infrastructure brought about by an influx of foreigners.

"If we didn't quite get it right, I'm sorry but we will try better the next time," he said then.

Mr Giam said last night: "We ask you to send a strong message to (the PAP) by sending in MPs that can hold them to their sorry.

"We need to make sure the PAP follows through on its sorry and fixes the mess it has created, which is an overpopulated island without sufficient infrastructure to support it."

His East Coast GRC team-mate Leon Perera also said that, following the last election, the PAP did not admit to more of its mistakes.

"The PAP likes to gloss over uncomfortable truths. They use phrases like 'We were in a bad place in the property cycle. No one could have anticipated that the prices of resale flats would skyrocket'," he said.

But the Government owns most of the country's land and knows the rate of new household formation every year, he said. "Is this the fault of the property cycle or the failure of government forward planning?" Mr Perera said.

The WP's East Coast GRC candidate Daniel Goh referred to a footnote in the Population White Paper which labelled nursing as a "low-skilled" job.

This "hit a personal nerve", Dr Goh said, as his mother works as a nurse.

"It was good that the PAP ministers at the time said sorry very quickly and corrected the error. But, sorry got cure?" he asked.

"How did the footnote get there in the first place? How did the Cabinet make such a glaring mistake in such an important document?"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2015, with the headline 'Vote in WP to hold PAP to its word: Giam'. Print Edition | Subscribe