Singapore GE2020: Say 'no more blank cheques' to the ruling party, says Dr Tan Cheng Bock

Dr Tan Cheng Bock speaks at the Mayflower Market & Food Centre on June 19, 2020. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG



Dear Singaporeans, I am Dr Tan Cheng Bock. I was an MP for Ayer Rajah for 26 years before I stepped down in 2006. This year, I lead my party, the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), to contest this general election. I am here to appeal for your votes. I am 80 years old. Yet, why am I contesting in this election? Because the People's Action Party (PAP) is not the same as before. It has lost its way.

And I love this country, like many of you. While I am still able, I want to do something about it. So, I have chosen to run again and pass on my knowledge to my younger colleagues.

Firstly, I want to assure you that the PSP will know how to look after your constituency. PSP has people who have run town councils before, including myself. I was previously the chairman of the Jurong East Town Council and South West CDC. We know how to take care of you.

Secondly, if you put us into Parliament, you will have MPs who will ask the tough questions on your behalf. Ask yourself, have you ever heard any of your PAP MPs ask the hard questions? As a Singaporean, you have a right to information the Government is refusing to answer. For example, on our reserves. The Government needs to be transparent and accountable to the people.

Thirdly, if you put us into Parliament, we can stop the PAP from having a majority of more than two-thirds. If the PAP has a two-thirds majority, it will have the power to change important laws like the Constitution at will, whenever it wishes without being checked.

Also, having a PAP monopoly in Parliament is not a formula for success. For the past 20 years, the PAP had a strong monopoly. However, prosperity has not flowed to all Singaporeans. Many PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) are still out of work, and their jobs are displaced by foreigners. The previous mandate did not always mean good outcomes for Singaporeans.

Finally, if you put us into Parliament, we will be there to check how the next Government will spend our reserves over the next five years.

The PAP will tell you that it can "ownself check ownself". Do you agree? This is very important. The Government will be spending billions of our reserves on post-Covid-19 recovery measures. This is your money.

If the PAP dominates Parliament, tell me: Who will check how the money is spent? How much of our reserves will go to the big government-linked businesses paying high executive salaries? How much will reach ordinary Singaporean families struggling to get by?

My dear Singaporeans, this election is really only about one thing: The post-Covid-19 recovery of Singapore. The world has changed dramatically. The PAP policies made before Covid-19 no longer apply.

Before Parliament was dissolved, you saw how the PAP Government struggled to find the right answers. You saw how its boasting in January failed to prepare Singapore for the explosion of dormitory cases in April. It does not have all the answers. For years, you have heard the PAP say you cannot do it without them. I want you to know that you can do it. We can do it together.

So, I ask you this: Will you take this opportunity to say to the PAP, "No more blank cheques"? Vote for transparency, vote for accountability and vote for independence. Vote the Progress Singapore Party into Parliament.

You deserve better. For country. For people.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2020, with the headline Singapore GE2020: Say 'no more blank cheques' to the ruling party, says Dr Tan Cheng Bock. Subscribe