Live updates for Tonight’s Rallies – Thursday, 5 May 2011

The rallies tonight will commence at 7pm. Our volunteers on the ground will bring you the latest updates.

6.00pm:
Workers’ Party rally: Throngs of people strolling into WP rally at Serangoon stadium. Estimated about 1,000 present already.

Spotted at WP rally: an audience carrying the now familiar Kate Spade signboard and another in the shape of a hammer.

6.10pm:
WP rally: Mr Pete Pang, 61, was in a wheelchair when he arrived at the Workers’ Party rally site. He made his way all the way down from his house at Commonwealth just to see the last day of the WP rally.

6.15pm:
45 min before Workers’ Party rally starts and Serangoon stadium seats completely filled, at least 4K people here already.

6.30pm:
Beautiful weather at Serangoon stadium. Stands are packed and half the field is full. Many still streaming in to the stadium.

6.40pm:
WP rally: Pritam Singh just arrived to cheers.

Homemade sign with words: “George Yeo for President” by member of public at Serangoon stadium (WP rally). Crowd cheers.

Another placard at WP rally: “Dawn of a new era – May 8”.

6.45pm:
WP’s Gerald Giam arrives to loud cheers of support.

WP’s Glenda Han next to arrive.

6.50pm:
SPP rally – about 100 people, evenly split between field and grandstand.

Overhead at SPP rally – “Sylia Lim best speaker, followed by Nicole Seah”.

6.52pm:
Crowd chanting spontaneously, “Worker’s Party! Worker’s Party!”

6.55pm:
WP rally – Chen Shao Mao arrives. The crowd goes insane and yells “Chen Shao Mao! Chen Shao Mao!”

SPP rally – Benjamin Pwee and Jimmy Lee working the crowd.

7.00pm:
WP rally, Somasundaram arrives.The whole slate of WP candidates have now made their way up to the stage. Crowd goes fanatic.

7.05pm:
WP rally: Emcee Koh Choon Yong opens the rally in English and now Mandarin. He addressed all of the GRC and SMC residents in wards they are contesting. Crowd is very responsive, cheering and answering to each remark.

7.14pm:
WP party veteran mentions Wong Kan Seng and crowd responds with resounding ‘Boo!’ He questioned the capability of Wong in allowing Mas Selamat to escape.

SDP rally begins.

SPP rally – about 350 people there now! Volunteers are selling flags.

7.17pm:
SDP rally – Jarrod Luo is the first speaker. After 50 years of plain rice, it’s time to order some other dishes!

SPP rally – An old man in the audience has a bunch of flags rubber banded together. All the flags are from different opposition parties.

SDP rally – Jarrod Luo thanks the crowd for braving the rain and mud.

WP rally, Moulmein-Kallang GRC candidate L Somasundaram is up next. He will speak in Tamil first, then proceed in English. When he greeted the crowd in Tamil, the entire crowd, regardless of race, replied “Vanakkam”!

WP rally: All flags, wristbands and umbrellas were sold out even before the rally.

WP rally, L Somasundaram ends his Tamil speech. Now introduces himself to crowd in Malay.

WP rally, L Somasundaram speaks to the crowd in Chinese now and says “I love you!”. the crowd reciprocates. He says his daughter was the one who taught him Mandarin. He’s now speaking in English.

7.23pm:
SDP rally – Jarrod Luo: Is it that anything criticising PAP policies is considered to be stoking up emotions? But they have ignored our emotions for far too long!

SDP rally – Jarrod Luo: The areas in which an NCMP cannot vote are the most important ones.

SPP rally – MC mentions traffic jams caused by nearby opposition rallies, says they’ll wait a little longer. Crowd cheers.

SDP rally – Jarrod Luo promises 50% of MP allowance back into the constituency if voted in. When he mentions Dr Balakrishnan everyone boos.

WP rally, L Somasundaram talks about the floods that occurred yesterday.

WP rally, L Somasundaram addressed the issue of residents asking him on walkabouts what WP can do for them. To this he said, “WP don’t make empty promises. We are not in control of the funds. But one thing we promise is to listen to you.”

7.27pm:
WP rally, L Somasundaram – “Many of you have already made up your minds who to vote for. If you’ve decided to vote WP, I congratulate and thank you. Be firm with your decision. Do not let any influences affect you tomorrow. Go for movie! Take leave and have an outing with your family and children. Have a nice meal with your gf or bf – relax.” Audience: “Okay!”

WP rally, L Somasundaram to those who decided to vote for the PAP – reminds the people of the problems that arose the last 5 years: YOG, rising costs of living, housing costs etc. He urged them to consider carefully.

WP rally, L Somasundaram: “Dear voters, please think beyond estate upgrading. Think for your children”. Crowd: “OK!”

WP rally, L Somasundaram: “Do you want your voice to be heard in Parliament?” Crowd: YES!

WP rally, L Somasundaram: “Do you want a First World Parliament?” Crowd: YES!

WP rally: next candidate is Me Lee Li Lian, candidate for Punggol East SMC.

SDP rally – Jarrod Luo: YOG is not the first time such games were held. The 1988 World Youth Games were on a similar scale. So how can Vivian say it is the first time?

SPP rally – About 500 people now!

SDP rally – Jarrod Luo: This elections is not about debate. It is about you. It has ceased to be about the PAP or opposition parties. It is about YOU.

7.32pm:
SPP rally – There is a woman in a red T-shirt walking around. She has “Say No to 10% GST” stickers pasted on the front and back of her shirt.

SPP rally – MC: Too long we have given up community values for material goods.

SDP rally – John Tan: Our plans are open to your scrutiny. We are an accountable and transparent party.

SPP rally – MC: Materialism measures everything but that which makes life worth living.

WP rally, Ms Lee speaks of how far WP and Singapore has come so far and thanked all Singaporeans who have contributed to this nation building process.

WP rally, Ms Lee Li Lian: “In you I see courage – courage to support us, the Worker’s Party”.

SPP rally – MC introduces the GRC team. Chiam See Tong has not yet arrived but the crowd cheers.

SDP rally – John Tan: Khaw Boon Wan does not want to take up our challenge to debate. He has no guts. He says our ideas are cheap. If ideas are cheap, why doesn’t he have any ideas?

WP rally, Ms Lee Li Lian referred to these election as a “watershed election”.

SPP rally – Residents garland the candidates.

SDP rally – John Tan: Spread the word. That is the only way you can multiply your vote.

7.37pm:
WP rally, Ms Lee Li Lian: “I supported the PAP when I was young but now as a 33 year old woman I no longer support them. They only know how to pay themselves FAT salaries (crowd cheers loudly)… they only listen to themselves”.

SPP rally – MC: For too long you have been covered by the hand of the PAP. It’s now time for Bishan-Toa Payoh to be the next beacon of hope for democracy in Singapore.

WP rally, Ms Lee Li Lian: “This election is not just about upgrading and upgrading and upgrading!”

WP rally, Ms Lee Li Lian: “We bring u the heart that is sorely missing in the PAP who only knows to apologize last minute. There is only one agenda this election – the people’s”.

SPP rally – MC now speaking in Hokkien, translation of his English speech.

SPP rally – 600 people. Ben Pwee takes the stage to fanfare.

7.43pm:
WP rally, Ms Lee Li Lian’s speech ends. Next speaker is candidate from East Coast GRC, Png Eng Huat. Crowd shouts, “Huat ah!”

WP’s Png Eng Huat will speak in Hokkien first, then English.

SDP rally – John Tan: You are our nation’s most important asset. That’s why we recommend three times the current health budget.

SDP rally – John Tan: Change is in the air.

WP’s Png Eng Huat: PAP has apologized but only 10 mths after the floods subsided, 3 years after Mas Selamat escaped and after years of flooding the country w foreigners. We don’t want an apology now, we want accountability and transparency.

SPP rally – Ben Pwee in Cantonese: Your vote is secret! Tells people that he voted opposition while in the civil service.

7.46pm:
SDP rally – Teo Soh Lung takes the stage.

SDP rally – Teo Soh Lung: PAP is apologising because the opposition has been speaking for you. If we stop speaking for you they will stop listening to you.

SPP rally – Ben Pwee in Mandarin: The older generation is important. He thanks them for their contributions to Singapore.

SPP rally – Ben Pwee repeats speech in English. Thanks parents for working hard. Asks people to think about how to vote for a better future for children and greater democracy.

WP’s Png Eng Huat says PAP has changed their slogan to “I am sorry”. They want to connect with u emotionally. But can the PAP connect with u emotionally when they apologize three days before polling day? Can they connect with u emotionally when they have done nothing to protect ur jobs? There is no charges to emotional connection. Some volunteers stop by the roads and help us adjust the posters, no charge… like you, coming to every WP rally, that’s emotional connection!

SDP rally – Teo Soh Lung: PAP makes a lost of promises during the elections. How do you make sure they fulfill their promise? Crowd: VOTE SDP!

WP’s Png Eng Huat: “I believe you have recieved the money for your Growth and Share package. I hope you still have it”. Audience yells “Bo Liao!”

WP’s Png Eng Huat: “Return Singapore to a place we can truly call home”. Ends his speech.

7.55pm:
Next speaker at WP rally, candidate for Hougang SMC, Yaw Shin Leong. He greets the crowd in Chinese.

SDP rally – Teo Soh Lung: If you continue voting PAP you will continue being like the farm animals in Animal Farm. The power is in your hands.

SPP rally – Ben Pwee encourages people to discuss the speakers’ points during the rally.

SPP rally – About 800 people. Former teacher David Tan is a guest speaker.

SDP rally – Teo Soh Lung promises residents of Yuhua she will always be accessible to them.

SPP rally – David Tan: I am a firm believer of fairness, of equality, of justice.

SPP rally – David Tan (about Potong Pasir): What saddens me is the way the government has treated its citizens.

SPP rally – David Tan: I don’t want to name names, but 1 PAP member does not deserve to return to Parliament.

8.00pm:
WP rally, Yaw Shin Leong says volunteers who helped him with Hougang SMC, are “unsung heroes”. He said they slogged together with him, be it rain or shine.

SDP rally – Dr Ang Yong Guan takes the stage.

SDP rally – Dr Ang: Now that we have strong opposition, they are humble. Hopes that PAP is sorry, not sorely.

SPP rally – DT (referring to Mas Selamat escape): The most honourable thing for him to do, is before 7 May, remove his name from elections.

SPP rally – DT: We do not have a Swiss standard of living. We have a Russian nightmare!

SPP rally – DT: Temasek Holdings lost billions, but continued to pay CEOs high salaries.

SPP rally – Sim Kek Tong next.

SPP rally – SKT: I have been in politics for 23 years. I have nothing to fear.

8.05pm:
WP rally, Yaw Shin Leong: “It is often the heart that matters more. Hougang pple may not be living in most polished estate but warmth of their hearts are second to none! Hougang people understand the need for justice in S’pore. Their fighting spirit encourages me. This is a community worth fighting for”.

SPP rally – SKT: Tomorrow is Cooling Off Day. Vote calmly and courageously on Polling Day.

SPP rally – SKT: Voting is sacred. The gods will protect you.

SDP rally – Dr Ang: Now then Vivian says he understands your pain. He apologises for his three meals comments only now. Now Vivian acknowledges the gap between government and people and wants to make amends. Is it too late?

WP rally, Yaw Shin Leong: It is v strange that the ministers will question the Hougang Town Council proceedings because an external auditor is  hired and all accounts are submitted to the government.

SPP rally – SKT: Singapore has the widest income gap in the world. Life in Singapore is stressful, cost of living is very high and we have to work very hard.

SPP rally – SKT: The rich, our PM, have very high salaries. Crowd boos.

WP rally, Yaw Shin Leong says the series of emotional outbursts (by PAP) and apologies have come decades too late.

WP rally – audience yells “To a new beginning!”. Speaker Yaw Shin Leong responded, “Yes”.

SDP rally – Dr Ang: The old PAP and new PAP are very different. The old PAP worked for the country. The new PAP have poor values. Their values are all about money.

SPP rally – SKT talks about the practice of pegging ministerial salaries to top income earners. Political figures must revise pegging downwards.

8.10pm:
WP rally, Yaw Shin Leong asked: “Will you join me in this journey?” Crowd: YES!

WP rally – Sylvia Lim arrives.

SDP rally – Dr Ang: Now that we have a strong opposition the PAP has started criticising itself. We don’t have to criticise them anymore!

SDP rally – Dr Ang reiterates: Gratitude is not servitude!

Next speaker is Glenda Han, candidate for East Coast GRC. Everyone starts waving their flags in the air.

WP rally, Glenda Han: Mentions she is a member of the suicide squad in GE 2006 when he contested agst PM Lee. She shouts, “I did not give up!”

SPP rally – SKT: Increase timescale salaries for civil standards to close income gap.

SDP rally – Dr Ang: We don’t want a first class government with second class citizens. We want a first class government with first class citizens!

SPP rally – Chiam See Tong arrives. Crowd chanting his name.

SPP rally – MC: Bishan-Toa Payoh! Crowd: SPP!

WP rally, Glenda Han (in Mandarin): “Do you want the GST to rise again? Do you want history to repeat itself again?”

SDP rally – Dr Ang: Singapore must never be owned by foreign talents.

8.16pm:
WP rally, Glenda Han says last time when she was 20 years old, she thought she can withdraw her CPF in 30 yrs. When she is now 30, she realized she have to wait ano 35 years to withdraw her CPF. She asked, wonder if by the time I die, will I be able to see my money one last time?

SPP rally – 1000 people. People on the field have all stood up to cheer. People chant “CHIAM SEE TONG!”

SPP rally – Jimmy Lee resumes his speech, talking about reaching out to those sitting on the fence.

SDP rally – Dr Ang: PAP thinks now you are too emotional, sure vote SDP but after Cooling Off Day will vote PAP. Let’s prove them wrong!

SPP rally – JL: SPP does not believe in cook up 5-year plans because it is unrealistic. Impossible if they haven’t spoken to residents and town councils.

SPP – JL: We promise an orderly transition. We will set up an interim transition team comprised of SPP and the PAP (if they want to participate). The team will study the ground and develop a 5 year plan within 100 days.

SDP rally, Dr Ang: Cooling off day will not work because of the power of the Internet!

WP’s Glenda Han says PAP have been talking abt their track record. Acknowledges S’pore has improved since independence and we got to thank them for that, but today the govt is not connected to the ground. Yet they haven’t realized the problem.

SPP – JL: We have 27 years of track record in Potong Pasir. Crowd chants, “CHIAM SEE TONG!”

SPP – JL: People have said Potong Pasir is a slum. He holds up photos of Potong Pasir. Do you see a slum? Crowd: NO!

SPP – JL: Ang Mo Kio is no better than Potong Pasir.

WP’s Glenda Han appeals to audience to send WP into Parliament for a better, brighter future.

8.23pm:
SPP – JL: Foreign workers are cleaning up AMK. Tomorrow, ST will say PAP wards are clean.

WP’s Glenda Han now speaks in English. She says she is happy now more and more young pple are coming out to speak. She exclaims, “Singapore has hope!”

SDP rally, Sadasivam Veriyah on gerrymandering – maybe at the next elections Sembawang will join with Johor Bahru to form a GRC.

WP’s Glenda Han: “We can help you. You have to vote us in”.

SPP – JL: Your assets may be diversified but your management is not. (referring to Temasek and GIC)

8.28pm:
WP rally, next speaker is candidate from Aljunied GRC Mr Muhamad Faisal.

WP rally, Mhd Faisal: “You should know by now what you want for Singapore”.

SPP – JL: We will push for a board of bankers to oversee GIC and Temasek.

SPP – JL: We will get a panel of residents to oversee Bishan-TP’s sinking funds.

SPP – JL: There’s a lot of conflicting information. Find out for yourself. Don’t listen to me, don’t believe our pictures. Tomorrow, come to Potong Pasir and see for yourself.

WP rally, Mhd Faisal asks the crowd if they are happy with the situation today. They shout “NO!”. Faisal asks: “So what should you do?” The crowd replies: “Vote Workers’ Party!”

SPP – JL: Don’t read the information from the newspapers.

WP rally, Mhd Faisal now speaks to crowd in Malay.

SPP – JL: Let May 7 be the day you take a step forward and see the truth.

8.34pm:
SPP – Mohd Hamim bin Aliyas speaks.

SDP – Alec Tok, reading a letter from member of public about a piece of info on CPF life which not many people know. The premium is 10% of what is in your CPF account.

SDP – Alec Tok: Singapore’s fast growth is creating one of the worst rich-poor divides in the world. Quotes a story reported in CNBC today.

8.40pm:
WP rally – Emcee Koh apologizes for the earlier technical fault. He jokingly adds, “At least we apologize quickly”. Crowd laughs.

SDP – Alec Tok: The letter writer wants to know what is the number of HDB flats repossessed and how many people were made bankrupt in the last 5 – 10 years.

WP rally – Low Thia Khiang has arrived. Everyone gave him a standing ovation. Whistles sounded in the air, flags flew high.

WP rally, next speaker is much awaited candidate of Aljunied GRC, Chen Shao Mao.WP rally, Chen SM: “My fellow Singaporeans, good to see you in Aljunied”.

WP rally, Chen SM: “With your help, S’pore will take another step forward in Aljunied. After Potong Pasir, after Hougang, here is Aljunied!” Crowd cheers.

WP rally, Chen SM: Most questions have to do with why I left Singapore and why I came back. Audience shouts: “Because you love Singapore!”

SPP – About 3000 people. Mohd Hamim: The SPP believes in democracy. Parliament must be made up of different voices.

SPP – Mohd Hamim: Who should be held accountable for Mas Selamat’s escape? Crowd: Wong Kan Seng!

SPP- Mohd Hamim: I want to thank the military and police for taking care of Singapore.

SDP – Alec Tok talks about the gradual disconnect between the government and the people.

SPP – Hamim: The Malays have served in the army and police with loyalty. There must be a level playing field. Malays cannot be kept in the lower ranks.

8.45pm:
SPP – Banner seen: “SORRY NOT ENOUGH! CHARGE WKS WITH CBT!”

SDP – Alec Tok: From a society where family comes first then country we have become one where only country matters.

WP rally, Chen SM: Says reason he left was ‘cos he couldn’t get into NUS even tho his results were quite good. So he left to further his studies in US, then went to England, and to HK and now back to S’pore. “But I’ve always been a Singaporean”.

WP rally, Chen SM, to voters in Aljunied: “I am humbled that I’ve won your confidence”. He mentions his team-mates one by one, which wins applause from the audience. “We’ll do the best job we can”.

SDP – Alec Tok: What we want are leaders who respect us.

WP rally, Chen SM: “We’ll aim to run the most effective town council for you. Your estate will be well-maintained. We will work hard to foster community spirit… we will push the govt to make public housing affordable for you n yr children. Plans for the North East line n upgrading will carry on”.

WP rally, Chen SM says he promises to help the people keep the govt in check. “We will help the govt ministers to serve you better, faster and cheaper!”

WP rally, Chen SM added that no one is perfect (reference to current govt’s failures), “and that’s why we need more Workers’ Party members in Parliament!”

SDP – Alec Tok: Singaporeans are starting to have guts. Wait no more. Stand up and be counted.

8.53pm:
SPP – WL talking about PP. Hopes it would convince people that SPP can run Bishan-TP.

SPP – WL: We are accountable for every cent, and we want to maximise every cent we spend.

SDP – Aziz now speaking.

WP rally, Chen SM says ministerial pay is as high as $5K a day, yet govt spending $11 a day on public assistance. “We need to reflect on what it means to have progress as a nation”.

WP rally, Chen SM: When you vote, spare a thought for them – the poor, the unemployed, the disabled, the elderly, the v young and the special needs of our fellow citizens who are new immigrants to our country. My fellow citizens, our country needs our help. To give some hope for change.”

SPP – WL: Sitoh Yipin’s solar lens proposal in 2006, says Sitoh abandoned the idea after realising the lenses are expensive to maintain.

SPP – WL: We were able to replace 29 lifts at Lorong 8 for $2 million+. Residents did not have to pay. PP did not lose a cent on investments.

SDP – Aziz says he has received letters of suggestions at his door step. Reading the latter: PAP claims to take responsibility for their mistakes. In other countries, leaders resign for these mistakes!

WP rally, Chen SM says he tried to teach his 6 year-old daughter how to spell “Aljunied” and she interrupted him and said ‘Oh, a journey”. A journey it will be indeed.

WP rally, Chen SM now speaks in Mandarin, saying how special this  journey has been for him.

WP rally, Chen SM recounts same story of why he left S’pore and why he came back in Mandarin. “I’m back to my roots”.

SPP – WL: We have empathy with the residents’ feelings.

9.00pm:
WP rally, Chen SM: “My ideology is simple. Only with competition will there be progress”.

SPP – WL: In all 6 previous elections, residents agreed and voted us back in (in PP).

WP rally, Chen SM (in Mandarin): Invites voters to once again see why they need to vote for WP. “Your property estate value will not drop… we wish to bring in more debates on policies – ministerial pay, influx of foreigners etc”. A lady in the crowd yells (in Mandarin): “Workers Party! I love you!”

WP rally, the same lady in the audience shouts (in Mandarin): “Our lives are so bitter!”

WP rally – Chen SM’s speech in Mandarin ends. He now speaks in dialect.

SPP – WL: We have already established a Town Council Management Committee to decide who to manage the Town Council. This committee will establish groundwork during the transition period. Don’t worry, vote happily!

SPP – WL introduces the members of the Town Council Management Committee. Crowd cheers with every name. Approx. 4000 people at the rally now.

9.05pm:
SDP – Michelle Lee: This may be the first time you have thought of choosing  a party not from the PAP to represent you. All of us should be proud of ourselves.

SPP – Ben Pwee: Tomorrow will be a better day.

SDP – Michelle Lee: Tweet it, text it, Facebook it, your vote is secret.

SDP – Michelle Lee: This GE marks a coming of age for Singaporeans.

TOC reporter Deborah from WP rally: Atmosphere here is electrifying! Especially after Chen Shao Mao’s speech.

WP rally – next speaker is also a candidate in Aljunied GRC, Pritam Singh. The crowd cheers are at an all-time high.

SPP – BP: Although LHL has apologised, he is not sincere. A resident said a PAP team of volunteers said that there will be no upgrades if people vote for SPP.

SDP – Michelle Lee: Our vision will lead to a happier and more secure society of our nation.

9.10pm:
SDP Michelle Lee: we have finally come of age as a nation, we can vote wisely, and finally most of us can make a vote.

WP rally, Pritam Singh: Few days ago it was reported that 30 PAP posters were lost, and 29 of their posters were vandalized. He appealed to all S’poreans to stop all such actions, esp on Cooling Off day. He says as the date draws near to Polling Day, emotions will run high.

WP rally, Pritam Singh: “WP has been fighting for Singapore since 1975, and we plan to continue to do so in the future! But let us work to keep politics clean and not engage in smear campaigns”. Crowd roars in agreement.

SPP – BP: People have received messages from a strange telephone number asking them to attend PAP rallies.

SDP rally Michelle Lee: with this style of corporate governance, we’re running the risk of ending up as an Iceland with its financial crisis…

WP rally, Pritam Singh: “We raise national issues rationally, respectably and responsibly”. Crowd: THANK YOU!

WP rally, Pritam Singh: “This elections is about changing the spirit and substance of Singapore’s politics!”

SPP – BP holds up a pamphlet that invites people to Family Day on 22 May. He says the Guest of Honour is DPM Wong Kan Seng. People boo. BP: Please change the name to Chiam See Tong. Crowd cheers and chants his name.

SDP – Michelle: Our ruling party tells us there’s no groupthink, but when one apologises they all apologise.

SDP – Michelle: We have no intention of shaking the foundation. We are here because we see the flaws in the system and we want to repair them before it is too late.

WP rally, Pritam Singh: “the PM has apologized. I hope this starts the new brand of honorable politics”. He also said to the mainstream media, coverage has been better than previous years but there’s “much more room for improvement. MSM, like the PAP, has to step up to play a part in shaping honorable politics in Singapore”.

SPP – BP: CST went to the wet market on the weekend and ran into PAP volunteers. PAP Volunteer to CST: Your health is not so good. Stay in Potong Pasir. We do not welcome you in Bishan. BP’s reply: Let’s wait for May 7 and see if Bishan agrees.

SDP – Michelle: A diverse Parliament makes for a more stable society.

SPP – BP recounts meeting another volunteer. BP: We can be gracious in the elections. PAP volunteer: Why you come to Bishan and commit suicide?

WP rally, Pritam Singh: “to the youth of Singapore, there are two words you should never forget in Singapore!” Those two words: Transparency and accountability.

SDP Michelle Lee: Why has the PAP only apologized now? I hope it is not just due to the fear of losing their million dollar salaries.

SPP – BP: Goh Chok Tong did not deliver on the promise of a Swiss standard of living.

SDP – Michelle: If you like what you saw in the past 2 days when they are humble, help them help themselves. Changes does not come from within. Old habits die hard. Vote SDP. Don’t spoilt your vote.

SDP – James Gomez is next!

WP rally, Pritam Singh – wants to leave undecided Aljunied voters a quote by Mr Ngiam Tong Dow, previous perm sec for 6 ministries. Ngiam was asked in 2003, why S’pore will survive beyond MM Lee. Unequivocably, he answered, “Yes, S’pore will survive provided he leaves the right legacy”. Pritam urges voters to vote in alternative voices in Parl to allow serious discussions.

SPP – BP holds up 1988 Lianhe Zaobao a resident gave him. Reads: PM promises to listen to people before forming policy, party renewal. BP asks, are you satisfied?

9.22pm:
WP rally, Pritam Singh ends his speech with a quote from founder of WP David Marshall. Through that quote he urged people to “make known the voices of the minority without fear”.

SPP – BP: WKS says that BP doesn’t understand how the government works. If the opposition wins 3 GRCs, people lose 5 ministers. BP’s reply: I am not a minister, yet. CST and SPP have more grassroots experience. He then compares PAP’s electoral record. WKS had a walkover since 1984, while CST won 6 elections. BP says there is no difference between a walkover MP and NCMP.

9.25pm:
WP rally – next speaker is leader of Aljunied team, Mr Low Thia Khiang. Many again stood up and flew the WP flags high in the air. The air is punctuated with chants of ‘Worker’s Party! Worker’s Party!’

WP rally, Low TK. He speaks first in Mandarin: “The results of polling day will greatly affect the current generation and also many generations after”.

SPP – BP: We are not equal. WKS won 1 election. CST won 6. You decide who will win.

SDP – James Gomez: PAP keeps running away from hard questions. There’s only one recourse left. We have to catch them in Parliament.

SDP James Gomez recounts campaign for Sembawang GRC. “We asked them questions, we asked for a debate, but the PAP team always runs away and talks only to the official media. Election time is time for recounting and accounting”.

SPP – BP: You mean the PAP can only depend on these 5 ministers? What happened to other PAP members. My friend said that the PAP does not have a monopoly on wisdom. I say the PAP does not have a monopoly on ministers.

SPP – BP calls for a GRC referendum for all PAP walkover MPs.

WP rally, Low TK: “The real power lies in the hands of the people”.

SPP – BP: See if you would have voted for them because the SPP is here!

Lina Chiam now takes the stage to cheers.

SDP – James Gomez: Sembawang is a beautiful place but have you heard your MP talk about conservation?

SDP James Gomez: “The PAP campaign in Sembawang is all about avoidance. They haven’t answered our questions on healthcare and estate rejuvenation”.

9.30pm:
WP rally, Low TK: “Voting is the right of the people. It’s only by voting results that determines who is to run the govt to represent the people. Only then can they decide how to use the national money. Whose money do you think they got? It’s yours!”

WP rally, Low TK: “The elections is exactly giving the people the rights to decide the future they want”.

WP rally, Low TK: “Everyone possesses the same right and opportunity. No one is irreplaceable” (in reference to PM Lee’s remarks on George Yeo being too impt in cabinet and cannot be lost)

WP rally, Low TK says that everyone had a lovely home to begin with. But the ruling party has altered the GRC system to their whim n fancy so much that it disallowed people to effectively vote the right representatives into Parliament.

SDP – James Gomez responding to Khaw’s remarks that tripling health care is not enough. While the govt spends $4 billion on healthcare, you spend $12 billion.

SPP – Lina Chiam on senior citizens: Their sacrifices for the nation are far too many for me to count. Where are they? – recounts elderly workers – Isn’t that sad?

SPP – Lina Chiam: Compared to other countries – their elderly are not treated like that. Where is the justice and equality for these old people? The government knows who they are, and it’s time for the government to help them.

SDP – Tan Jee Say: Last night Shanmugam called my proposal crazy. I wonder if he’s qualified. He’s a lawyer, not a psychiatrist. My colleague Dr Ang is a psychiatrist, and he doesn’t call me crazy.

SDP – TJS: PAP says my proposal causes loss of jobs. Audience member: YES! THEIR jobs!

SPP – LC: All the best PSLE students will only go to 2 schools. They come from 1 mould. The brightest must be posted everywhere. We cannot just dump the worst students in a school.

9.37pm:
SDP’s Tan Jee Say: PAP has distorted my plan, saying it will cost us jobs. I think it’s more like costing their ministerial jobs.

WP rally, Low TK says that ever since PAP is in Parliament, their pay has been continually increasing but there are no improvements in people’s lives.

WP rally, Low TK’s speech ends. Next and last speaker is Sylvia Lim, also a candidate for Aljunied GRC. Crowd cheers for her and chants her name, “Sylvia! Sylvia!”

SPP – LC: New oppo MPs in GRC will listen to the people. This will get the PAP to do some soul-searching. Oppo MPs will question the government. Ministers will be held accountable in Parliament.

SPP – LC: I will do my best to keep S&CC charges at a status quo.

WP’s Sylvia Lim asked for free transport for blind before. Now a blind man walked up on stage with help to present her a token of appreciation. She now addresses the crowd in Chinese and English.

The crowd declares their love for Sylvia Lim: “I love you!”

SDP – TJS: All over the world manufacturing has declined as a contributor to GDP. Our plan offers manufacturers incentives to switch their focus from manufacturing. Our government is living in the economic model of the past!

SDP Tan Jee Say: the PAP is going agst the march of progress, using your money to provide financial incentives for manufacturing industries of yesterday.

9.41pm:
WP rally, Sylvia Lim: says she will now touch on the last topic, one she saved for the Aljunied GRC voters. She pledges to serve the national interests of the people of S’pore and to serve the local interests of residents of Aljunied.

SPP – CST stands up and the crowd goes wild.

SPP – LC: One man, CST, still strong with courage, will march into battle with the SPP team! People chant CST’s name.

SPP – LC: Bishan-Toa Payoh is the unreachable star, and CST can reach it. People chant: SPP!

SPP – CST introduced, cheers are deafening.

CST: We are going to make BTP ‘my kind of town’ (reference to campaign slogan).

WP rally, Sylvia Lim says there’s no glamour in being an opposition party. While there is more attention splurged on them during the GE period, there is no glamour in the rest of the 5 years of dedication. “Neither do I want it (the attention)”. Instead she says she yearns to do more for the residents but couldn’t previously in her capacity as NCMP. Her job scope prevents her from writing letters for residents on specific cases.

WP’s Sylvia Lim now gives details of all her team’s portfolio, attesting that it will be “relevant” to help better serve the residents of Aljunied.

WP’s Sylvia Lim: “we know we have to work hard, even harder than PAP MPs if elected”.

SPP – People are cheering every other sentence. CST says he will build community, run TC democratically.

SPP – CST: do not be afraid to let the TC know that you are dissatisfied with their work. They are your servants, not your bosses.

SPP – CST: Property prices in Bishan will always be high. There will be good community spirit. We will make Singapore ‘my kind of town’.

Crowd members pledge to vote for him. People chant, “SPP!” and “Chiam See Tong!”

SPP members lead recitation of national pledge.

WP – Approx. 30k in Serangoon Stadium.

9.48pm:
WP’s Sylvia Lim: “If elected we will make sure you will not have to repent!”

WP’s Sylvia Lim: Aljunied is named after successful Muslim businessman and widely-known philanthropist. “He had been a service to the people regardless of race n religion. We hope to emulate his spirit of service!”

SDP’s tan JS: thank you for your support and encouragement during the campaign we will not fail you,

WP rally’s last speaker for the night is Low TK, who now speaks in English.

SDP rally, Vincent W: “this is the last time we can speak to you, before the power to change your destiny is in your hands, the power no one can take from you.”

SPP – MC: Let your voice be heard! Make a vote for Singapore! Make a vote for democracy!”

SPP rally ends.

9.53pm:
SDP rally, Vincent W: We want to honour our founding fathers, including the old PAP government. But the PAP of today has lost its way.

WP Low’s TK: wishes to remind voters of the spirit n purpose of the elections. He urges those who think they have lived a “wonderful life” to hear him out. He says the PAP has been disconnected from the ground. He cites unemployment, insufficient means to enjoy retirement, expensive healthcare costs etc.

WP Low’s TK: PAP have surely been eroding and diluting the people’s powers to vote agst them.

SPP rally has ended but people chanting CST’s name and singing “Ole!” Overheard: “Give Wong Kan Seng early retirement!” Vuvuzelas are going off!

SPP – TOC reporter currently squashed in the crowd. Everyone wants to meet CST.

9.55pm:
WP Low’s TK mentioned that most ardent WP supporters who voted them in the last GE are now in Ang Mo Kio GRC. Crowd shouts “Kelong! Kelong!”

SDP Vincent W: All we at the SDP as for is the opportunity to serve.

SDP Vincent W: Our economy must return to our shores, it must not be the preserve of multi-national companies.

WP Low’s TK says PAP made use of the papers to tell you Hougang is a slum.

SDP Vincent W: Your leaders must always serve you. These are our values.

WP Low’s TK says PAP also wanted to promote their new candidate. “Then they come up with Tin Pei Ling”. Crowd shouts Kate Spade! Kate Spade!

SDP Vincent W: A mature nation has a right in its own govt.

WP Low’s TK says: PM says George Yeo is too impt to lose. Then I ask what’s the point of this elections? He says ‘not to lose’. Crowd laughs.

SDP Vincent W: I invite you to vote for a renewed future. Thank you.

WP Low’s TK: “Never did the PAP imagine a GRC would fall. Never did they think opposition could attract such a talent pool. This is WP’s Aljunied GRC team!” With that the crowd stands and shouts in support.

SDP rally: Lim Kay Siu goes on stage to hand flowers to all candidates, from an anonymous donor. Stadium erupts into cheers for SDP. Rally ends.

WP Low’s TK says author of Hard Truths, MM Lee, told Nat Geo that S’poreans have become less hardworking tt’s why we need foreigners. This is how you are treated. WP believes that everyone are contributors to this beautiful nation.

WP Low’s TK also says current batch of ministers do not possess the same standard n quality n track records as those of the first ministers who brought Singapore from third to first world.

WP’s Low’s TK says WP’s Aljunied team has a high track record and is credible. He pledges that they will ensure the power remains with the people.

10.10pm:
WP’s Low’s TK ends his speech and the rally with calls to vote WP. Everyone stands to take the Singapore pledge which is led by candidate Pritam Singh.

The 30,000-strong crowd at the WP rally recites the Singapore pledge together.

SPP – Volunteers have led a wheelchair-bound man into the press area so he can shake CST’s hand.

WP’s Low’s TK thanks everybody for their support n encouragement. He hopes to recieve good news on polling day.

10.15pm:
WP’s Low’s TK ends rally by asking audience to watch the WP’s video, ‘For people, for nation, for future’, tomorrow before going to vote on Sat, 7 May. Video is avail in all 4 languages on the WP website. Low also called for support on Polling Day at Hougang Stadium after 8pm for results. Ending off, he wishes everyone good health and prosperity.

WP rally – a crowd member shouts: “Mr Low! Autograph!”

WP rally – the crowd is at the carpark waving off the candidates in their cars!



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Live updates for Tonight’s Rallies – Wednesday, 4 May

The rallies will commence at 7pm tonight.

6.55pm:
Rain has stopped in Woodlands. SDP holding its rally there tonight. About 200 pple at stadium at moment. Crowd might swell as evening draws on.

7.10pm:
PAP Rally, Punggol East: 50 pple here milling around. Volunteers distributing whistles and clappers.

7.15pm:
TOC reporter at PAP rally: Just got given a free emergency poncho at PAP Rally. Now I know how fruits at NTUC feel.

PAP Punggol East rally: Still nothing happening. Crowd has scattered into groups of friends and family.

7.20pm:
A little less than 100 here at the PAP rally at Clementi for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC. Rally starting at 730pm.

PAP Punggol East rally: Drizzle has stopped.

Kate Spade sign spotted at SPP rally.

7.25pm:
TOC reporter at Worker’s Party rally at Ubi: There’s no rain but the field is entirely flooded. Crowd size of about 3,000 people at the moment.

SPP rally at Potong Pasir begins. MC: thank you, residents of PP, vote your support for our servant-leader Mr Chiam See Tong, for the past 27 yrs!

MC at SPP rally: tonight is a significant event, it will be Mr Chiam’s last night speaking in Potong Pasir before he moves on to Bishan Toa Payoh!

7.29pm:
PAP rally at Clementi: More people are streaming in, via shuttle bus from other parts of the GRC. The atmosphere definitely much more subdued than that from the other rallies – “worse than school hall assembly”.

First batch of SPP candidates on stage.

7.33pm:
SPP candidate Mohamad Hamim Bin Aliyas up as first speaker.

SDP rally starting in a few mins. The stands are full and ppl still coming in to Woodlands stadium. Ppl streaming onto the field. Danny the Democracy Bear being introduced.

PAP Punggol East: MC greets audience. Rally starts.

7.37pm:
Md Hamim of SPP speaks in Malay on the ‘grow and share’ scheme.

PAP rally, Punggol East: Residents, friends of residents and Michael Palmer to speak. Now a resident is speaking.

PAP rally, Punggol East: A resident, Mr Hu, talks abt community life and how Palmer and co. made life easier and better for residents. About 100 pple here.

Resident Mr Hu testifies that the Pasir Ris Punggol GRC town council will look after Punggol East after elections.

7.42pm:
PAP rally, Punggol East: Now another resident, Mr Kwan, says that Michael Palmer has never failed to attend to a case. He is referring to Meet-the-People sessions.

7.45pm:
Alec Tok, SDP rally: We gave them five years but what happened?… Apologizing is not enough. We’re not kids. If PAP wins again n becomes Govt, they must right what they have done wrong. You must vote 10, 20 opposition candidates into Parliament to ensure they don’t make mistakes again.

PAP rally at Clementi: Guest speakers take the stage. First speaker is a Mr Yah, PBA, PBM, ex-principal of Bukit Panjang Govt High. Speaking in Chinese about the abundance and quality of education system, and teaching students to be bilingual. He also says there’s an abundance of schools in Singapore.

SPP rally: Mr David Tan as guest speaker. Mr Tan is an ex-teacher with Raffles Institution and a loyal supporter of Mr Chiam.

Guest speaker at PAP Punggol East rally, Mr Kwan, recounts Palmer organising trip to Universal Studios to bridge generation gap. Sponsors found to pay for tickets of families who can’t afford tickets.

SDP’s Alec Tok wants PM lee to give assurance Govt will spend more on education and healthcare. Alec Tok criticizing media.

7.50pm:
SDP’S Alec Tok: Tell your friends n families why more opposition MPs are needed and why it’s a good thing.

Alec Tok ends his speech.

The third guest speaker at PAP Punggol East rally says Palmer respects elderly and likes children.

Ang Yong Guan next speaker at SDP rally at Woodlands stadium.

SPP rally: Mr David Tan, former teacher at Raffles Institution, loyal supporter of Chiam See Tong, takes the stage. “I am here tonight to speak, because of the hypocrisy of the PAP. For too long, residents of Potong Pasir have been denied their full rights as Singaporeans”.

PAP Punggol East rally: Wilson Ling speaks in Teochew. Manages to get crowd to cheer. WL finishes. Audience cheers. Peter Yeo to speak in Cantonese.

Mr David Tan at SPP rally: Wong Kan Seng had put Singaporeans in danger. He remains unremorseful. The prime minister has done worse, in condoning his mistake, setting a dangerous precedence for other ministers.

7.57pm:
PAP rally: 7 guest speakers here at Clementi. Second speaker is a Mr Nah, grassroots leader in Ghim Moh, speaking in hokkien so catch no ball. He ends off with a great exclaim of “PAP! Gam sia, Gam sia”. Third speaker using Cantonese.

Reform Party Rally: Ho Soak Harn speaking in Mandarin n English, relating to Boon Lay residents’ concerns.

WP rally: Gerald Giam speaks. Great number pledging outright support during outreach. Some resident met have become volunteers.

SPP rally: Lina Chiam arrives.

SPP rally: Crowd chants ‘Chiam See Tong!’

RP Rally: Ayer Rajar promises more sports faclities and to expand the numbers of coffeeshops.

8.00pm:
Gerald Giam, WP rally: Several reasons why you shld vote WP: we can represent u better than PAP – not bounded by fear of offending ministers. Quality candidates, committed candidates who work hard over the year despite having no million dollar salary. We’ll hold govt accountable. With us in Parliament they’ll have to shape up or ship out. Vote for us and tell the PAP that u want their failed policies to come to an end.

RP rally: M Ravi takes the stage as guest speaker.

WP’s Gerald Giam: Do u want a govt that responds to your needs? Do u want leaders who inspire instead of threaten? Do you want leaders who apologise immediately instead of four days before polling day? Vote WP and bring the PAP down from their high pedestals. When u vote, consider long term implications, not short term rewards.

8.05pm:
PAP rally, Punggol East: More pple streaming in – 100-200 pple. Mdm Sheleha speaks in Malay. She has been a resident since ’70s. “Michael Palmer is handsome!”, she yells. Crowd reaction suggests the speeches so far just praise Palmer. There’s no jeering or anything, no mention of opposition.

Free whistles are being given out at PAP rally at Clementi.

M Ravi speaks on Dr Vivian B taking one video and taking it out of context. Ravi spoke with humor.

8.08pm:
PAP rally, Punggol East: Ms Karen Tan speaks. She is a friend of that area. There are about 250 pple in the crowd. KT speaks abt preschool children in area. Asks pple to look at more creative methods of early childhood education, help lower-income families get financial aid. She testifies that Mike Palmer is a good leader, good-humoured and nice. Do you agree? Crowd cheers.

Sin Kek Tong at SPP rally works out the per minute salary of the Prime Minister.

M Ravi: It’s too late for the PM to say sorry.

8.11pm:
SPP Jimmy Lee takes the stage.

WP’s Angela Oon: We are your partners. No concrete municipal plans because we dont abt funds, feasibility of plans etc. After elections we will consult the residents about what they want. WP does not have the top-down approach of the PAP.

PAP Clementi: Candidates for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC arrives at rally.

PAP rally, Punggol East: Jackie Chan. Resident, audience member says “kopi kia”. “We need to think carefully abt who to vote for. We need to vote pple who have done things for us. Not pple who will only do things if they will be elected… Racial harmony and progress is all thanks to the PAP. Must not forget what they have done.”

8.20pm:
PAP’s Christopher de Souza: Politics is about 5 years of service and not 9 days of speeches.

SPP’s Jimmy Lee: I will say to the PM u have give us a symbolic sorry. But how about the rest of the Ministers? Let these ministers speak for themselves.

PAP rally Punggol East: Dr Ahmad Magan, Teo Chee Hean and Michael Palmer arrives. Pple cheer loudest at Palmer’s name.

Jimmy Lee, SPP: PM Lee’s apology is a symbol, but where’s the substance? Did his ministers apologise?

PAP rally, Punggol East: Dr Magan greets pple in English, Chinese, Malay. Pple greet loudly. Magan says: Some issues are impt, some less so, some just nonsense. Opp making promises that you know are difficult to fulfill.

PAP, Magan: Tomorrow, our children become adults, our parents become senior citizens. We want a better future for our families.

PAP, Magan: There are dark clouds hanging all over the place that may affect us. Referring to global problems. We are able to survive because of PAP.

PAP Magan: You must be bold and make changes.

M Ravi ends speech with loud cheers at RP rally.

SPP Rally: Wilfred Leung up next.

8.25pm:
PAP Magan: PM Lee is so humble he has apologised for some mistakes, for things we didn’t get quite right.

PAP’s Chris de Souza: SDP wants to raise personal income tax to 30%. Do you want that? Audience: No!

PAP Magan compares WP’s Lee Li Lian to Michael Palmer. Says Palmer has more experience in constituency larger than Hougang.

Assoc Professor Dr Paul Thambyiah makes guest appearance at SDP rally. He took Khaw Boon Wan to task for the failures of the healthcare system.

PAP Magan talks abt local upgrading projects, attributes to Palmer sticking out his neck to do things. He says: Opp make fiery speeches, but can deliver promises? Have track record? 2 ppl say ‘NO!’ Vote for Palmer and you won’t go wrong. Crowd cheers. Switches to Malay.

SPP Wilfred Leung speaking in Chinese.

PAP’s Chris De Souza: SDP’s plan is a rushed patchwork of ideas that has dangerous consequences.

TOC reporter at PAP Punggol East rally: About 250 people now. Crowd getting restless.

8.30pm:
Jimmy Lee, SPP: Vote for substance into parliament. More than 20 yrs loyal service by MPs for Hougang and Potong Pasir. (TOC reporter: now this is what i call track record).

SPP’s Wilfred Leung: I met a Bishan-Toa Payoh resident today, who was sternly told by a PAP volunteer to remove his SPP insignia before shaking Wong Kan Seng’s hand. Residents are sick of this arrogance.

This is in response to Facebook comments on buses arriving to shuttle PAP supporters to the rally site. TOC reporter at PAP Punggol East rally site reports seeing no buses today.

8.35pm:
PAP’s Liang Eng Hwa addresses SDP’s plans for economy- “SDP shows a lack of understanding of the economy.”

PAP rally, Punggol East: Teo Chee Hean: Do I have your support to appoint Palmer as chairman? Crowd cheers. If Palmer elected, he’ll automatically be Town Council chairman.

PAP’s Teo Chee Hean on cost of living: I know the ppl are anxious on cost of living. Gvt cannot control price of food, oil, etc. So use subsidies instead.

SDP: Candidate for Sembawang, Mr Jarrod Luo introduces himself in Malay, Tamil & Mandarin. ‎”We are not here for the fame and money. Because if we are, we would be wearing white and white”.

8.40pm:
NSP rally: Goh Meng Seng introduces Tan Kin Lian as guest speaker.

PAP’s Teo Chee Hean: Lower income pple get help. Workfare helps 400000 Singaporeans a year.

SPP Benjamin Pwee is up.

SDP: “600 tahun dahulu, Laksmana Hang Tuah mengatakan bahawa, Melayu takkan hilang di dunia” – Mr Mohd Isa

Meanwhile on PAP’s facebook page, PM Lee’s “live chat” involves posting of short status messages that highlight issues broadly to which replies are coming fast and furious (500+ to each). The resulting threads are littered with serious questions on the particular issue raised, peppered with “good job” and “i will vote PAP” comments that look suspiciously out of place, and not one reply from the PM.

NSP rally: Tan Kin Lian was chief exec of NTUC insurance for 30 yrs. Says outcome of election will hv great impact on our future.

SPP Ben Pwee speaks in Cantonese.

8.45pm:
NSP Rally: Tan Kin Lian says problems are not adequately addressed till election time. Reps did not bring up issues in parliament.

PAP’s Teo Chee Hean: PAP has special help for elderly and low income pple. We give 25% of income on top of income, give cash, CPF.

PAP’s Teo Chee Hean: If we do not have our senior citizens, we will not be where we are today. .. Those above 45 can get $300 – 700 more to pay for healthcare, parents’ healthcare. PAP helps you take care of and respect your parents.

SPP’s Benjamin Pwee speaks in Cantonese: let us respect our senior citizens, their tears, their sacrifice. Let’s give their rightful rest in their golden years.

NSP rally, Tan: you do not need a scholar to be ur MP. But u need honest pple who are interested to serve u, have heart, can listen to you.

PAP’s Teo Chee Hean: We have gone through a huge roller coaster ride. Now talks about economy of past 5 years, akin to roller coaster.

SDP: “Marsiling is so near. Johor Bahru is just on the other side. That is the reason why he’s always thinking about Johor Bahru” – Mr Mohd Isa on Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

SDP: “When it comes for us to buy cheaper petrol and goods, he says No. But when it comes to dying and being sick – he says why not Johor Bahru!” – Mr Mohd Isa on Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan of the PAP.

SPP’s Benjamin Pwee, in English: Where are our senior citizens? We look above us and we see MM Lee. We look around us and we see senior citizens working in Mcdonalds, hawker centres, old folks homes.

WP Rally: Chen Show Mao speaks, says win-win for Aljunied. Zainal can still become Speaker of Parl. George Yeo already said MRT and upgrading projects will go ahead.

TOC reporter at PAP’s Clementi rally: Starting to drizzle here but fear not: free ponchos!

8.50pm:
PAP’s Teo Chee Hean says govt’s policies have enabled economic recovery, such as jobs credit.

NSP Rally, Tan Kin Lian: Opposition in parliament will put pressure on govt to give priority to Singaporeans. PAP will not be displaced from power. But even if it does, Singapore will not collapse.

PAP’s Teo Chee Hean: Unity of pple and decisiveness needed to overcome crises.

SDP: Mr John Tan, candidate for Sembawang GRC goes up the stage to rousing applause.

8.53pm:
NSP rally, Tan Kin Lian: The Old Guard did not have experience too. But they had good advisors. So even if we have new govt, S’pore will continue to do well.

SPP’s Benjamin Pwee: We sincerely thank PM Lee for his apology. But this is an apology that we the people have won for the nation.

NSP rally, Tan Kin Lian emphasizes that voting is secret. There is nothing to fear.

PAP’s Teo Chee Hean: We need to have good, strong government to keep pple united, keep them secure, progress thru crisis. All the ‘unhappinesses’ of the pple come to the fore during election. TCH says it is difficult to balance interests. E.g. pple no want foreigners, but some SMEs need foreign workers.

SPP’s Ben Pwee: When u say sorry for everything the PAP has done wrong, how much money have u wasted of the tax payer’s money? We want an explanation.

PAP’s Teo Chee Hean: Each time we make decision, it is in interest of Singapore. There is no other reason. And our decisions are long term. You may take popular measures, but you will suffer consequences after 3 to 5 years.

RP candidate Andy Zhu is now talking about residential concerns.

8.58pm:
WP rally, Pritam Singh: PM, you say sorry. But is anything going to change?

PAP’s Teo Chee Hean on balancing budgets: All Singaporean children can have best education possible. Not so in Europe becos govts there didn’t manage budgets properly.

Estimated about 1,000 at RP rally, crowd still streaming in.

NSP rally, Tan Kin Lian: Says HDB prices too high. This is a big burden. Also a reason why our birth rate is one of the lowest in the world…this is the first time we have candidates who will really look after interests of pple. Do not miss this chance. Vote for change. Ends speech. Crowd cheers NSP! NSP!

9.02pm:
PAP’s Teo Chee Hean: I’m really sad that Punggol East is now an SMC. But I’m glad…because Punggol East has now grown up.

PAP’s Teo Chee Hean: (the residents) prefer to see Palmer than me. I’m glad becos it shows he has your trust and confidence.

PAP rally: Yu-foo Yee Shoon introducing the Holland-Bukit Timah candidates and listing their qualities to the audience. Sim Ann now takes the stand.

PAP’s Teo Chee Hean says Michael Palmer has kept him on his toes by asking hard questions in Parliament.

SPP’s Ben Pwee: Do we want to wait every five years for a sorry to be said? Do we want to wait every five years for the gov to say that the people is unhappy?

PAP’s Teo Chee Hean: Do you have confidence in Palmer as Town Council chairman? Crowd cheers.

SDP rally: After a slow start, the stadium is filling up rapidly. The bleachers are full and the crowd is leaning on the barricades.

9.06pm:
PAP rally – Teo Chee Hean leaves. Micheal Palmer speaks. Crowd cheers loudest in night. Crowd: “Punggol East! Michael!”

SPP’s Ben Pwee: There is something else deeper that a cost of apology cannot be counted with money. That is the broken trust, the broken relationship with the people that the PAP cannot be fixed with an apology.

PAP’s M Palmer: I have listened to you, understand your needs. I know Punggol East! Crowd cheers.

SDP rally, John Tan: “If you have had enough- there is only thing you must do. Vote for the SDP!”

PAP’s M Palmer: Vote PAP to make life better in Punggol East.

PAP’s Sim Ann notes that residents following elections with great interest is a good thing, but points out that one topic being neglected this hustings is that of the community. She also recounts meeting with a resident who asks if the PAP could run the town council while the opposition wins the ward and becomes MPs.

9.13pm:
NSP Rally: Reynold Fong says PM is a gentleman and his apology is accepted. But Mah Bow Tan should also apologize.

PAP’s M Palmer: Do you know Lee Li lian? Pple tell me she is stranger. She’s been here less than Desmond Lim. She doesn’t understand you. Can she look after you? Crowd: No!

PAP’s M Palmer: Vote PAP becos we took care of you! Vote for me for better future! Crowd cheers. He now speaks in Malay.

SPP’s Chiam See Tong takes the stage. He says to be brave, be courageous, do not read the papers. Crowd chants his name.

PAP’s Palmer’s speech ends to cheers.

PAP’s Palmer, now in English: I am not a new face… You know me! Crowd cheers.

Sim Ann notes that residents in Holland-Bukit Timah ward have interest in culture and arts, and proposes to have more culture festivals at CC because this is what the residents want.

9.18pm:
SPP rally, Chiam See Tong: There is nothing to be afraid of. Potong pasir residents are still around. Your vote is secret, the laws of singapore have provided for that.

PAP’s M Palmer, in English – talks abt Punggol East manifesto. Promises that ‘most’ of projects will continue if elected.

PAP’s M Palmer: You know PAP is solid, safe, and dependable! We will build a new Community Centre! Crowd cheers loudly.

Palmer: (Punggol East) is now independent and ready to stand by itself.

SDP: ‎”We in the SDP have hundreds and hundreds of such qualified people” – Sadasivam Veriyah on Assoc Prof Dr Paul Tambiah.

SDP: “The future lies in your hands” – Sadasivam Veriyah to voters on the future of Singapore.

9.22pm:
PAP’s Sim Ann (in Chinese): The elections is not just a debate, it affects the people’s livelihood.

SPP rally, Chiam See Tong: I’ll be around after 7 May, don’t worry.

9.25pm:
PAP’s M Palmer: If you vote PAP for Pasir Ris Punggol and Puggol East, both constituencies will be run by Pasir Ris Punggol TC… ppl don’t have much of impression on Desmond Lim (SDA). Pple have not seen any opposition working the ground. Crowd: Yay!

PAP’s M Palmer: Desmond Lim only appears when he wants your vote. Desmond Lim wants satay club and other facilities. We already have similar facilities. Why waste money? How many of you actually want? (Referring to SDA proposal).

SPP Lina Chiam takes the stage.

NSP Malay candidate for Tampines GRC team takes the stage.

SPP rally, Lina Chiam: Potong Pasir stood as the hope for Singapore. Let’s keep the little star shining.

PAP’s M Palmer: Desmond Lim wants to turn Punggol East into tourist spot. Do you want your roads to be jammed with tourist buses. Do you want tourists to go to your roof to look at ducks and chickens? Crowd boos.

NSP rally: The power, the vote is in your hand. Each of you is a shareholder. Do not be afraid when they call out your name, call out your NRIC.

PAP’s M Palmer: Desmond Lim wants to fund development through private investment. That’s why he wants tourists. Do you want to pay for your facilities?

PAP’s M Palmer: Just as you don’t know Lee Li Lian, she doesn’t know you.

9.30pm:
PAP’S M Palmer: Punggol East was Punggol East under Pasir Ris Punggol GRC, and is still Punggol East. Referring to Lee Li Lian’s statement that community bonding is useless becos boundaries keep changing.

SDP rally: ‎”We want good government. A government that listens, a government that cares for us the people!” -Dr Vincent Wijeysingha

SPP rally, Lina Chiam: Potong Pasir’s town council’s accounts has surplus every yr. Some PAP town councils invested in minibonds and made losses. But we don’t gamble with your money.

RP’s party leader Kenneth Jeyaretnam takes to the stage.

PAP’s M Palmer: Lee Li Lian says she is a first time candidate. But I’ve been here for five years… Lee Li Lian is trying to confuse residents with technicalities.

PAP’s M Palmer: Residents come first.

9.35pm:
NSP’s Nicole Seah takes the stage. Nicole thanks a member of the crowd for his proposal but says she’s already married to NSP.

PAP: If you vote for me, my team and I will do our best to help you.

PAP’s M Palmer: Vote for the party you can trust! Crowd cheers, chants ‘PAP!’

MC: “Majulah PAP!” Member of crowd chants “Michael!”

SDP rally: “We have seen money, tears and a cynical apology. We want none of that- we want our country back!” – Dr Vincent Wijeysingha

PAP’s Dr Vivian B: PAP govt is not perfect, has not solved all problems perfectly and immediately, but we have overcome more difficulties than this. Majority know that PAP can solve these problems, but they take time.

9.40pm:
SDP rally, Dr. Vincent Wijeysingha ends his speech. The crowd cheers and shouts, SDP! SDP!

RP’s Kenneth J speaks of universal healthcare.

SDP rally – Dr James Gomez comes on stage, as the last speaker of the night. Someone from the crowd shouts “I love you Dr Gomez”.

SDP rally, Dr James Gomez says that he saw 2 PAP party workers in Marsiling who said only two words, “Support the PAP” and then they left, leaving a brochure.

Rally at PAP Punggol East rally site ends. TOC reporter says: DPM Teo evades my question after I said I was from TOC. He just said thank you for identifying yourself and walked away.

NSP’s Goh Meng Seng : You pay $3 million to a PM. Do you want accountability? Crowd shouts: Yes!

NSP’s Goh Meng Seng: If PM cannot ask incompetent ministers to leave then we shall use our votes to vote them out!

RP’s Kenneth J speaks of abolishment of newspaper act.

NSP’s Goh Meng Seng says the heat in this GE provided by the people has prompted Mah Bow Tan to suggest improvements to housing policy. But he still hasn’t said sorry.

NSP’s Goh MS: There is no reason for ministers to be caught off-guard. Are they sleeping? If we continue to give PAP power, they will be deaf to criticisms.

SPP rally, Lina Chiam outlines her plans for Potong Pasir – lift upgrading, multi-storey carpark, library. “I will fight for you. I have an A team behind me in the town council”.

9.49pm:
“We don’t see the PAP MPs coming out with such a proposal” – Dr James Gomez on the SDP’s economic plans.

NSP’s Goh Meng Seng: I want to ask Mah Bow Tan what is his priority – Singaporeans or foreigners? We are not anti-foreigners, but Singaporeans must come first. We must attract right foreigners. If they stay and become citizens, we will welcome them.

SDP rally: Dr James Gomez outlines the SDP’s plans for Sembawang GRC for the next 5 years.

SDP rally, Dr James Gomez: “SDP MPs believe in a consultative process and we look forward to meeting you in consultative gatherings soon after we are elected”.

‎SDP rally, Dr James Gomez: “After 7th of May, we are ready to hit the ground running”.

9.56pm:
The SDP’s Sembawang GRC team comes on stage for the closing of the SDP’s Rally at Woodlands.

SDP rally, Dr James Gomez: “We will send the PAP, who have lost their way, on their way. Because if they’re sorry, the next important decision they have to make is to get out of the way”.

NSP’s Nicole Seah: I’m just an average Singaporean who wants to make things right for her country.

The SDP’s Winning Eleven team of MPs in waiting come on stage to applause. Ms Jaslyn Go announces that she will vote for the Opposition in East Coast GRC – WP.

NSP’s Nicole Seah: Things are changing. In the past in my walkabout I get doors slammed in my face. They say “I cannot talk to you, the police will catch me”. There has been a change in the tide. Now, people come up to me and say “You have my vote”.

PAP rally at Clementi ends.

WP rally ends.

SDP’s Lina Chiam’s speech on the promises for Potong Pasir and commitment to fight on, has been translated into Mandarin. Rally ends.

TOC reporter at Clementi: The reporter wonders if there’s a free shuttle back to Bukit Panjang.

10.00pm:
RP’s Kenneth J says he’ll move into West Coast once elected. He also spoke on public transport. RP rally ends.

TOC reporter at Clementi: “Ho Say Ah! The free shuttle is not a myth!”

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Your Vote is Your Voice

This article was first posted on MARUAH.


Is my vote really secret?

That is the question on many Singaporeans’ minds. As part of our public education efforts, MARUAH has produced a video to explain to voters why their vote really is secret.

YOUR VOTE IS YOUR VOICE

This video was put together by a team of volunteers. For the first time on video, Singaporeans from different walks of life come together to speak about their voting experiences. A former Straits Times journalist who had witnessed the actual destruction of the ballot papers from the 2006 General Elections also speaks about what he saw.

The video explains the voting process, and what happens to ballot papers after they are counted.

The voting process

  • A voter’s name and number is called out at the polling station, because representatives of the competing parties need to verify and cross out the name on their registers of voters. This allows parties to tally the total number of votes and the number of ballot papers issued, at the close of voting.
  • Ballot papers bear serial numbers, to prevent double voting with forged ballots.
  • Many other first world democracies around the world, like Britain and Canada, also have serial numbers on their ballot papers.

After the ballot papers are counted

  • The ballot papers are placed into locked metal boxes, which are sealed. This is witnessed by the competing political parties, and they sign the seals.
  • These locked boxes are stored in the Supreme Court vault for six months, in case any party wishes to challenge the results.
  • These locked boxes cannot be opened unless there is a court order on the grounds of election fraud. There has been no such claim since Singapore first conducted elections in 1948.
  • Six months after the elections, these locked boxes are removed from the Supreme Court and sent directly to the incineration plant. This is witnessed by all political parties, and journalists, who will ensure that the seals are intact.

The entire process is very secure and transparent to all political parties. There is no doubt that people’s votes are secret.

The Elections Department says your vote is secret.

Michael Palmer, outgoing PAP MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol and candidate for Punggol East SMC, says your vote is secret. (at 2:26 of the video below)

Sylvia Lim, Chairman of the Workers’ Party and candidate for Aljunied GRC, says your vote is secret. (at 1:40 of the video below)

Come Polling Day on May 7, we must each vote wisely for the candidate(s) we believe will best represent us. Never underestimate what your one vote can do.

Your vote is secret.

Your Vote is Your Voice.



The Online Citizen
20 Maxwell Road #09-17
Maxwell House
Singapore 069113


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TOC breaking news: Aljunied GRC Facebook site alleges defamation?

Andrew Loh /

Comments surrounding a New Paper article about a “youth with low IQ” who was involved in an incident with Aljunied GRC MPs Cynthia Phua and Lim Hwee Hwa written in 2009 has been described as “slander that has been viralling online.”

In language which suggests that legal action could be in the works, a message on the Aljunied Facebook group said: “We were wrongly accused that not only that we had not been compassionate, also that we had pressed charges against the poor boy.”

They Facebook message further stated: “We had continued to help after the incident and we will continue doing so.”

The New Paper article (8 May 2009) is reproduced here in full, followed by the message posted on the Aljunied Facebook page.

Teen arrested for violence at MP’s office

[PROBLEMS: The mother (R) hasn’t worked since she broke her wrist after falling while cleaning a fan. Her son (C) suffers from thalassemia, a blood disorder that leaves him weak and sickly. ]

By Ng Tze Yong

A YOUTH with low IQ has been arrested by police after flying into a rage at a Meet-the-People Session (MPS), upset at what he felt was his MP’s cold-shoulder treatment of his mother’s financial plight.

The 17-year-old boy hoisted an aluminium foldable chair over his head and slammed it against a glass door seconds after walking out of MP Cynthia Phua’s Serangoon North office with his mother.

The boy, who has been released on bail, has been told to report back to the police on 12 May, where he may be charged with committing a rash act.

The offence carries a jail term of up to six months and a fine of up to $2,500.

The youth cannot be named because of impending court proceedings.

This is the third incident in recent months involving MPs and their constituents.

The boy and his mother, 53, are familiar faces to the grassroots volunteers at the MPS.

The unwed mother with Primary 6 education gets by on a $400 monthly salary as a part-time cleaner.

He attended a special school and suffers from thalassemia, a blood disorder that renders him weak and sickly.

The mother said that things went from bad to worse in November 2004 when the boy’s father disappeared and stopped paying the $300 monthly maintenance due to her.

As a result, she visited the MPS about once a month for the past few years to request for various kinds of financial aid.

January this year saw a crisis unfold in their lives, when the mother broke her wrist after falling off a chair while cleaning a fan. She hasn’t worked since.

She said the HDB was then in the middle of repossessing her flat and giving her a rental unit, but she was unable to pay the $138 in rental deposit and stamp duty.

So last Monday, she went to the office at Block 125, Serangoon North Ave 1, where MP Lim Hwee Hua holds her MPS, hoping to have her sign an appeal letter for HDB.

But that day, Mrs Lim, who is also a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, was abroad. Fellow Aljunied GRC MP Cynthia Phua stood in for her.

The mother’s request was granted – Madam Phua signed the letter – but mother and son left fuming, claiming that Madam Phua had put them down.

She claimed that shortly after they had entered the office, Madam Phua asked her son a series of questions:

‘She asked him, ‘Who are you? What are you doing? Why aren’t you working?’ she claimed.

The mother said she wanted to explain her son’s condition, but wasn’t given a chance.

‘I felt like we were being scolded,’ she said.

The meeting ended after two or three minutes, she said.

As they were walking out, the son snapped.

His outburst with the chair – two blows against the glass door, which didn’t break – was ‘strong enough to get someone killed’, said the Serangoon PAP branch secretary, Mr Poon Mun Wai.

As grassroots volunteers scrambled to calm down the teenager, his mother begged a neighbour to whisk him home immediately.

Later that night, the police arrived at their flat and arrested him. He was released on bail at about 1am.

When contacted, Madam Phua contradicted the mother’s version of events, saying she felt that their conversation ‘went well’.

She said: ‘Like any normal case at MPS, I have to try to understand the case first of all…

‘I had to ask some pointed questions about his employment status to understand the root cause of the problem, so that I can be more effective in helping them.’

During the one week after the incident, the mother pondered what to do.

She got her son to shave off his shoulder-length orange-dyed hair to get rid of bad luck.

For days, she said, he couldn’t find the courage to face himself in the mirror. He also decided to put on hold a long-time dream to audition for Singapore Idol.

Two days ago, she returned to the MPS again alone and clutching a handwritten letter of apology from her son.

‘Please fodgive me for what I dad I am sinelely truely I’m sorry (sic),’ the teenager had written in big, neat handwriting.

The apology, however, was not acceptable to Mrs Lim, who was back chairing the MPS after returning from abroad.

‘I made it very clear to (the mother) that this is unacceptable behaviour. It is not justifiable in any circumstance. There’s no excuse to be violent,’ Mrs Lim told The New Paper.

She also explained that she was not in a position to excuse or forgive the boy.

‘I was not present and the police are investigating into the matter. I believe the police will take into consideration the mitigating factors,’ said Mrs Lim.

‘From what I understand, Madam Phua was being very motherly and very helpful inside the room with them.’

Mrs Lim’s response surprised the mother, who had spoken fondly of her throughout the interview with The New Paper just a day before.

She said: ‘I know what my son did was wrong. But how can I not defend him? He is my son, he is not well and he has a problem with his temper.

‘I don’t want him to go to jail and have his future ruined.’

Response posted on Aljunied GRC Facebook site:

Response to Online Slander that Aljunied PAP team is not compassionate

We wish to clarify on the slander that has been viralling online, particularly on the accusation that we had pressed charges on a helpless, mentally handicapped resident who came to MPS in Serangoon North and slammed a chair on the door.

We were wrongly accused that not only that we had not been compassionate, also that we had pressed charges against the poor boy. We didn’t press charges. The mother and son have been coming to MPS regularly and we had been helping them to get financial aids. We had continued to help after the incident and we will continue doing so.

We would like to urge residents and grassroots leaders to look out for those who require assistance but are hesitating to come forward to ask for help.


The Online Citizen
20 Maxwell Road #09-17
Maxwell House
Singapore 069113

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NSP to PAP: where were you when S’poreans needed you most?

By Loke Hoe Yeong/ photo by Terry Xu

NSP rally at Choa Chu Kang Stadium, 3 May 2011

“Where were you in the past five years?” National Solidarity Party (NSP) candidate Ms Nicole Seah asked the PAP. “Why was help only given last week?” She was referring to recent cash handouts that Singaporeans received, and on the National Wages Council’s call for wage increases on Saturday.

These actions, coupled with PM Lee’s apology to Singaporeans earlier that day, was due to the pressure faced by the PAP during election campaigning, Ms Hazel Poa said in Mandarin. “This pressure has to carry on beyond the elections… with opposition MPs in parliament,” she added. “This is the national duty of opposition politicians.”

Speaking at their rally at Choa Chu Kang Stadium under the rain, NSP candidates were responding to news that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said sorry to Singaporeans for the PAP government’s mistakes. At his lunchtime rally at Boat Quay earlier that day, PM Lee cited a range of mistakes from the prison escape of Mas Selemat to the Orchard Road floods, while also acknowledging his government had not done enough on public transport and in controlling housing prices.

“The PAP finally admitted its mistakes today,” said Mr Yip Yew Weng, to which the rally audience chanted: “Too late, too late!”

Concrete proposals: independent commission on ministerial salaries

Other hot election issues were also raised at the rally, supported by well thought-out proposals put forward by the husband-wife-team of Ms Poa and Mr Tony Tan.

An independent commission that decides ministerial salaries should be set up, said Mr Tan. “And civil servants should be paid more than the ministers – they are the ones who make things happen,” he added.

Mr Tan’s impassioned delivery of these proposals was met with an equally fiery response from the audience. He also spoke on the pressing need to further ensure social mobility and inclusivity, and on the PAP government’s oversight in not being sufficiently prepared to tackle overcrowding and integration issues in Singapore with the influx of immigrants.

“We must put pressure on the [PAP] government to get it right, especially when they don’t get it right,” he said.

Ms Poa raised issues on government subsidies and support for public services. The cost of living is controllable by the government, she said, and wages need to grow faster to keep up with inflation.

Greater effort must also be made by the government to enforce employment rules, she added, relating abuses by employers to under-declare their employees’ pay in order to obtain more employment passes – only to hire more foreign workers at an even lower pay.

The need for ministerial salaries to be pegged to the median salary of Singaporeans – and not on GDP growth – was also emphasized by Ms Poa and Mr Tan.


The Online Citizen
20 Maxwell Road #09-17
Maxwell House
Singapore 069113

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Hougang resident angered by Eric Low’s “slum” remark

Hi,

I have lived in Hougang for almost 20 years. I have been through 3 elections and voted in 2 of them. In these years, I have seen Low Thia Khiang countless of times. He can be seen at coffee shops and the market (before HDB torn it down). Although he has a very nice office at Block 701, he make it a point to come to Block 310 every Wednesday for the Meet the People session in the heart of the estate.

Eric Low from PAP has been in Hougang for two terms, yet I have never seen him before. It angers me that Eric Low calls Hougang a slum.  While Hougang did not receive government funding for upgrades, Low Thia Khiang did a very good job maintaining the estate with the limited resources he has. He put in Fitness Corners, Senior Citizen Corners, Street Soccer enclosure, covered walkways, ramps etc.

I have done a quick walk around Hougang and took some photos of the place. I hope you can help publish the photos to prove that Hougang is not a slum.

CK


The Online Citizen
20 Maxwell Road #09-17
Maxwell House
Singapore 069113

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Rain lifts spirits in the heartlands

Benjamin Cheah/ photos by Terry Xu

A wet evening was in store at the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) rally on Tuesday. In spite of vigorous rain and parking wardens refusing entry to nearby parking lots, the crowd grew rapidly in the shower.

Ms Teo Soh Lung delivering her speech after the rain

Education was the first topic of the night. Ms Teo Ser Lung said the SDP succeeded in making the People’s Action Party (PAP) admit that current class sizes were too big, leading to reduction of class sizes. She was referring to the SDP’s policy of reducing class sizes to a teacher-student ratio of 1:20, and classes for elective subjects respectively. Ms Teo also accused the government of ‘discriminating’ against students in the normal stream. She said that these classes have an average of 40 pupils, and their teachers are placed under a great deal of stress. This stress causes teachers to leave teaching for private tuition. Further, Ms Teo said that special needs children were not catered for by the government, as volunteers, not public schools, had to take care of their education. She also said, ‘We are a first world nation, and education should be free!’ Finally, she said that, if elected, the SDP will check the government to ensure it continues to place a premium on education.

The other speakers raised contentions with Mr Lim Swee Say’s remarks that voting for the opposition would result in a ‘rojak government with rojak policies’. Rojak is a fruit and vegetable salad, named after the Malay word for ‘mixture’. Mr Lim meant that he felt a coalition government was undesirable for Singapore. Mr Tan raised the most detailed objection. Saying ‘rojak is quite nice to eat’, he said that coalition governments were desirable. Mainstream political parties may not represent the interests of the people, he argued, but non-mainstream parties do. Coalition governments therefore represent the people’s every interest.  He cited coalition governments in the United Kingdom and Europe as proof that coalition governments were becoming more popular.

The SDP also raised issues with the PAP’s strategy of promising upgrading projects should the people elect them. Mr Alec Tok, in particular, asked on stage if Mr Lee Hsien Loong thought that this strategy was ‘unfair’. He said that the people should not let the promises of upgrading overshadow ‘fundamental problems’. He added that the residents of Potong Pasir and Hougang, who have consistently returned opposition politicians to Parliament in past elections, were not swayed by promises of upgrading.

Ms Michelle Lee

Economics was a hot issue throughout the rally. Speakers consistently asserted that Singaporeans were facing competition from foreigners for jobs and housing, which depresses wages and increases prices for flats. Singapore’s economic model was also questioned. Dr John Tan asked, ‘How can we call ourselves an open market if sixty percent of our companies are indirectly linked to the government?’ Ms Michelle Lee said that the government could control costs of living through Goods and Services Tax (GST), setting prices of housing and public transportation, but failed to do so.  Mr Tan Jee Say, citing a ‘university study’, said that half of inflation in Singapore was caused by domestic factors, singling out government policies for criticism. He added that Singaporeans have been ‘overtaxed’, explaining that Singapore’s surpluses were drawn from taxes and criticizing the need to have such a large surplus. Mr Alec Tok bemoaned rising prices of public housing, saying that young Singaporeans now need 20 to 30 years to pay for Housing and development Board (HDB) flats.

In response to this, the speakers unveiled a multi-pronged approach to solutions. Dr John Tan proposed gradually closing down Temasek Holdings and Government-linked companies and supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs in their place. The nature of this support was not described.  Mr Tan recommended removing GST on ‘essential goods’, and setting it at 3% for all other goods. He did not explain what these ‘essential goods’ were. Mr Tan recommended growing the service sector. He also raised the most ambitious proposal: a sixty billion-dollar investment in education, services, infrastructure and public healthcare. The money would be drawn from the reserves. Mr Tan said that this investment plan would ‘give hope’ to businessmen, people in creative entrepreneurs, and workers.

Dr James Gomez’s speech was a somber explanation of the SDP’s ‘shadow health policy’, titled ‘Healing with Care’. Dr Gomez began by criticizing the current healthcare ‘funding model’ as ‘problematic’. He said that Medisave does not grant enough money to cover treatment, Medishield provides inadequate coverage of illnesses, and Medifund is a sign that Medisave and Medishield could not pay for healthcare to begin with. Consequently, he added, many patients could not afford to pay for treatment, and healthcare providers would be placed under great stress because they have to ‘implement hospital policy’ in addition to looking after the ill. He did not specifiy what ‘implement hospital policy’ meant.

He proposed a series of measures to address this. The Health Ministry’s budget would be increased to ten billion dollars, or about three times its current budget. This would be achieved by drawing from the reserves and reducing the budgets of other ministries, notably the Ministry of Defence. The number of hospital beds and staff would be increased. In the interim period before all the beds arrive, void decks would be converted to clinics to ease the burden on existing healthcare facilities. A national global medical insurance policy would also be implemented to cover Singaporeans around the world. Finally, payments for healthcare should be ‘reasonable and affordable’.

Dr Vincent Wijeysingha

Dr Vincent Wijeysingha’s speech was a message of humanity. He began his speech by telling a story. He covered a day in the life of the average Singaporean, in the process highlighting the problems people face. This included traffic jams, Electronic Road Pricing, competition from foreigners for jobs and the pressure to work harder as a result, prices of food at and rents faced by hawker stalls, healthcare costs, and taxes. He reinforced his colleagues’ earlier points, and spoke about his reactions to the problems people faced. He focused in particular on the plight of elderly people working as cleaners. He said ‘Our hearts bleed for our nation’, adding ‘this cannot continue’.

The party also addressed issues relevant to the constituency. Mr Tok recommended building a polyclinic in the constituency. The flier the SDP distributed prior to the rally promised that SDP MPs would donate half of their allowances to help the people should the SDP candidates be elected.


The Online Citizen
20 Maxwell Road #09-17
Maxwell House
Singapore 069113

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