PM Lee: You must buy the right insurance
At a lunchtime rally in Raffles Place yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong touched on a wide range of issues as he fired several salvos at the opposition
QUALITY OF LEADERSHIP
Touching on a point made by Workers' Party's Png Eng Huat who said that Thailand's civil service could still run the country despite a military coup, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong retorted: "If that's the Workers' Party's measure of good quality and success, if the Workers' Party ever becomes the Government of Singapore, I say 'liao ah', finished!"
Mr Lee, who is also PAP secretary-general and was the last of 10 speakers at the rally, added: "And make no mistake about it, they aspire to be the Government. Why should they not? But we are entitled to ask, what are you capable of?"
For the system to work, good leaders are needed, he said.
Mr Lee also rubbished another argument: The Government had done a good job only because people voted for the opposition. Therefore, more votes for the opposition will make the Government work harder.
He said of the argument: "It's perverse, it's upside down, you confuse yourself. You mess things up, you weaken the team, you end up with outcomes you don't want, an opposition which is strengthened but incapable."
Noting that the argument has been circulating on WhatsApp, he proposed a different message, telling the crowd: "Write it down and send it to your friends on WhatsApp."
His message: "The opposition are not working hard enough, they make a mess of things, they are not active enough in Parliament, they are really talking not much sense.
"Vote PAP, make the opposition work harder."
BUILDING A TEAM
He said he has built the core of the next leadership team, but needs more to strengthen the team.
"We don't need opposition that says I'm not ready to form the Government, but just vote for me as insurance. Let me explain to you insurance: Insurance is good, but you must buy the right insurance from the right company," he said, citing NTUC Income and MediShield Life.
"But if your insurance company is an opposition party, no track record - or worse, don't know how to handle money, not interested in you, it only wants your commission... then, you know you're in trouble."
IMPORTANCE OF CLEAN GOVERNMENT
With the wrong people in charge, the country can go wrong very fast, Mr Lee said.
This is why politics needs to be honest, hence the need for organisations like the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau and the Auditor-General's Office, which check on various organisations and report directly to the Prime Minister.
"And once in a while, to find out if town councils are straight or not straight," he said.
He added: "These are the PAP standards and should also be the opposition standards. Just because you don't wear white doesn't mean you needn't be white."
CHARACTER AND REPUTATION
Firing a salvo at Singapore Democratic Party leader Chee Soon Juan, Mr Lee said voters need to tell the difference between honest and dishonest politicians.
He said: "I was very surprised to hear at this spot yesterday, Dr Chee Soon Juan said that reputation is temporary but character is permanent. I think Dr Chee has every reason to know that character is permanent, doesn't change."
Dr Chee is making a comeback in this election after being barred from contesting elections since 2001 because he was an undischarged bankrupt.
He was sued by former prime ministers Goh Chok Tong and Lee Kuan Yew in two separate cases of defamation.
STEWARDS OF SINGAPORE'S FUTURE
Mr Lee said his first rally speech was at the nearby Fullerton Square nearly three decades ago. That was when he entered politics, in 1984.
"Every election since then I've been back. Why do I do this? Because I'm convinced each person can make a difference. Because I think I can help and I think if I don't step up, it doesn't mean someone will stand up and the problem will be solved, I can go home," he said.
For that same reason, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh is still serving Singaporeans despite having stepped down as prime minister for over 10 years.
Describing himself and the PAP as stewards of the future of the people and their children, he said: "We are not the bosses of Singapore, we are not the commanders or owners of Singapore.
"We are the trustees and stewards of Singapore - we are like the jaga (Malay for guard)."
SPIRIT OF LEE KUAN YEW
The Prime Minister evoked the spirit of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew a number of times in his speech.
Beginning with how the nation came together to mourn Mr Lee Kuan Yew's passing, PM Lee later quoted one of Mr Lee's rally speeches, given in the pouring rain at Fullerton Square.
"Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him, or give it up! This is not a game of cards! This is your life and mine! I spent a whole lifetime building this, and as long as I am in charge, nobody will knock it down."
Said PM Lee: "Mr Lee is gone, but that spirit must continue in Singapore. That iron must be inside our hearts. And as long as the PAP is in charge, nobody should be knocking this down."
At a lunchtime rally in Raffles Place yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong touched on a wide range of issues as he fired several salvos at the opposition. ELIZABETH LAW (email@example.com) reports
Shanmugam: WP avoids answering difficult questions
ARGUMENTS: Mr K. Shanmugam, PAP’s candidate for Nee Soon GRC, took aim at the WP’s performance in handling the town council issue. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES
The Workers' Party's (WP) track record is leading to an unhealthy political culture, said Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam last night.
He leads the People's Action Party's team in Nee Soon GRC against a WP team.
Speaking at a GRC's rally in Yishun Stadium, Mr Shanmugam took aim at the WP's performance in three areas: in Parliament, its handling of the town council issue and its approach to transparency.
In Parliament, he said the WP MPs had not contributed meaningfully to any policies.
He added: "Whatever the People's Action Party does (in Parliament), after we put forward the policy, (the WP) stands up and says: Do more."
Turning to WP's handling of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) issue, Mr Shanmugam said it is the "one place (the WP) was in charge".
But when things went wrong, nobody could get an answer.
Earlier this year in Parliament, Mr Shanmugam repeatedly sought answers to how WP had handled the AHPETC accounts.
"Enough has been said. There are many unanswered questions and a direct refusal by Mr Pritam Singh to answer questions in Parliament," he said.
He added that the WP avoided answering difficult questions and then diverted the attention to something else.
"They believe that these are the ways in which one wins votes: Keep quiet in Parliament and roar at rallies without regard to the facts," Mr Shanmugam said.
The fact that people put up with this encourages a certain sort of political culture, he said, singling out lawyer Gurmit Singh, who is running under the WP banner in Nee Soon.
RESIGN & RETRACT
Mr Singh had quit the WP a few weeks ago after being told that he would be a backup candidate for the Sept 11 polls.
He appeared at a Singaporeans First event a day later before retracting his resignation and was then fielded as a candidate in Nee Soon.
"So his priority was he must be a candidate by any means. It doesn't matter what party colours he stands in or what the party's principles were," Mr Shanmugam said.
To succeed, Singaporeans need to demand honest and principled politics, not just on the part of the PAP but also that of the opposition, he added.
"Our future depends on good honest politics. Your vote and support will decide what kind of politics we have in Singapore, and what kind of person steps forward to serve, whether in the PAP or the opposition."
HEARD AT PAP RALLIES
MR CHARLES CHONG
The People's Action Party (PAP) candidate for Punggol East SMC promised to bring the shine back to the ward if elected.
Mr Chong said at a rally in Pasir Ris last night that he intends to pull Punggol East out of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC). The town council's finances have been hotly debated.
He also promised to bring in independent auditors to dig into the accounts.
"Right now, nobody, not even (AHPETC) auditors, even knows what (the) true position of the town is.
"As soon as our accounts are in order, I intend to get (the Ministry of National Development) to restore the grants that are due to Punggol East to improve maintenance and cleanliness in our estate," he said.
DR LEE BEE WAH
At the Nee Soon GRC rally last night, the PAP candidate for the GRC said the Workers' Party (WP) had asked Singaporeans to vote them into Parliament because they would speak up for the people.
"They said that and in 2011, the people of Aljunied sent five of them in," she said in a speech that mixed Mandarin and Hokkien.
Referring to a recent article on socio-political website The Middle Ground, which listed the number of times each backbench MPs spoke in Parliament, Dr Lee pointed to her own record.
"But you know from 2011 to now, who's the MP who spoke up the most in Parliament? Not any MP from WP hor. Pai seh, pai seh (Hokkien for embarrassed), it's Yishun's Ah Huay!"
Residents in Dr Lee's Nee Soon South ward affectionately refer to her as "Ah Huay", a Hokkien rendering of her Chinese name.
MR TEO CHEE HEAN
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, PAP's candidate for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, pointed out that the opposition had talked of forming a grand coalition.
But that remains a dream for now, said Mr Teo at PAP's rally in Pasir Ris last night.
"They dream of a coalition of parties and personalities which can't even get along with each other, let alone form a team to lead Singapore," he said.
- Ronald Loh & Elizabeth Law
All rallies are from 7pm to 10pm
Field of Ngee Ann Secondary School, 1, Tampines Street 32
Electoral Division: Tampines GRC
Field in front of Block 4, Boon Keng Road
Electoral Division: Jalan Besar GRC
Field opposite Block 120, Potong Pasir Avenue 1
Electoral Division: Potong Pasir SMC
Field bounded by PIE, Paya Lebar Road and Circuit Road
Electoral Division: MacPherson SMC
Field in front of Block 155, Simei Road
Electoral Division: East Coast GRC
Field in front of Block 136, Petir Road
Electoral Division: Bukit Panjang SMC
Woodlands Stadium, 1, Woodlands Street 12
Electoral Division: Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC
Field of Chua Chu Kang Secondary School, 3, Teck Whye Crescent
Electoral Division: Chua Chu Kang GRC
Delta Hockey Pitch, 900, Tiong Bahru Road
Electoral Division: Radin Mas SMC
Field in front of Block 982, Buangkok Crescent
Electoral Division: Ang Mo Kio GRC
Queenstown Stadium, 473A, Stirling Road
Electoral Division: Tanjong Pagar GRC
Field at Pasir Ris Park, beside Carpark C
Electoral Division: Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC
Field in front of Block 204, Clementi Avenue 6
Electoral Division: Holland-Bukit Timah GRC
Bishan Stadium, 7, Bishan Street 14
Electoral Division: Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC
Bedok Stadium, 1, Bedok North Street 2
Electoral Division: East Coast GRC