WP's Leon Perera: Too many S’poreans struggling to make ends meet
WP's East Coast GRC candidate Leon Perera says too many S'poreans struggling to make ends meet
Several Workers' Party candidates focused on the job situation and unemployment among graduates at last night's rally.
Addressing the audience in Mandarin, party chief Low Thia Khiang said the rising unemployment rate among graduates worried him.
In 2012, the unemployment rate for degree holders below the age of 30 was 7 per cent. That figure rose to 7.8 per cent last year.
"On the surface, it all looks fine and dandy. But if you dig deeper, you will see that the unemployment rate for new graduates is going up.
"Every year, the unemployment rate goes up. It's worrying," he said.
East Coast GRC candidate Leon Perera related the story of a woman in her 30s who approached him a few days ago outside Bedok MRT station.
She had struggled for a year to find a job but there was too much competition in the job market for professionals, including those from overseas applying for the same job.
"I don't think I will ever forget the look on her face. It was the look of someone who felt betrayed," Mr Perera said.
He added that he has met more than one professional family who could no longer afford a car because of the ERP and certificate of entitlement (COE) prices.
"They had to sell their cars and take public transport so they were affected by the train disruptions that we face, including this morning's train delay on the North East Line," he said.
He said this pain of higher costs, along with the lack of funding and unpredictable rentals, was also felt by local business owners.
He suggested measures like managing land sales to keep commercial rentals down and for the Government to develop dedicated capability to support micro-businesses - those with fewer than 10 employees.
Mr Perera, who owns a business research and consulting agency, said the People's Action Party (PAP) may be out of touch with reality when it comes to businesses.
"My friends, if you look at the PAP Cabinet, how many of them have ever been entrepreneurs or business owners? Hardly any. Most have been civil servants all their lives," he said.
"There is nothing wrong with that, but when you make economic policies, is it grounded in the realities that our local companies face?"
Singapore needs more confident citizens and local businesses, he said, adding that too many people struggle to make ends meet and worry about being retrenched or not being able to retire.
"My friends, all this wears down our spirit. All this drains our energy. Then we'll have nothing left with which to dream, to create, to innovate, which is what a First World economy needs in the 21st century.
"We need to reach for the stars, knowing that if we fall, the safety nets will help us spring back. The price of failure must not be so high," Mr Perera said.
Countries with the most dynamic economies, like the US, Japan and Europe, have things like unemployment insurance and minimum wage, which is what the WP is calling for, he added.
"We need an economy that serves us and a politics that serves us, not the other way around," he said.
I don't think I will ever forget the look on her face. It was the look of someone who felt betrayed.
- Workers' Party candidate Leon Perera on a woman who approached him because she had been struggling to find a job for a year
Sylvia Lim on...
Before the 2011 General Election, Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim said she was bitten by a dog while doing house visits at Kaki Bukit in Aljunied GRC.
WP went on to win the GRC that year.
"About a month ago, while visiting homes at Walmer Drive, I was bitten again by another dog. I have a good feeling about this General Election," said Ms Lim.
Walmer Drive, in Serangoon, is also in Aljunied GRC.
'SMELLING' MARINE PARADE
After the controversy of wanting to "swallow" Feng Shan, Ms Lim now talks about smelling Marine Parade, another ward that WP is contesting.
"It is wonderful to return once again to speak to all of you at Serangoon Stadium in Aljunied GRC. This election, our return here is even more special.
"First, it is now home ground. And second, the stadium is next to Boundary Road. From here, we can smell Marine Parade," she said.
WP hits back with more ship talk
The ship analogies just won't go away.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong had first referred to the PAP as a "cruise ship with a definite destination" while the opposition parties are gambling ships adrift.
Yesterday, several WP candidates retorted with their own analogies.
WP chief Low Thia Khiang said the cruise ship was in fact a luxury ship which PAP leaders had been taking for the past 50 years.
He added: "The Singaporeans, on the other hand, have been taking the sampan.
"The PAP is detached from reality. They can't understand the Singaporeans' struggles on the sampan."
THE CASINO SHIP
The gambling ship can't be WP's, said its Hougang SMC candidate, Mr Png Eng Huat.
He said the WP was opposed to the legislation of casinos in 2005. "That ship belongs to the PAP," he said.
He added that there was only one ship and it required urgent repair.
"The ship is overcrowded. Elevators break down. The sick sleep in the corridors. The ATM doesn't dispense cash, only a statement to look at. But no cash will come out until you're age 65.
"And the captain and the chief officer are grossly overpaid. So the WP is here to change the crew," he said.
The PAP is steering the ship towards the direction of a 6.9-million population in 15 years' time, made up of 55 per cent citizens, said WP's Aljunied GRC candidate Chen Show Mao.
He added that it was sailing towards a projected economic growth of 3 to 5 per cent in the first five years, before tapering to 2 to 3 per cent.
Yesterday, Mr Chen suggested a different direction: one million fewer people, with 60 per cent of the population made of citizens, and to lower economic growth by 0.5 per cent.
"But we understand that you are the captain during your term of the appointment with the right to form a government to steer the ship. We have an obligation to tell you that we feel you're going in the wrong direction.
"We also have the responsibility to work with you to ensure safe passage for all the passengers," Mr Chen said.