Singapore

WP's Low: Smearing opponents is 'dirty politics'

In a stark contrast to Wednesday's first Workers' Party (WP) rally at Hougang, many speakers at last night's rally in Jalan Besar moved away from the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) issue.

Only secretary-general Low Thia Khiang devoted a Mandarin speech for a fiery retort to claims that AHPETC was in financial crisis.

"When Hougang Town Council was under WP's management, it was not in crisis," he said in Mandarin.

There was no deficit when Hougang TC combined with Aljunied Town Council in May 2011.

Instead, it actually had an $80,000 gain, he added.

But the People's Action Party ministers have been alarming and misleading voters by suggesting otherwise, he said.

"(With) this kind of party, what kind of sincerity is there to speak of?" he asked.

Mr Low alleged that the ruling party's mindset was so narrow that it could not tolerate anyone with different political views: "I want to ask Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong - this is what you call the character of the PAP?"

Then Mr Low reminded rally-goers that "not agreeing with government policies does not mean (you) don't love the country".

In a democratic country, elections should not be a battleground all the time, he said. Rather, an election should be about building a constructive society with constructive ideas.

DIRTY POLITICS

Urging Singaporeans to speak with their vote and "tell the PAP" they reject such tactics of smearing opponents, he added: "This is dirty politics."

In a later speech, delivered in English, Mr Low said the people should not let the ruling party dictate the narrative.

He added: "You must have a say in how Singapore is run by having people of your choice representing your voice in Parliament... We must remind the PAP there is a distinction between what is of national interest and what is of party interest."

Calling this "a landmark election", Mr Low told the crowd they can collectively decide on the future direction of Singapore.

SYLVIA LIM: 'PUBLIC CONFUSION' OVER AHPETC

Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim rebutted accusations that it had been on the defensive after devoting most of its first rally on the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) issue.

Speaking at a walkabout yesterday morning, she said: "Because of the publicity that has been brought to bear on the town council, I think there may be some public confusion over what is happening. We thought that it is important for us to spend some part of our first rally to explain those things, otherwise we will be accused of not being accountable again.

"Either way, we will be wrong."

GERALD GIAM: 'VERY FEW' BRING UP AHPETC ISSUE

"Very few" residents have brought up the Workers' Party-run town council during the two years of house visits in East Coast GRC, said WP candidate Gerald Giam yesterday morning.

When they did bring up the topic, voters said they wished the WP had explained their side of the story more, he added.

And when they did bring up town council issues, it would be local situations like lift maintenance, he said.

LEON PERERA: ELECTION IS ABOUT COUNTRY

The PAP seems to be making GE 2015 all about "estate maintenance", fired WP's East Coast GRC candidate Leon Perera last night.

In a rousing maiden political speech, Mr Perera seemed to be obliquely referring to the drama and the exchanges over AHPETC.

To roars from the crowd, he said: "My fellow Singaporeans, we need to ask the PAP: If this is the local election, then when is the national election going to be held?

"This election is about our country."

S'pore football was great until...

PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

While most were at the Worker's Party rally to hear rousing speeches on national politics, few expected the WP chairman to talk about football.

Ms Sylvia Lim (above) even briefly spoke about her boyfriend, former national footballer Quah Kim Song, who scored in the 1977 Malaysia Cup final.

She told the audience: "I am so proud that the man who headed in the winning goal is here tonight as my personal driver."

But Ms Lim was trying to raise a point: Singapore football used to be "a force to be reckoned with" until the PAP decided to nominate PAP MPs to be in charge of the Football Association of Singapore.

Football was her example of how the PAP-led Government wants a hand in "every aspect of Singaporean life, including sports, businesses and professional groups".

GLORY

She spent a large part of her speech bringing up Singapore's football glory in the 60s and 70s.

She said Singapore was fourth in Asia in 1966, finishing the Asian Games behind Burma, Iran and Japan.

Said Ms Lim: "Everyone had football fever, not just the soccer fans but even grandmothers and housewives too."

She told the crowd at Boon Keng Road that the football example was relevant as they were near Jalan Besar Stadium.

Said the Aljunied GRC candidate: "Where is Singapore soccer today? According to (international football federation) Fifa, Singapore dropped from No. 70 in the world in 1993 to a new low this year of No. 157. We are classified by Fifa as one of the worst movers down the rankings.

"It is time for Singaporeans to take charge of what we care about. Let our passions take us to greatness.

"We have done it before, and we can do it again."

Singapore ElectionsWorkers' PartyPAPPeople's Action Partylow thia khiangSylvia LimUncategorisedhougangAHPETC