Singapore

Time for change is now, says WP in its first online talk show

This article is more than 12 months old

In its first online talk show, opposition candidates say PAP's policies need more scrutiny in these uncertain times

With the Covid-19 pandemic far from over, and much more uncertainty in the road ahead, the time for change is now, said the Workers' Party (WP) in its first online talk show yesterday.

"In these uncertain and worrying times brought about by the Covid-19 crisis worldwide, and given the uncertain leadership demonstrated by the PAP 4G leadership, it is not the right time to give them a strong mandate; far from it," said Mr Dennis Tan, a non-constituency MP (NCMP) and WP's candidate for the Hougang single-member constituency.

On the contrary, said Mr Tan, it was time for Singaporeans to vote more WP MPs into Parliament, so policies can be scrutinised to ensure Singapore comes out of the crisis "in the right way".

His comments came in the wake of calls by leaders of the People's Action Party (PAP) for a strong mandate from voters to tackle the challenges ahead.

Mr Tan, 49, said: "Remember: One more PAP MP does not make a difference. But one more WP MP will."

He was one of five WP candidates who took part in the first Hammer Show, broadcast on Facebook at 7pm.

The talk show featured other candidates in this General Election - former researcher Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim, who has been fielded in East Coast GRC, and equity research analyst Louis Chua, part of the WP's slate in Sengkang GRC.

Aljunied GRC MPs Pritam Singh and Sylvia Lim moderated the 40-minute long discussion, which, in line with previous WP campaigns, focused on the importance of having more credible opposition voices in Parliament to prevent an echo chamber from developing.

As at 9pm, more than 90,000 people had viewed the show.

Mr Shariff, 54, noted that the PAP's majority in Parliament had allowed the party to push its agenda unchallenged, citing objections over the 2017 Presidential election in Singapore.

Major changes to the process resulted in, among other things, the election being reserved for candidates from the Malay community, which had not been represented in the office since 1970.

The changes, as well as the eventual walkover for Madam Halimah Yacob after the other candidates were disqualified, triggered considerable debate online and in physical forums.

Said Mr Shariff: "There was disquiet on the ground, but (the changes) were just passed."

Mr Chua, 33, added: "It's about ensuring that there is a system of checks and balances... and that we have that diversity of people willing to stand up against the rules."

For the WP, the online talk show will take the place of rallies during the hustings.

Ms Nicole Seah, Dr Jamus Lim and Mr Gerald Giam made cameos on the show through short clips. Ms Seah, 33, directed her speech to those of her generation.

Calling on young voters to consider the future they want to see in Singapore, she said: "A vote for us is a vote for fairness and balance. A vote for us is a vote for stability and a reasonable opposition. Vote for the best of both worlds."

GENERAL ELECTION 2020