Png Eng Huat’s speech at Final WP Election Rally for Hougang By-election
Residents of Hougang and my fellow Singaporeans, Good evening!
1. Over the past few days, Mr. Teo Chee Hean has been very busy trying to paint that I have an integrity problem and was not truthful when I tried to explain away why WP did not select me as an NCMP.
2. My stand on NCMP is clear. In fact, in Lianhe WanBao, there is a report featuring Mr. Eric Tan, my ex-teammate in East Coast GRC. He had left the Workers’ Party right after the 2011 election. I have not spoken to Mr. Eric Tan for a long time.
3. Mr. Eric Tan said something in the report which is very important to my belief and character but the media chose not to highlight that point.
4. Mr. Eric Tan said right after the electoral boundary was released for the 2011 General Election, the Workers’ Party initially planned to field me, Png Eng Huat, in Joo Chiat, which has a high chance of being offered an NCMP post if we were to lose there. He said I declined to stand in Joo Chiat because I did not want to be an NCMP.
5. This is my stand and my conscience is clear.
6. At the beginning of the campaign, Mr. Desmond Choo said he is own man. But Mr. Teo Chee Hean, for some reason, has hijacked the campaign from Mr. Choo. I think Mr. Teo took Mr. Choo’s slogan for this By-Election too literally – Always here for you, Desmond.
7. Attacking the Workers’ Party and me are not going to bring Mr. Choo more votes. Keeping your promise to make Singapore an inclusive society will bring you more votes.
8. Since 1991, the PAP has tried very hard to retake Hougang. They have sent their big guns with big promises of estate upgrading to woo the voters. This By-Election, it has sent a big gun too but he did not bring any big carrot.
9. At the beginning of the campaign, I have said Hougang is very special to the Workers’ Party. That is why the entire team is here to defend it. The big guns from PAP only came to Hougang midway through the campaign.
10. Is the PAP serious about taking Hougang? The PAP campaign flyer, Caring for the Elderly in Hougang – Always here for you, contains mostly national programmes.
11. Take for example, the flyer promises more subsidies at private GPs and dentists. This programme is known as the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS). It is operated by the Ministry of Health. We are already helping MOH to publicize and register residents for the programme in Aljunied and Hougang. This is not a local programme designed specially for Hougang.
12. The flyer also promises ‘higher CPF contribution rates and earned income tax relief’ and ‘permanent GST vouchers – cash, Medisave top-ups and utility rebates.’ This sounds like a Budget Statement from last year. And yet we were told this election is about local issues.
13. The Workers’ Party has been in Hougang for the past 21 years. We have served the community to the best of our ability despite the obstacles we faced. We have upgraded some lifts without asking the residents to pay until the HDB stopped us. We have built some covered walkways using our own funds and we will do more.
14. I have shared our plan for Hougang at the last rally and I will do it again tonight.
15. We have nominated 2 clusters comprising 54 blocks of flats for the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme. Under this programme, covered walkways, linkways, drop-off points, elderly fitness centres and more will be built.
16. We have nominated 3 clusters comprising 15 blocks of flats for the Home Improvement Programme. Under this programme, repair work will be carried out inside the house to rectify leaking problems, spalling concrete and more.
17. And by the middle of this year, we will call for a tender to do Repair and Redecoration work and Reroofing work for 34 blocks of flats in Hougang. Under this tender, we will do repair and repainting work for the selected blocks. And most important of all, the reroofing will resolve the leaking problems faced by residents living on the highest floor.
18. We will also have more programmes planned for Hougang at the community level. I will continue to organize trips for our senior citizens and their family members. I will work with our youth to organize games and competitions .
19. A lot of people may not know this but we have an Hougang Constituency Education Trust set up in 1992 to assist needy students. From 1992 to 2010, the trust has disbursed almost half a million dollars in total benefitting an average of 80 students a year.
20. As Miss Sylvia Lim has announced at the last rally, I would be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council if I am elected. I would certainly ensure the interest of Hougang would be well served and represented at the town council level.
21. At the beginning of the campaign, a reporter asked me this question – do I always see myself as an opposition? I answered I always see myself as a Singaporean.
22. And it is the same for Hougang. The people of Hougang do not see themselves as opposition. They see themselves as Singaporeans.
23. You, the people of Hougang, have refused to be threatened or bullied by the PAP. You have an amazing fighting spirit to pass down to your children. And you have made many Singaporeans proud.
24. You have told the PAP, election after election, that Hougang is NOT FOR SALE!
25. When Hougang goes to the poll on Saturday, the whole of Singapore will be watching. A vote for the PAP will be a vote in the wrong direction in our march towards a first world parliament.
26. A vote for the PAP will be a giant step backwards for justice, equality and democracy.
27. A vote for the PAP will be a sad day for the future of our children because there will be one voice less in Parliament to protect their interests.
28. We have seen how HDB prices have risen. We know our children will become slaves to their tiny flats for their entire adult lives.
29. A vote for the PAP will also mean the spirit of Hougang has finally been broken.
30. However, a vote for the Workers’ Party will ensure our dreams and hope for a better Singapore will be on track.
31. A vote for the Workers’ Party will encourage more dedicated and passionate people to come forward to serve the nation.
32. A vote for the Workers’ Party will send a clear signal to the PAP that they are hearing but they are still not listening to the people.
33. A vote for the Workers’ Party will ensure the spirit of Hougang will live on in the history of Singapore.
34. A vote for the Workers’ Party will ensure that the fire of democracy that was started here 21 years ago will continue to spread from Aljunied to East Coast to Joo Chiat and beyond!
35. Our 9-day campaign has come to an end tonight. I will carry fond memories of the campaign trail with me for the rest of my life. I remember meeting 3 young primary school children at a coffee shop. One of them said to me, “Uncle, my whole class of 44 children support the Workers’ Party except for one fat boy!”
36. It is not easy to be that boy. Just like it is not easy for those who voted for the PAP in Hougang since 1991. The ruling party penalised you along with the rest by denying Hougang the necessary upgrading.
37. Tonight I urge those who voted for the PAP to change your support and send a clear signal to the ruling party that political discrimination has no place in our inclusive society.
38. The people of Hougang have chosen the Workers’ Party to represent them for the past 21 years. The Workers’ Party appreciates the trust you put in us and we will not fail you. I will not fail you.
39. Residents of Hougang, I stand here tonight as a Workers’ Party candidate for this constituency. I stand here to ask you for a mandate to serve you and be your voice in Parliament.
40. My name is Png Eng Huat. Vote Workers’ Party. Towards a First World Parliament.