Dear voters of Punggol East and fellow Singaporeans, welcome to the last rally for this BE!
During my walkabouts, I have been asked by residents, young and old alike what I will do if I am elected. I have no million and multi-million projects to announce today, neither am I going to make you empty and false promises. If I am elected, the immediate and most important thing is to take over the town council and ensure a smooth operation, to serve Punggol East residents and take good care of the constituency; a most privileged role, if entrusted to me by the residents of Punggol East.
Today, I would like to speak to you about 3 issues.
The Workers’ Party is not anti-immigrant. We welcome foreigners who can contribute to Singapore and enhance our quality of life. We are grateful to those who do the jobs that Singaporeans do not want to do. Their rights should be protected and we should ensure they enjoy decent and safe working and living conditions.
However, the speed of immigration in the last 10 years has taken many of us by surprise. In 2000, we had a total population of 4 million. In 2005, the population was 4.2 million. From 2005 to 2013, the population jumped from 4.2 million to 5.3 million. Over 1 million people in just 8 years! And while the PAP government has opened the floodgate, they were ill-prepared for the influx and we, the people, have to pay a heavy price for this.
Our trains are overcrowded to the point of danger. In order to cope with the huge crowds, the frequency of train services had to be increased. This increased frequency led to strain on the train infrastructure. This strain increased wear and tear, and led to many train breakdowns.
The pace of the influx of foreigners must not exceed the development of infrastructure, like public transport networks, hospitals and schools. Unfortunately, for the past 10 years, infrastructure development has lagged behind population growth, which is the cause of so much unhappiness among Singaporeans. We also have to keep in mind Singaporeans’ sense of well-being and identity, as we allow in so many foreigners.
However, we do not believe that immigration is a long term solution to our population problems.
The next 2 issues have been brought up several times by Singaporeans but nothing gets done! I have also mentioned this in my rally speeches in GE2011.
1st group, stay at home parents,
Work fare bonus is only meant for people with an income. As an inclusive society, have we forgotten ‘stay at home parents’ who do not earn an income?
These stay at home parents or home makers have chosen to stay at home to take care of the house and family so that other members of the family can go out to work or attend school, and have piping hot meals served to them when they come home. They are the CEO of the HOUSE but they are given none or very little recognition for their valuable contribution to home and society.
They have chosen a profession that is no less important than any salaried job, and have often put their careers on hold to nurture the next generation. They should not be forgotten!
The Workers’ Party proposes that stay at home parents should receive the same infant care and childcare subsidies as other working parents!
Our inclusive society has also forgotten the 2nd group, single parents, who are Singapore citizens and whose daughter and son will bear and nurture future generations as well as serve National Service.
Did you know that single parents can only purchase HDB BTO Flats only when they are 35 and above?
Regardless of marital status, all parents love and want to provide their children with the best they possibly can. Some single parents need caregivers too, but they are excluded from working mothers’ child relief, grandparent caregiver relief and foreign maid-levy relief.
Babies from single parents are also not eligible for Baby Bonus.
While having children outside of marriage should continue to be discouraged in our society, children born to single parents should not be denied the benefits that children of married parents receive. The children are innocent parties and should not start life being disadvantaged. Single parents should receive the same parenthood benefits packages as married parents.
Allow me to quote our pledge, ‘happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation’. How can there be actual progress when stay at home parents and single parents are being left behind! We, the citizens of Singapore should move together as one people under one Flag!
Currently, the Parliament is made up of 80 PAP MPs vs 6 elected Opposition MPs. There is a great imbalance in Parliament right now. That is why there is an urgent need to vote more Workers’ Party candidates into Parliament.
On 26th Jan 2013, your ballot paper is not just a piece of paper with a cross on it. It is a piece of paper that will send a signal to the ruling party that all is not well. We need more constructive changes!
Voters of Punggol East, Vote Workers’ Party! Vote for Lee Li Lian!
Undilah Parti Pekerja! Undilah Lee Li Lian!
现在，只有那些有工作，有收入的人，才有资格领取“Workfare Bonus”，就业奖励花红。 那么，那些为了照顾家庭，照顾子女，而放弃工作的人，他们怎么办呢？他们放弃工作，待在家里，把一家大小照顾妥当，把子女好好抚养成人。这些全职父母的贡献，难道就不重要吗？难道我们就可以把他们排除在外吗？
Good Evening, voters of Punggol East and Supporters
After the rally last night, DPM Teo Chee Hean posted on his facebook and I quote “WP has avoided taking a stand on major issues, for example, population or foreign workers where tough trade-offs are needed. Have they offered credible alternatives on the best way forward?”, unquote.
Best way forward ah? Vote Workers’ Party lah!
In fact, I did state my stand on foreign workers. I said in Parliament “I agree we should not be over-reliant on foreign workers; we should not allow foreign workers to take away Singaporeans’ rice bowls. This is not protectionism, but a responsibility of the government to the people.”
This is recorded on Parliamentary report Volume No: 88.
In March last year, I also raised the issue about the need and rate of tightening of foreign workers dependency ratio in Parliament during budget debate. I suggested that there is a need to micro-plan, to engage specific industries to determine which industries require more or less foreign workers. Deputy Prime Minister Tharman’s stand is that the government …..
will find it very hard to determine who needs more and who needs less, therefore the planning should be based on Macro level of economic sector instead of specific industry.
Here, I have made a suggestion on policy, I believe it is in the interest of Singaporeans and our economy that the government should calibrate the dependency ratio of foreign workers by specific industry in order to be more effective in managing the inflow of foreign workers without hurting the business and our economy too much.
I am also worried that too abrupt tightening of the foreign workers will result in high manpower cost and inflation; but my suggestion is not taken up. The govt does not think it is the best way forward.
Therefore, DPM Teo and the PAP should stop misleading the voters about WP’s stand on major issues. It is without question that the WP has so far been trying as hard as possible to think of ways to fix the mistakes made by the PAP!
The Workers’ Party has also made clear our stand on immigation in our manifesto. It is stated that “WP is not an anti-immigration party. We welcome immigrants who contribute to the economic vibrancy, diversity and future population growth of our nation.” We also said that “the most important objective for our immigration policies should be to improve the well-being of individual Singaporeans and their families.”
Is this not clear enough? The WP manifesto is our stand on many issues. I invite the PAP and everyone to take a look.
I advise the Deputy Prime Minister not to waste too much time finding fault with the Workers’ Party. There are pressing tasks ahead for the government to look into.
I would like to tell the Government this. Singaporeans are made to run and strive for better results, but are we even allowed to take a rest for a short breath? Can you truly be confident that you are allowed to find some time off from work to pursue a quality family life without being branded as a lazy Singaporean at work? Would you be allowed to ask for a reasonable pay rise without being branded as an expensive labour? Would you be allowed to start a family without being seen as a waste of resource at work?
5 to 10 years down the road, with the increasing competition coupled with rising cost of living, rising housing cost and rising healthcare cost, maybe Khaw Boon Wan’s suggestion to send your parents to JB nursing home may one day come true!
WP’s stand on policy making and alternative solutions are clear, every policy made must be made with the objective of improving the lives of the Nation as a whole, and not only for a small group. If the result is such, then the policy has failed. Society must be inclusive, or this small nation of ours will quickly lose its identity and soul.
We cannot afford to put our lives in the hands of a sleepy driver, do not put another sleepy driver into parliament.
Finally, I would like to borrow Png Eng Huat’s words, may this by-election provide the Punggol slap which the PAP will never forget.
Vote Lee Lian, Vote Workers’ Party!
昨晚李丽连在群众大会上提到公共交通费的问题。大多数的新加坡人都依赖公共交通，是生活中不可或缺的，但政府却把公共交通商业化，让以赚钱为第一目标的私人企业来经营。私人企业讲求的是投资回报率，比如投资1千万元，要求每年要有10％的回报率，那每年就得赚回1百万元。这1百万元就得从公司的商业运作，包括你每天所支付的车资中赚来。以此类推，所赚的可以是天文数字，而你所要支付的，也就会慢慢地变成日常开销的大数目。每个月拿回的薪水也会在不知不觉中缩水。许多人不明白，为什么公共交通企业每年都赚这么多钱，车资还要涨，因为他们赚得不够。你知道这些公共交通企业背后的大老板是谁吗？ （政府 － 淡马锡控股）
我国人民目前面对高生活成本，政府的思维是个关键。只要是政府少赚的，就等于是津贴，PAP的精英们甚至发明了“市场津贴”。比如说，现在新建的政府组屋，政府认为在市场上可以卖50万，政府定价30万卖给你，它就算是津贴了你20万。还有，政府少赚钱，也算是津贴。比如最近政府把好些工业用途的厂房卖给私人企业经营，这间公司是丰树（Mapletree），接着这间公司就根据市场可支撑的租金价格提高租金，许多受影响的小商家都叫苦连天。你们知道谁是老板吗？（Mapletree 是100％ 由政府公司淡马锡控股所拥有。）
年纪比较大的，关心政治的国人就会知道，现在的PAP和以前的PAP 不一样了。他们告诉我，PAP 政府现在什么都讲钱，斤斤计较，平时与民争利，大选时就以各种利益引诱选民，使新加坡成为一个高度自私与功利主义的社会。PAP政府只有在大选的时候才跟你讲人情。
如果我们不在阿裕尼集选区中选，也不会知道行动党所管理的市镇会到底如何运作 。新加坡人也不会知道有AIM这间公司，也不知道原来行动党也组织公司做生意 。因此，有反对党中选进入国会，管理市镇理事会，参与政府的事务，对人民是一种保障 。
Vote for a More Equal Society
At last night’s rally, I spoke about the controversial sale of computing systems belonging to PAP Town Councils to AIM just before the General Election in 2011. Late last night, the PAP HQ issued a short statement on the matter, on behalf of Dr Teo Ho Pin, the co-ordinating Chairman of the PAP Town Councils. Dr Teo must have been on standby. Though there is nothing new in the statement, I think it is necessary to debunk once and for all the question of who terminated the software agreement with our Town Council.
Dr Teo now says it was we, the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, who terminated the agreement. What he is now saying contradicts his own earlier statement, issued on Christmas Eve, where he stated: “After GE2011, the software contract with AIM remained in place for the PAP TCs. However, AIM decided to end the contract with the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC).” We have also already released AIM’s official notice of termination to us dated on 22 June 2011, which has been widely circulated. In any case, if Dr Teo has read the termination clause, he would know that it does not give the town council the right to terminate the agreement under such circumstances. So I don’t know what Dr Teo is trying to say.
In any case, it is quite clear that the bigger question of public interest is the sale of the software to AIM in the first place. The fact that the Prime Minister has seen it fit to order a review of the transaction shows that there are serious questions and the public deserves answers!
Tonight is our last rally. We had badly wanted to have a rally tomorrow, the last day of campaigning. Unfortunately, there are only 2 rally sites, and the balloting system caused us to lose out to PAP and the Reform Party.
Tonight I wish to talk to you about using your vote to build a more equal society.
Singapore has changed a lot. When I was growing up, I used to visit my school friends living in kampongs in the Punggol area, and could smell the aroma of pig farms behind my own home in Seletar Hills. Now, life in Singapore is considered first world. I am proud of what Singapore has achieved in my lifetime, but yet worried at the same time.
Singapore has become a very unequal society. There was a recent study of world economies by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank. According to their Wealth Report 2012, Singapore was listed as the world’s most affluent, with a GDP (gross domestic product) per capita of about $70,000 in 2010, beating Norway and the USA! It was stated that Singapore had the highest GDP per capita in 2010 globally, and will likely remain at the top spot as far as 2050. Fellow Singaporeans, do you feel rich? The fact is that there is a big divide between the haves and have-nots.
Last month, the PSLE results were released. Two different sets of parents came to see me about their children’s postings to secondary schools. On the one hand, Couple A who was quite well-off had a child who did brilliantly. They wanted to change schools, so as to give their child maximum flexibility in career options in the future. Perfectly understandable. On the other hand, a single mother came with her son. He did not do well, and did not get posted to the school of his choice. The school he was posted to did not offer his mother tongue subject in-house. His mother explained to me that she needed to work two jobs, and she was worried that her son would fall into bad company if he had to travel outside school for his language classes. Her one and only concern was that he not ruin his future by getting into trouble with the law. This, my friends, is a snapshot of the two different worlds we have in Singapore.
The population in Singapore has also changed drastically in the last 20 years. In 1990, there were about 3 million people here. In 2000, about 4 million. And in 2010, about 5 million. Only about 62% are Singapore citizens. What else is coming, we await in anticipation…. The government had said it would release the White Paper on Population this month, but it seems that it is being held back till after the by-election!
It is totally understandable that Singaporeans feel insecure in this environment. Sometimes when I am waiting at traffic lights to cross the road, I close my eyes and listen to people talking around me, and can imagine myself in a different country! What future will our children have in Singapore? Can they afford to live here? There seems to be so much insecurity and worry these days.
The Workers’ Party believes that the way forward is to ensure that the country’s governing principles take into account not just economic growth, but well-being and happiness as well. Sustainable development, retirement security, social safety nets – all these are critical if we are to move forward as a united people. What we need are MPs who can empathise with the struggles that you face daily.
Li Lian was not a brilliant student; she did her GCE N Levels, went on to O Levels and then got into Ngee Ann Polytechnic. She got her university degree through part-time studies while she was working. Some of you in Punggol East have told me that her story is similar to yours.
In sunny Singapore, some citizens’ voices are louder than others. Life in Singapore is a breeze for the rich; but for the poor, it can be hell. Elections are the only time when the voice of a labourer is as loud as the voice of a CEO – both have just one vote. Use your vote to bring about a more equal society. Let Parliament be a microcosm of society – with more MPs from the non-elite class, to speak for the people.
Even if Dr Koh Poh Koon does not get elected, he can return to his comfortable life as a colorectal surgeon holding multiple appointments. He has only been in the PAP for a few weeks, so he has not invested too much time. Anyway from today’s papers, he initially said No to the Prime Minister, meaning he was not too keen to stand in Punggol East in the first place.
Li Lian has been Pritam Singh’s Legislative Assistant for 1.5 years. Pritam once told me: “Li Lian is one in a million”. I agree. This morning I got a message that well-wishers had gone to the Waterloo Street temple to pray for Li Lian’s success in this by-election. Thank you very much.
The Workers’ Party believes that electing Li Lian carries more promise for a secure future for Punggol East and for Singapore. Do not waste this chance to fight for a more equal society. Vote Lee Li Lian. Vote Workers’ Party!
榜鹅东的选民 ！ 大家晚上好！
Dear residents of Punggol East,
Good evening to you.
Over the weekend, I was helping my colleague and candidate for Punggol East, Lee Li Lian, campaign in the estate. I met the residents at Blk 122 which is located at the junction of Sengkang East Drive and Sengkang East Way. If you look out from this block, you will see the beautiful sight of the Serangoon River and the forested area beyond.
In the middle of last year, the residents of Pasir Ris Heights went to their MP, who is DPM Teo Chee Hean because they wanted to preserve a forested green area the size of about two football fields that had been set aside for the construction of an international school. Six out of nine residents interviewed by a Today reporter said they were in favor of preserving the green woodland. Earlier this month on the 9th of Jan 2013, the residents at Pasir Ris Heights stopped to prevent HDB contractors from chopping down a tree which was home to about 90 parrots at this very site. The MND said that it was unable to accede to residents requests to preserve this woodland about the size of two football fields.
Now my friends, many of you may be wondering why this little episode is so significant for all Singaporeans especially those of us who live near pockets of greenery and green lungs like in Pasir Ris or Bukit Brown or Punggol.
DPM Teo said yesterday that the WP has avoided taking a stand on major issues, for example on population. Before one can take a stand on an issue, it’s important to be fully transparent about the facts and realities about the trade-offs that Singaporeans have to make with regard to the PAP government’s population plans. So far the government’s interpretation of these trade offs have been heavily weighted in economic terms. This is a relevant consideration but there are many other considerations that the government needs to look into because they are related to the quality of our life, especially if the government plans to increase the population to 7 or 8 or 9 million.
Our elites may enjoy themselves in the gardens of their landed properties, but the rest of us rely on public spaces to relax and rejuvenate. The PAP elites do not see and feel the reality of a large number of foreigners and immigrants in HDB estates on a daily basis, but ordinary Singaporeans like us do.
Singaporeans do not hate new immigrants and foreigners, but we do have a right to say how much is too much.
Instead of blaming Singaporeans for being anti-foreigner, maybe the government can put itself in our shoes and ask itself how it would feel if a piece of woodland or greenery that brought peace and comfort to us was taken away in the name of development today. Or if road congestion because of high COE prices makes cars and light vehicles unaffordable for the average Singaporean.
The government says that to plan for a larger population is the responsible thing to do – but isn’t it also responsible to accept what your limits are and to ensure the quality of life of your people does not suffer?
Don’t just ask those who have enough money to retire overseas or scholars who have two or three properties earning a rental income what is the ideal population size for Singapore; Ask your heart lander, who has to stay in his HDB flat, and take crowded public transport in the morning and evening and has to see his dreams of upgrading his home or buying a bigger flat vanish before his eyes, since the prices of properties have doubled since 2006, but his salary has not.
MND Minister Khaw Boon Wan recently announced that 200,000 new units will be ready in the years to come and that property prices should moderate as a result. But if the government plans to bring in more new immigrants in the next few years, will these additional units be taken up? What then? Will prices moderate? Or can we expect another round of property cooling measures to satisfy Singaporeans and scare developers? The developers are not scared.
After the government’s introduction of the 7th round of cooling measures last week, some developers have already offered discounts to fight the government’s cooling measures just as they did after the government’s six previous failed attempts to cool the market. Even the governments policies don’t seem to be moderating prices. If prices continue to rise, and make the rich-poor gap even wider, I hope the government doesn’t come out and say we did not anticipate this.
Unlike other immigrant-friendly countries that have a countryside where its citizens can relax and retire to, this little red dot is all we have. DPM Teo says the WP has not taken a stand on the major issues.
I would like to ask the DPM to take a stand on the population size the PAP is working towards and how it plans to retain a patriotism for Singapore, integrating new immigrants and preserving our way of life without dividing Singaporeans.
In October last year, I asked DPM Teo whether his Ministry had considered the reality of more immigrants creating an even larger elderly population for future generations of Singaporeans to look after because the latest census 2010 data reveal that even new immigrants are not replacing themselves.
The point is this – you can bring in more people but are you simply pushing the problem into the hands of the next generation by increasing your population size? Even immigrants will get old. What becomes the solution then, in 20 or 30 years time – increase the population again? I certainly hope to see some answers in the government’s white paper on population and you can be sure the WP MPs will be speaking up in parliament about this when the population white paper is debated.
Residents of Punggol East, the Workers Party will continue to hold the government to account and serve you to the best of our abilities. We will constantly press the government for more information especially since it is so selective with the information it releases.
Since GE2011, an opposition presence in parliament has led to the uncovering of interesting details about governance in Singapore under the PAP. During the AIM saga that took place a few weeks ago, for the first time in the history of Singapore, we all got to know that there was such a thing as a fully-owned PAP company.
What many fair minded Singaporeans want to know is how many fully owned PAP companies are there in Singapore and abroad? What are their names? Who are their directors? These questions, raised by many Singaporeans in the name of good governance have so far gone unanswered. While the PM has ordered an investigation under the auspices of the MND, it is not known if this aspect of the AIM affair will be answered. I, like many Singaporeans certainly hope it is.
We have a lot more to do in this journey to bring balance to Singapore politics, with a view to greater social equity and fairness. Everybody needs to play their part. Make a commitment to be more politically active and take an interest in national issues because they affect all of us. As we play our part, lets make sure the Government does its job.
As this is the last rally, I want to read out a comment that was posted on a Yahoo article titled: Workers’ Party has redefined Singapore politics.
“I was there at the rally on 19 Jan 2013 at around 8pm.
Before reaching the field from Rumbia LRT, being considerate, a regular middle aged guy was directing people to the left through the blocks of flats saying that it was a drier route to the rally site.
One guy dropped his phone in the muddy field and a stranger spotted it and told him even providing him a pack of tissue to clean it.”
Residents of Punggol East, who are these people that this person saw, helping each other?
They are you. They are all of us. They are the face of Singapore. Ordinary men and women who came to support the courage and determination of Lee Li Lian.
The PAP will never be able understand this emotion, because the elitist road which they are on, with a lack of accountability and transparency, ignores the ordinary Singaporeans. Lets bring some balance back into parliament, and full it up with people who speak up for ordinary Singaporeans.
Come 26 Jan vote for the Workers’ Party, and vote for Lee Li Lian!
Last night, almost immediately after Mr Low Thia Khiang spoke on the performance of Workers’ Party MPs in Parliament, Mr Teo Chee Hean, the Deputy Prime Minister, responded and said that PAP MPs offered “many more constructive suggestions”.
We do not dispute that but there are 80 PAP MPs and only 6 elected WP MPs. If the 6 of us together the 3 NCMPs can match the 80 of them in providing the same number of constructive suggestions, then I think DPM Teo may not sleep well at night.
Last night, you have also heard our Chairman, Miss Sylvia Lim, talked about the ownership issue of Town Council Management Software and the AIM issue. Tonight, let me share with you what will happen if there is a material change in the management of a Workers’ Party constituency.
If another party were to win Hougang SMC, the new management will take over a town council completely intact with the original software. The new management can then decide to continue to use the software, enhance it or discard it all at its own time and bidding because the software belongs to the town council.
The Workers’ Party believes the interest of the residents must be above politics. We will never put a town at risk or make the residents suffer unnecessarily for political gains. We will live to fight another day and we will fight fairly and justly because we truly believe in building a democratic society based on justice and equality.
These are values we want to inculcate into our society. So when you vote for a Workers’ Party candidate, you know you are voting for a rational and responsible party and nothing less.
Right now the Workers’ Party has 6 elected MPs. If the voters of Punggol East are willing, we will have number 7 on 26 January. I can understand why the PAP is so worried because the Prime Minister had said in 2006 that if there are 10 or more Opposition members in Parliament, he cannot function very well. He said he would have to spend all his time thinking about what is the right way to fix us.
If Singaporeans chose to have more opposition members in Parliament, it can only mean one thing – the PAP policies are hurting Singaporeans. What the PM needs to do is to spend his time to fix these policies and not to fix Opposition MPs.
We know Singaporeans are hurting because we meet them all the time at our Meet-the-People sessions. From zero income to middle-income, Singaporeans from all walks of life are facing problems with housing, immigration, medical costs and rising costs of living.
I have a resident who said he had tried many times to apply for PR for his wife since 1985 when he was 37 years old. Now he is 65 years old and he said the immigration authority said he has exceeded the age criterion for PR application. He has been married to his foreign wife for 29 years. And when foreign talents with no roots here are given PR so easily, it makes you wonder about the value of our citizenship in the eyes of the PAP government.
I have another needy resident who is unable to work full-time because of medical problems and he requested CPF to allow him to withdraw more of his hard-earned money for living expenses. The CPF said, after setting aside the required amounts in his Retirement Account, he can withdraw less than $40.
I have seen young couples starting out in life but not getting much help from the government in buying their first HDB flats. Some of these couples are not even asking for more subsidies. They are asking for higher loan quantum which they will pay back with interests so that they can own one of those so called affordable HDB flats.
We know many Singaporeans expect the Workers’ Party to take on more issues but there is only that much 6 elected MPs can do for the community. But we want to do more. For that we need to grow and we need the voters of Punggol East to help us grow.
The result on 26 January will not change the balance of power in the government. The PAP will still have total control of your life. It will still tell you HDB flats are affordable. It will still tell you how to spend your hard-earned CPF money. It will continue to grow the population through immigration. It will still bring in foreign competition for Singaporeans at all levels of our society – from primary school all the way to your working life.
But the result on 26 January can send a powerful message to the PAP government. I have said last Saturday that having one more Workers’ Party MP sends a powerful message to the PAP government that all is still not well.
I read in the papers that Dr Koh Poh Koon wants to be the change from within PAP. Many had gone before him but no has succeeded. PAP still preaches and practices divisive politics. PAP is still a big bully. We know they fear no one except that ballot paper in your hand.
I noticed Punggol East and Hougang do share something in common. While I was campaigning for Li Lian, I came across some Punggol East residents who used to live in Hougang. I also met some residents with relatives living in Hougang. And when I was visiting the coffee shops in Hougang, I met residents from Punggol East. So now you know what I meant when I said last Saturday I told Li Lian I can smell Punggol East from Hougang and the smell is still sweet!
Voters of Punggol East, you will have the ultimate National Conversation with the PAP government on 26 January. You will have in your hand an instrument of change. You can vote for the PAP or vote for real change – a change that will liberate you from the bondage of PAP. A change that your children and grandchildren will read about with pride in the history books of Singapore.
Someone posted in my Facebook that the word Punggol in Malay means “hurling sticks at the branches of fruit trees to bring them down to the ground”. She added that “the ground is sweet for those who are with sticks, and some say hammer!”
Voters of Punggol East, please do the honour and write a new chapter in the history of Singapore for all Singaporeans to celebrate on 26 January!
Vote Workers’ Party, Vote Lee Li Lian!
Voters of Punggol East and fellow Singaporeans:
Selamat datang. Terima kasih atas kehadiran anda.
Thank you for coming. We are grateful for your support.
Please allow me to begin in Chinese.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Tonight, I would like to talk about empowering older Singaporeans.
We at the Workers’ Party believe that it is firstly about enabling older Singaporeans to live out their golden years with enough security and freedom from worry about survival.
First, we believe that our older workers should be allowed to continue to work if they wish and are able to, without fear of losing their jobs due to their old age, and without having to take pay cuts for doing the same jobs that younger workers do.
Companies can be encouraged to do more to redesign workplaces to make older workers more productive.
As for families, Mr Low Thia Khiang asked last night which parents do not wish to live with their children, to be supported by their children? Yet, this may not be possible for some, either because they do not have families, or because support is no longer possible from their children who are struggling themselves, or who have fallen out with them.
Many policies in Singapore risk leaving some of our elders behind.
For example, public rental housing would not be allocated to elderly Singaporeans who have children with homes, as the elderly are expected to live with their children.
As for medical care for the elderly, the CPF board will ask for top-ups or ‘ask a working family member to pay for their premiums before their policies lapse’. Medishield premiums are currently $1,123 a year for those aged between 80-85, and this will be increased in March. We cannot and should not assume that most elderly would have working family members who are able or willing to help out.
So, while we continue to emphasise the importance of family and its support for the elderly in Singapore, we should recognize that our families are changing in many ways, and not just in family size, which has been shrinking for decades. This is why we need to strengthen our social safety nets to ensure that no old person falls through the cracks. I believe that this will ultimately promote inclusiveness and help to reinforce our sense of nationhood.
So let’s work on it together. The welfare of the elderly is close to Li Lian’s heart. Come January 26, vote the Workers’ Party, vote for Lee Li Lian.
Saudara-saudari sekalian, salam hormat!
Voters of Punggol East, friends and fellow Singaporeans, good evening!
Thank you for coming to attend our last rally of this election. We are very grateful for your support. For those who are still deciding who to vote for, and have come to listen to what we have to say, I hope we can convince you tonight that Lee Li Lian from the Workers’ Party is the best candidate to manage your constituency and represent you in Parliament.
PAP leaders have made a number of statements in response to issues that the Workers’ Party has raised during this campaign. I am glad to note that, at least for these nine days, the PAP is listening, because they know their political survival in Punggol East is at stake.
On Sunday, Mr Heng Swee Keat, told the media that this by-election is “about electing the right candidate who can best serve residents of Punggol East” and “not about voting more opposition into Parliament”.
My response to Mr Heng is: Why can’t we do both? You have a chance this Saturday to elect the right candidate to serve you and also vote more opposition into Parliament, if you vote for Lee Li Lian.
Mr Heng also asked you to look at what MPs have contributed in their constituencies and in Parliament, and said you should come to a conclusion to “vote for the PAP to make the Workers’ Party work harder for you”.
I really don’t understand his logic. How can voting for the PAP candidate make the Workers’ Party work harder for you? If you vote for the PAP candidate, how will Lee Li Lian have the opportunity to serve you effectively?
But if you vote for Lee Li Lian, you will be putting her to work. And she will work very hard for you, with the full backing of the Workers’ Party when she runs your town council and improves your neighbourhood. And yes, you will make the PAP work harder to win back the ward the next time round!
Mr Teo Chee Hean yesterday said that residents should compare what the PAP candidate has to offer with what other candidates can offer. He then listed out the material benefits that their candidate has promised to the ward.
This is a well-known PAP election tactic: Dangle material goodies before voters and expect them to take the bait like a fish to a worm. But I urge you: think carefully before you bite, because there could be a sharp hook behind it to catch you.
In any case, Dr Koh Poh Koon is not promising multi-million dollar HDB upgrading programmes, but more modest amenity improvements like new childcare centres and a job placement centre. Yet he cannot build these himself. He will have to work with the government authorities to get these built.
In her speech yesterday, Li Lian already identified many of the problems faced by residents in Punggol East, even down to the detail of having more halal food stalls in the ward. If she is elected, you can be sure she will raise these concerns with the relevant authorities to press them to take action, and if they refuse to take action, she can raise them in Parliament.
Last night, after our rally, Mr Teo Chee Hean wrote on his Facebook that “WP has avoided taking a stand on major issues, for example, population or foreign workers”.
I beg to differ with Mr Teo. Our Manifesto has large sections dedicated to these major issues. If you look at the dozens of Parliament speeches posted on our website over the past year, all our MPs have raised issues and stated their positions on the major issues of the day, including education, housing, transport, population and foreign workers.
Mr Teo feels that PAP MPs have offered more constructive suggestions, and have been prepared to take a stand. I think what is important for voters in this by-election to know is: What is Dr Koh Poh Koon’s stand on all these major issues?
In the last few days, we have been hearing announcement after announcement of goodies being rolled out by the government. Enhanced marriage and parenthood package. MediShield coverage for babies with congenital conditions. Paternity leave. More childcare subsidies. These have been things that the Workers’ Party and many other Singaporeans have been calling for. And now they are being announced just before this by-election. The timing is perfect, isn’t it?
This all proves that it is the voice of the people – through your vote – that is the most powerful force to move government policy.
However, there is one announcement which has been long awaited, and should have been made weeks ago. I’m referring to the government White Paper on Population. This was supposed to be released at the end of last year and it will be debated in Parliament in just over a week’s time. Why has this paper not been released yet? Is the PAP afraid that people will be unhappy with its contents and vote against them? Maybe the PAP wants us to hear only the good stuff before the election.
Voters of Punggol East, if you vote for Lee Li Lian in this by-election, you will get three key benefits:
Number one, you will get an MP who is energetic, enthusiastic and empathetic. Someone you can relate to. Someone who will work tirelessly to take care of you. You will get another Workers’ Party MP in Parliament who will speak up against poor government policies. She will pressure the government to improve – for your benefit.
Number two, you will get an experienced Party to run your town council and manage your constituency. The Workers’ Party has over 20 years of experience in managing town councils well. And not just small town councils, but a huge GRC town council in Aljunied. We know the ins and outs of running a constituency. Even when obstacles were thrown in our path to trip us up, we have still managed to ensure residents’ needs are well taken care of. Just ask your friends or relatives in Hougang and Aljunied.
And three, you will be part of a movement to bring about change to Singapore. Not just change for the sake of it, but real change that improves your life, and the lives of your children. With more credible opposition MPs in Parliament, you will have greater bargaining power to force the government to be more responsive to your needs and concerns.
Come join us on this exciting journey and play a part in shaping Singapore’s future.
Voters of Punggol East, this is not an ordinary by-election, just as Punggol East is not an ordinary constituency. It is special.
We in the Workers’ Party take this election very seriously. That’s why so many of our members, volunteers and all our MPs have been out in force, campaigning for our candidate, Lee Li Lian, both on the ground and online.
The Workers’ Party values every one of your votes in this by-election, because this by-election is so critical in bringing about progress to our beloved nation of Singapore.
Help make history in Singapore. This Saturday, please cast your vote for Lee Li Lian. Vote for the Workers’ Party.
Good evening residents and friends of Punggol East.
This is my first rally speech, so let me tell you a bit about myself. My name is Daniel Goh. I graduated from NUS in 1998 and completed my PhD in sociology in the United States in 2005. I have been teaching in NUS since and I am currently associate professor there. My students call me Dr Goh or simply Prof. My friends call me Daniel, so please call me Daniel.
I started volunteering with the Workers’ Party during GE2011. Since then, I have been helping Mr Chen Show Mao at his Meet-the-People Sessions. I joined the Workers’ Party as a member this year.
Many of my friends and family members asked why I joined the Workers’ Party. Some were afraid for me. They asked me, “Is it really safe for you to do this?”. But I told them life is too short and too precious, don’t waste time being kiasu, kiasi and kiagui.
Some wondered about my motives. They say, “You are a professor, you got a comfortable life, if you idealistic, go join the PAP, change the system from inside.” I told them change does not come from inside or from outside, but from the correct side. This is the co-driver side where we tell the driver he is heading down the wrong side of the road!
Some laughed at me because they know I am not the slapping type. They say, “Hah, you can slap meh, you are a bookworm.” I told them, even bookworms think of their children and would stand up for them.
This, my fellow citizens, is why I joined the Workers’ Party: I became a father in June last year.
When I volunteered with the Workers’ Party in 2011, I volunteered because I felt it was an extension of my national service. Volunteering with the Workers’ Party was the way I could serve Singapore and help my fellow Singaporeans.
When I became a father, something changed. It was no longer enough to volunteer. I needed to join the Workers’ Party to fight for a Singapore that I want my son and all children and young people to inherit. It is now a long-term commitment to a cause. The cause is not to oppose for opposing sake, or to bring down the government. The cause is to change mindset.
The PAP likes to tell Singaporeans that we need to change our mindset.
When it comes to PSLE, the government resisted calls for reform and is only just starting to do a review. Instead, they tell us we are the problem, that we need to change our so-called kiasu mindset.
Kiasu parents don’t make the PSLE exist. It is the PSLE that makes parents kiasu!
When it comes to BTO for HDB flats, the government tells Singaporeans not to be choosy and to stay in non-mature towns like Sengkang and Punggol. But it doesn’t realize that young families need the amenities of a mature town and many of us wish to stay close to our parents.
So, on one hand, the government tells us to have more babies and to take care of our parents. On the other hand we are not supposed to be choosy and to stay in a place that is difficult to raise a family and be filial? It has become very frustrating because people are being blamed for problems caused by policy.
Sengkang is a beautiful town. I live just across from you in Punggol town, just over there in the blue estate by the TPE, and I often walk across the overhead bridge to come to Rivervale Mall or take a bus to Compass Point. The problem is that towns like ours are kept from maturing faster. Lack of childcare centres, eldercare facilities, feeder bus services, coffee shops, properly run hawker centres, these are just some of the issues. These are not just local issues, they are policy issues affecting everyone in Singapore, whether you are in Sengkang, Punggol, Chua Chu Kang, or Bedok. Amenities are built only when the government believes enough people are in the town to service them.
Amenities should be serving the people, not the people serving amenities!
When it comes to marriage and having more babies, again we are told that we need to change our mindset, that we should marry earlier and have more children. But surveys after surveys conducted show that most Singaporeans want to marry and have more than 2 children. Our mindset concerning marriage and parenthood is fine. So please, the PAP should stop following us into our bedroom. Stop preaching to the converted!
Why do Singaporeans end up marrying later and have only 1.5 children on average?
What is stopping Singaporeans from marrying earlier and having more babies is the lack of financial security. Wages have not kept up with inflation and rising cost of living. HDB resale prices increased by 109% in the last 10 years. Let me ask you this, have your salaries increased by 100% in the last 10 years? Because prices of new BTO flats are affected by resale prices, many young couples have to wait longer before they feel secure enough to settle down.
Work-life balance is bad because the government’s approach is to sayang businesses to adopt work-life harmony practices. At the same time, the government is telling us to change our mindset about the right conditions to start a family. Can’t the PAP understand that it is because we Singaporeans are very responsible people, that’s why we work hard to achieve financial security for our family, and so we end up working too hard? So stop blaming us.
The Baby Bonus given by the PAP government is okay. It very recently got better, just a bit, but it can never keep up with runaway inflation and the rising cost of living. We can’t keep throwing money at problems. There is a need for structural reforms in housing, childcare and work-life harmony to tackle the problem. Decreasing costs and increasing time for Singaporeans to start their families are the keys to solving the problem.
What I am trying to say is this. It is not us Singaporeans who need to change our mindset, it is the PAP government that needs to change its mindset!
The government should start solving the structural causes of the problems we face.
I don’t want my son to grow up in a Singapore where he has to work 12 hours a day just to have enough to retire and have no time and no money to fall in love, marry and start a family. Do you want that for your children?
Let me finish by telling you how I see Li Lian this by-election.
Some of my friends challenged me, “Li Lian has not been seen in Punggol East since GE2011, can the residents trust her to serve them?”
This is what I said, Li Lian went to train under Kung Fu Pritam.
She is now much more powerful and has returned to fight for the people of the Valley of Punggol East.
Li Lian is a young woman who understands the problems of starting and raising a family.
She is one of us.
She has an amazing sense of dedication because she is willing to stand up to fight for us.
She is one of the young leaders in the Workers’ Party who inspired me to join the Party to work for the Singapore we want.
We are here to fight for the Singapore we all deserve!
Residents and friends of Punggol East, I am proud to be your neighbour.
And I am envious, because you had the chance to vote for the Workers’ Party in GE2011, and you have another chance now!
Please cast your vote wisely.
Don’t vote for status quo because it is not good enough for us.
Vote for our future, vote for your children’s future, vote for the Workers’ Party, vote for Lee Li Lian!
1月26日, 请大家 – 榜鹅区的选民和别区的朋友帮忙宣传，
Good evening, supporters from Punggol East and other parts of Singapore!
Thank you once again for making your way here.
It’s a weekday. It’s not easy. Many of us are feeling tired after work.
Some of us have not eaten. Workers’ Party appreciates all your years of support. Thank you so much!
Since I recited a Teochew poem which I recited in GE2011, let me continue with another story from 2011. This story is not from me. This story is taken from somebody we contested against.
A story was told by our current Transport Minister Mr Lui Tuck Yew.
Let us recall:
He shared about a village that was sheltered by SPECIAL TALL TREES.
The villagers were tempted by mushrooms which sprouted only every 5 years
The WISE OLD MAN said, these wild mushrooms will
STUNT our growth, and
RETARD our development.
Leave them alone, protect the trees, these trees are special trees’.”
The villagers invested much time to help the special trees grow.
And the fruit has to be taken care of and villagers have done that to allow it to specially ripen. And so,
the village is prosperous,
the trees are well-loved
and the future is bright.
Rounding up his story, Mr Lui said The Wise Man’s final word of warning was, “Protect the trees, avoid the mushrooms”. “PROTECT the trees, AVOID the mushrooms”. In his speech, Mr Lui was referring to PAP as the SPECIAL TALL TREES and the opposition parties to be the mushrooms.
Don’t you think it was an interesting illustration?
Let’s consider the 3 points he highlighted:
1) The village is prosperous
2) The trees are well-loved
3) The future is bright
1) The village has been prosperous.
From 2007 to 2012, Singapore GDP Growth Rate averaged 5.17. We enjoy a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries.
BUT it has been prosperous at what cost? The prosperity did not come easily. It came with many price tags. Increase in mental health illnesses. Increase in stress level. And there was a report by CNN. I’ll let us decide if we can be proud of this. CNN reported in 2007, a list of cities in 32 countries was studied for the rate of walking. How fast people walk in Singapore? How well do you think we ranked? What was our position? Make a guess.
Singapore was ranked NUMBER ONE for the world’s fastest walkers.
Was that good news? It was reported that because of our infrastructure that was very well built, there was no obstacles and hence, people could walk faster. If you have a choice, would you prefer to walk leisurely or walk very fast? Most of us would prefer to walk leisurely. Relaxed.
The pace of life in Singapore is very fast, very rushed and very harsh.
Do we enjoy this pace of living?
Our MP Mr Faisal had brought up in The Parliament about work-life balance issues. Life is so rushed here. There’s no time to talk about work-life balance or even to think about it.
2) The trees have been well-loved too
If the trees referred to the PAP, then in GE 2011, it did seem that they were well-loved. PAP won 81 out of the 87 elected seats in The Parliament. Would you continue loving them? The Tall Trees seem to have heard the ground during election time. Would you continue to love them? Or would you like to love Lee Li Lian? So, vote her into The Parliament on 26 January.
Selamat malam, pengundi pengundi Punggol East. Malam ini, saya mengucapkan terimah kasih banyak banyak sebab pengundi pengundi hadir ke rally ini.
Dear voters of Punggol East, dear Singaporeans. Thank you for coming tonight.
Yesterday, Dr Koh of the PAP said he initially rejected the Prime Minister when he was asked to be their candidate for Punggol East. Dr Koh said, and I quote “I don’t want to do populist politics. I want to do real work.” Unquote.
Dr Koh, if you want to do real work, join the Workers’ Party! Lee Li Lian joined WP in 2006 as a volunteer. Through hard work, she worked her way up into the Central Executive Committee and held various posts such as Assistant Treasurer, Youth Wing President and Deputy Webmaster. She worked as legislative assistant in the Eunos Division of Aljunied. She was not parachuted into Punggol East. She campaigned here in 2011. She is doing a lot of real work, Dr Koh!
Yesterday, our chairman, Ms Sylvia Lim shared about what happened when we took over the Aljunied Town Council. There are some contracts that seem to be designed to trip up any opposition party that dares to take over a PAP territory. When the PAP candidate wins, he will have the grassroots organisation paid for by the government to work for him. He will have unrestricted access to community facilities. He can continue with all the contracts of third parties with the Town Council, including for the Town Council Software Management System. No one will threaten to terminate his contract, just because he has won.
Dr Koh will be on a travolator, assisted in his journey by the system. But not for WP. We will be on an inclined threadmill. We have to work a lot harder to do real work. But we will do it because the type of politics that the PAP has put in place in our beloved country cannot be allowed. The Workers’ Party is willing to do real work for you. Lee Li Lian is willing to work for you.
Today, I want to talk about education. Many of you have school-going children. It is an important subject because it affects our future. Children are the future of our country.
We have made many proposals on education in The Workers’ Party manifesto. The WP MPs and I have also raised many issues relating to education in parliament.
Education has been a way to enable people to climb up the social ladder, and many have done so in the past.
Today, a bright and hardworking person can still move up socially by doing well in school and progress onto a good career. However, over the years schools had been ranked and branded to create schools of different class status. Systems are created to sort students through various pressurising high stake examinations. This has created an elitist system that has made it harder for those with lower income to climb up.
It also resulted in a culture where parents resort to extensive tuition for their children. Five years ago, Sunday Times reported that 97 out of 100 children surveyed had tuition. Today, the situation is just as bad. We even have people trying hard to get their children into the Gifted Education Programme, or GEP through tuition. You may recall the scandal last year when a tutor faked his credentials and fooled many parents into paying a lot to him to train their children for the GEP.
Mr Lee Kuan Yew observed two years ago that more than half the students at top schools had fathers who were university graduates. On the other hand, he noted from data he had that less than 13.1 per cent of students in neighbourhood schools had university graduate fathers.
Mr Lee also said that admission into primary school is not meritocratic, as it is based on the social class of the parents. Two months ago, we were told that 60% of students in 6 top primary schools live in private houses.
While MOE may want all schools to be good schools, their policies divide people into social classes. From the Primary 1 enrolment policy to the way schools are structured, MOE has created various categories of schools and sort students very finely into each of these types of schools. The latest is secondary schools just for normal technical students.
I fear this will lead to a greater divide of social classes. A survey by the Straits Times last year found that the majority of students in top schools do not have close friends who live in small HDB flats, nor friends in the Normal Stream, nor friends of other races. If they move on to become leaders in our country, how do they empathise with the people at the lower rungs of society or with people of other races?
The Workers’ Party wants to see policies that will develop our children well and will provide equal opportunities for all. Some of the issues we have raised include:
- bilingual education;
- preschool education;
- better support for special needs in mainstream schools and for special education schools;
- reviewing centralised gifted education and DSA from GEP into top secondary schools;
- reducing class size for more effective teaching;
- and more support in local universities for Singaporeans.
I also made an alternative proposal for pilot schools that provide through-train from primary through secondary. These schools can develop children holistically without the distraction of a high stake PSLE sorting examination at the tender age of 12. I believe this is workable as other countries with such system have done well in international benchmark as well. It will put more emphasis back to nurturing students rather than to prepare them from one sorting examination to another.
I have also probed into how much our government spends on foreign scholarship. This is not because I am anti-foreign scholars, but because I feel we are spending too much with questionable returns. Through a series of parliament questions, I figured the government gives out more than 2,000 new scholarships to international students each year. As each scholarship is valid for 4 years, there would be over 8,000 international scholars in Singapore. I worked out that it cost our government at least $144 million each year. This figure excludes the scholarships given by Government Linked Companies, which MOE is unable to provide data for, and other allowances which may not be included in the answers.
We were also told that a third of the scholars did not achieve at least a 2nd upper honours, the usual standard expected of scholars. When asked in parliament, the Minister said that MOE has strict criteria for scholarship renewal, which include achieving consistent academic performance throughout. Yet from the results achieved by the scholars, MOE does not appear to be strict in enforcing this. The Workers’ Party has spoken out on this.
Dear Voters of Punggol East, the Workers’ Party will use parliament processes to scrutinize the government to make them accountable to the people.
We will also contribute in other ways as long it it is pro-Singapore. Some of the WP MPs have been invited to contribute ideas for policy input or to sit on committees. Last year, I accepted an invitation to be on the ACE committee which looks after entrepreneurship development in Singapore. Every month, we look at proposals from aspiring new entrepreneurs to determine the type of support we can give. On my own, I share freely in talks on this topic in education institutions and with new entrepreneurs. I believe this can be my little contribution towards developing the business startup scene in Singapore.
At the same time, I have also spoken out against policies that have caused industrial rents to become so high and against government linked companies and large cooperatives crowding out SMEs. These are hurting the development of entrepreneurs.
I know Li Lian and her views. I have confidence she will play the role of a constructive, responsible and rational opposition when you elect her as your MP.
Finally, I like to address two groups of people today. The first is the 41% who voted for Li Lian in 2011. Thank you for placing your faith in her. Li Lian has returned, with 2 years of solid experience in Aljunied behind her. She is now more experienced to serve you better. Continue to place your faith in her.
The second are those who did not vote for Li Lian. Perhaps you were uncertain if The Workers’ Party could manage your town council. You can see that we have handled Aljunied and Hougang well. Or perhaps you were afraid that the government may be suddenly changed. This is a By-Election. The PAP is already the government.
You now have the chance to tell the PAP that you are still unhappy. You want a Singapore that’s fairer and kinder to you. Stay firm in your resolve to vote for change. Stay firm in your resolve to tell the PAP that their brand of politics must be taken down. Vote for change. Vote the Workers’ Party. Vote for Lee Li Lian!