Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was the key speaker in the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) rally last night (5 May) at Bukit Batok. He spoke at length in support of Murali Pillai, PAP’s candidate.
Tharman, however was highly critical of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and especially its secretary-general, Dr Chee Soon Juan. Dr Chee is the SDP’s candidate for the Bukit Batok contest.
1. SDP advocates alarmist and populist politics
Mr Tharman said that he is not against opposition political parties and thinks that opposition is good for Singapore. (Not sure if the opposition political parties needed his acceptance and approval.) But he said that Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) politics are bad for Singapore because they are alarmist and populist.
2. Chee does not understand CPF or manpower policies
Tharman highlights Chee Soon Juan’s recent comments on CPF and manpower policies. He said that either Chee don’t know the policies well enough – if not, he was willfully spreading fear and alarm. “Bad, bad politics,” he said. (Can’t recall Tharman saying anything when Denise Phua became alarmist and asked for communal areas in Little India to be fenced off recently.)
3. SDP does not come clean on their healthcare policy
Tharman talks about SDP’s healthcare policy and said that the opposition party promises universal healthcare and free medical care, but don’t talk about the costs involved with their policy.
The SDP policy actually advocates setting up a National Health Investment Fund (NHIF) into which individual’s make compulsory contributions from one’s CPF. The amount will average $427 per year per person (or $40 a month) depending on one’s level of income. (link: http://bit.ly/1T0SyzX)
4. Cannot avoid taking cheap shot
Towards the end of his Speech in saying that he did not want to finish it with soaring rhetoric as it was not his or Murali’s style, Tharman could not avoid taking a cheap shot at SDP (PAP style?). He said that he had borrowed the tele-prompter from SDP.
5. Urges Chee to reflect and change if he loses
Tharman acknowledged that the PAP faces a tough fight in Bukit Batok, and said that he will congratulate SDP if it wins. but if it loses, he urged Chee to reflect and change. (The only thing is, people have also been asking the PAP to reflect and change for ages.)
At the rally Tharman said that he is willing to debate with the SDP regarding their policy proposals. But it seems that he does not want to debate with them in Parliament. He also did not say where, when or how the debate can happen.
The voters in the constituency go to the polls on 7 May 2016 (Saturday)