TODAY: MP: What exactly is your vision, Ms Sylvia Lim?

IS IT ENOUGH to want to act as a check on the Government?

This was the poser given by People’s Action Party (PAP) MP Irene Ng last night when asked for her views on opposition leader Sylvia Lim.

Speaking at a dialogue with young women, Ms Ng suggested that the Workers’ Party chairman lacked a clear stand on issues.

“I’ve not engaged (Ms Lim) before in any discussions, so I’m not sure about her stand on issues, but from what I read in TODAY, her position is that she wants to be a check on the Government,” said Ms Ng.

“But it strikes me that if you want to be elected by the people, you must want to have programmes that you can implement for them and a vision of Singapore that is better than what is present today.”

“I don’t get a sense of what her stand is on issues. Does she want to see more young women step forward in politics? Because for me, as a woman MP, I see that as one of my important roles.

“I don’t hear from her any concrete programmes, ideas or issues that she wants to raise other than that she wants to be a check on the Government. And that’s up to the people to vote, and I hope the voters will choose wisely.”

When contacted, Ms Lim was unruffled by the comments and said: “The Workers’ Party vision is in our manifesto and I stand by that. We are still waiting for the PAP’s manifesto.”

The dialogue last night was organised by the National Youth Achievement Award as part of a leadership for women series.

The 70 participants, mostly female undergraduates, were mostly in consensus that there should be more women in Parliament. Currently, there are 10 elected female MPs and three female Nominated MPs.

One participant, however, sparked a mini-debate when she described the present situation as fine and that it was a choice Singapore women are making. She added that men are more pragmatic while women are more emotional.

As others responded, pointing out that the stereotype did not mean women are weak, the general sentiment emerged that disengagement is a feature in Singapore society, and that political education in schools does not imbue people with a sense that they have a role.

Commenting on the doubts over women’s role in politics, Ms Ng said: “I think it’s a fair question. It reflects the question in the minds of some people in the public – and the point is that we do (make a difference) because we reflect the views of 50 per cent of the population.” – CHEOW XIN YI

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