Straits Times: ‘Not true opposition active only at polls’

Workers’ Party rallies

AT A Workers’ Party rally at Depot Road, Mr A.L. Sundram, the party’s candidate for Kallang, rejected the Government’s charge that the Opposition was active only at elections.

He claimed that opposition politicians had sent hundreds of letters to the newspapers but none had been published.

In a leaflet distributed at the rally, the party made the following election promises:

• IT WOULD cut ‘C’ class ward charges to $5 a day including food.

• INCOME tax allowances would be raised – to $5,000 for singles and $7,000 for couples.

• FREE education would be given to children whose families earn $1,000 per month and below.

• SALE prices, rentals and conservancy charges for HDB properties would be frozen at present rates until a review was made to cut them.

• COMPENSATION would be given to workers on termination of employment other than for misconduct.

• CHIA Thye Poh and other political detainees would be released.

At a rally in Teck Whye, the secretary-general of the Workers’ Party, Mr J.B. Jeyaretnam, demanded to know what would happen to the HDB conservancy contracts after town councils took over.

He said such duties of town councils as collection of refuse and maintenance of lifts and cleanliness were contracted out to contractors on a yearly or two-yearly basis.

He asked whether, if the PAP lost Eunos, the HDB would break its contracts with the contractors. If that happened, “the contractors will sue HDB for breach of contract and we will be behind the contractors,” he said.

At a rally in Dover Road, lawyer Wee Han Kim, a candidate for the Pasir Panjang GRC, said the Government “has pretended to be deaf” as it still had not replied to his repeated calls to release full details of the value of Singapore’s national reserves after they were invested or used to fund the Mass Rapid Transit system.

He said town council funds were only enough to maintain the housing estates, leaving little money for improvements. He was echoing the view of some PAP MPs involved in the pilot Ang Mo Kio Town Council project.

He said that although the Government would set up a fund for improvements, he supposed that only the so-called “good boys” could apply.

Mr Gopalan Nair, a lawyer standing in Tiong Bahru GRC, said the WP’s failure to get its contractor to set up a rally stage in Hougang on Tuesday night was a small mistake compared to those of the PAP such as the “Stop at two” population policy.

Straits Times: ‘Opposition not playing hide and seek politics’

Workers’ Party rallies

WORKERS’ Party candidate Wee Han Kim said last night that the Opposition was quite prepared to be scrutinised and was not playing “hide-and-seek politics”.

Mr Wee, who is contesting in the Pasir Panjang GRC, said that if the PAP did not want the Opposition to take cover and “come out like a commando unit” – as the WP did on Nomination Day – it should “free the system” and abolish the Internal Security Act.

“Make sure also that political opponents do not suffer in their trade, professions and businesses and then you will see a lot of Opposition candidates coming out,” he said at a Jalan Besar rally.

Criticising the PAP’s cadre system of membership, he said everyone’s political affiliations ought to be made known and declared.

He also urged “the middle class” in Singapore to wake up to the fact that “the ground has shifted” and to vote for the Opposition.

Another WP candidate, Mr Toh Keng Thong, contesting in Jalan Besar GRC, said he would look into the plight of the lower-income earners if elected. Describing himself as a former long-time resident of the area, he cited reductions in taxes on essential goods.

At another rally at Leng Kee, Mr Gopalan Nair, candidate in Tiong Bahru GRC, challenged the PAP’s view that Singapore had democracy just because elections were held every four years.

He said there were other vital democratic institutions like free trade unions and a free press.

Also speaking at the rally in Cantonese was Dr Lee Siew Choh, candidate in Eunos GRC, who explained why he needed nine instalments to pay $45,000 in damages and costs to Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Claiming that he was not a rich man, he said even the Government made payments for its public projects in instalments.

Referring to his 1973 damages of $50,000, which he had to pay the Mr Lee, also for defamation, he said: “Taken together, what I had earned I had to give to Mr Lee Kuan Yew. So I do not have much money left to repay him this time round.”

At a rally at Bukit Merah Central, businessman Pok Lee Chuen, candidate for Bukit Merah, said voters should not judge Opposition candidates by the same standards as PAP candidates.

Speaking in Mandarin, he said the PAP has been in power for a long time. If people were to judge Opposition candidates by the same standards, they will not make it to Parliament.