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FORMER Potong Pasir Member of Parliament Chiam See Tong was the one who spearheaded the lift upgrading programme in the ward. So the credit should go to him instead of to the People's Action Party's (PAP) Sitoh Yih Pin, said his wife Lina Chiam on Tuesday night.
Addressing the crowd in Potong Pasir, Mrs Chiam said Mr Sitoh was able to install new lifts in the area in a short period of time because Mr Chiam and she had laid the groundwork for two years before the incumbent PAP candidate took over the ward.
"How can new lifts be installed so fast in three months? . . . It must have taken a genie to do that, to plant the lifts (in the ward)," she said.
Mrs Chiam, the Singapore People's Party (SPP) chairman, is mounting a second bid to reclaim the ward held by Mr Chiam for 27 years until 2011. She lost to Mr Sitoh by just 114 votes in the 2011 General Election.
She told voters that ongoing upgrading works will continue even if they vote for her because contractors are contractually bound to do so. Thus, residents get the best of both worlds.
Touching on a fund of some S$60,000 set up by Mr Chiam when he was MP, Mrs Chiam said she plans to use the money - which she acknowledged was not much compared to what the ruling PAP can offer - to help the needy and elderly in areas of medical treatment and education.
During the rally, SPP teammates rallied behind Mrs Chiam, describing her as dedicated and brave.
Her daughter, Camilla Chiam, said in Mandarin that the SPP had managed to use its limited resources to maintain and improve amenities in the ward so residents did not have to co-pay for the upgrading of the 29 lifts in flats on Toa Payoh Lorong 8.
The party's candidate for Mountbatten SMC (single-member constituency), Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss, said Mrs Chiam is proof of "how an ordinary person can do extraordinary things".
Mrs Chiam was not selected after rounds of interviews, is no scholar and has no military rank title, she said, adding that Mrs Chiam was a homemaker until she became a Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) in 2011.
But the NCMP represented Potong Pasir residents more than the elected Mr Sitoh, having spoken 83 times in Parliament - the second highest number and much more than the 39 times the incumbent spoke, she said.
Mrs Chiam was also the one who raised concerns in August about lapses at several grassroots organisations (GROs) under the People's Association (PA) that were flagged in the Auditor-General's Office's (AGO) report, noted Mrs Chong-Aruldoss.
"She shows that a homemaker can do better than handsomely paid ministers," she added.
Referring to the barbs traded by other parties over town council issues, Mrs Chong-Aruldoss said Mrs Chiam also "carries the torch of decorum and respectful politics" like Mr Chiam had, and had "stayed above the fray".
Weighing in as the last speaker of the rally, Mr Chiam said: "Do you know why I support Lina? She is courageous. She has asked difficult questions in Parliament which other MPs refuse to ask. Can you imagine all the difficult questions that we will have ministers ask - would they ask it?"