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SINGAPORE GENERAL ELECTION

Govt listening, open to changing its policies: PAP's Lim Biow Chuan

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - 05:50
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Mr Lim (above) outlined the changes that he has helped to bring about over the last few years as the MP for Mountbatten, in areas such as education and transport.

Singapore

PEOPLE'S Action Party (PAP) incumbent Lim Biow Chuan, who is battling for the Mountbatten single member constituency (SMC), said the government is listening and is open to changing policies, especially when it comes to helping the disadvantaged.

At a rally on Tuesday night at Stadium Drive, Mr Lim said that, if re-elected, he will push for improvements in transport and in employment opportunities for PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians), as well as continue to raise concerns about the rising cost of living.

He also stressed that he is in a better position to effect change in government policies as a PAP Member of Parliament (MP), compared to the opposition.

Mr Lim started off by highlighting his humble background as the son of fruit-sellers. He said he went on to university and eventually became a lawyer, but also gave back by spending 16 years serving in grassroots organisations.

During his speech, he outlined the changes that he has helped to bring about over the last few years as the MP for Mountbatten, in areas such as education - for example, by pushing for more support for students with learning disabilities - and transport, with more punctual bus services as well as better road and pedestrian infrastructure. In addition, Mr Lim said he has raised his concerns about the rising cost of living and the cost of healthcare, pressing the government to give GST vouchers to the elderly who are cash-poor and asset-rich.

Mr Lim also highlighted that he and other MPs have been able to "gently persuade" the government to adapt policies to help those who are disadvantaged by them, citing the example of singles being able to buy flats directly from the Housing & Development Board.

Touching on hot-button issues such as immigration, Mr Lim noted the immigration flow has been "cut down drastically", with the government fully aware of frustrations facing Singaporeans, such as a competitive job market. This in turn is affecting some businesses, which are now struggling with the tighter foreign worker quotas.

"I ask for patience. We are changing for the better," he said.

On providing individuals earlier access to their Central Provident Fund, he pointed out that the longer life expectancy today vis-a-vis the past would mean that future generations would have to shoulder the financial burden of providing for those who do not have sufficient funds at present.

Mr Lim also hit back at Singapore People's Party Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss's accusation that PAP MPs have to toe the party line.

In a repeat of the 2011 general election, Mr Lim and Ms Chong-Aruldoss - then with the National Solidarity Party - are going head-to-head in the fight for the SMC.

"In my nine years of Parliament, never once have I been asked not to speak my mind," he said.

He went on to point out that Ms Chong-Aruldoss would be subject to the party whip of her own party should she be voted into parliament. With the PAP holding majority of the seats in parliament, Mr Lim stressed he is in a better position to bring about change, adding: "If you want to change a policy, it's far better for you to talk to me. It's easier for me, as a PAP MP, to explain why some policies need to be tweaked or even changed."

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