THE Workers' Party (WP) on Friday tried to put an end to the verbal sparring over the town council issue that has hogged headlines so far, and sought instead to focus attention on its role as a check against a one-party government.
Party secretary-general Low Thia Khiang said in a rally that the party does not want to "go round in circles" with the People's Action Party (PAP).
The town council's latest audited financial statements has been made public on the web, and Singaporeans can take a look for themselves, he said.
"This election, what WP wants to talk about is the country's future," he said in Mandarin. "Remember, your vote and your future after that is inextricably linked. You need to use your vote well so that there is a greater balance in Parliament, so as to prevent the government from taking the wrong path in policies."
Earlier in the day, party chairman Sylvia Lim had also told reporters that WP would not speak on the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) issue anymore.
"There is a sentiment that voters have expressed . . . that this election really should be focusing on national issues. And this issue on town council lapses versus People's Association lapses - if people keep going on and on about it, it could sound like a broken record," she said.
Asked to comment on the rebuttal by the Ministry of National Development in response to her rally speech on Wednesday - when she sought to debunk what she said were "myths" about the WP-run town council - Ms Lim, who is also chairman of AHPETC, said: "I'm just appalled that the ministry is asking us to confirm a New Paper report which has a lot of inaccuracies."
The New Paper had reported that the AHPETC's former managing agent FM Solutions & Services (FMSS) had filed a letter of demand over a S$3.5 million payment allegedly due from the town council. The AHPETC, which runs the Aljunied GRC, Hougang and Punggol East Single-Member Constituencies, had been rapped by the Auditor-General's Office for serious financial lapses earlier this year, and has also been the subject of criticism by the PAP.
At Friday's rally at Yishun stadium, Ms Lim pointed to how the PAP government has made U-turns in three policies over the last few years, in public transport, public housing and in reducing the influx of foreigners.
"The PAP has been trying to convince you that many changes started before 2011. They are afraid that the WP will take credit for the changes," she said. "But we are not taking credit. The credit belongs to you, the voters . . . Your votes forced the PAP to wake up and do something about the big mistakes in policy planning."
PAP MPs cannot act as a check against the government since they are not able to vote against the party, she said.
Referring to comments by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, she said: "A PAP MP may think he roars like a tiger in Parliament. But when it comes to a vote, the PAP is the real mouse in the house - a little white mouse."
Mr Lee had said on Tuesday that it was "very easy" to make rousing speeches at election rallies, but the Opposition had remained quiet in Parliament and did not raise issues. "So, you voted for a tiger in a chamber and you got your mouse in the House," he said, adding that it is the quality of the Opposition that counts, not the quantity.