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GE quick takes: Final day of campaigning; Ng Chee Meng says community job fairs rolled out
SINGAPORE will go to the polls this Friday in an election that will see all 93 seats in 31 constituencies contested.
Here is Wednesday's round-up of stories about the General Election (GE):
The ruling party's "inability to engage on issues" is opposition candidate Paul Tambyah's "biggest regret" this election. If there's one thing the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chairman could change, he would hold a debate with the incumbent People's Action Party (PAP), Dr Tambyah said during a visit to Bukit Panjang on the final day of a nine-day campaign.
Securing jobs, securing investments and securing Singapore's supply lines are the major challenges in the coming months amid the Covid-19 crisis, said political office-holders from the PAP in a press conference on Wednesday morning. PAP's second assistant secretary-general Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, also said that inconsistent manpower policies will erode confidence in Singapore as a destination for investment.
Community job fairs are among measures rolled out by the government to help tide Singaporeans over challenges thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic. Such fairs have been held in Punggol, Sengkang, Hougang, Jurong and West Coast since this month to allow workers to browse for job opportunities that are as close as 3km from where they live, said labour chief Ng Chee Meng during a press conference held at the PAP headquarters.
Contrary to the "urban myth" that Singapore has failed in its quest to raise productivity, the nation's productivity and median wage have grown by about a third over the last decade, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said. It grew by 2.4 per cent annually for each worker, or by 2.8 per cent per work hour - which is the best measure of productivity - over the last 10 years, translating to a one-third gain, he added.
Voters are being presented a false choice by the ruling PAP because there is no reason the government will not be effective in tackling Covid-19 even if there were elected opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) in Parliament, Workers' Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim said.
Roughly one in four of the candidates, or a total of 23, elected into Parliament in the last GE in 2015 has stepped down to make way for new blood in the latest polls. The oldest among these retiring MPs is 79 and the youngest is 43.
Social media platforms have been abuzz with virtual campaigning efforts as Polling Day draws close, taking the place of physical rallies that were among highlights of past elections in pre-pandemic times. The Business Times looks at how the GE2020 has unfolded in cyberspace.
For more of our Singapore GE2020 coverage, go to bt.sg/ge2020