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GE quick takes: WP will look into Raeesah Khan's comments; Peoples Voice unveils manifesto
SINGAPORE will go to the polls this Friday in an election that will see 93 seats in 31 constituencies up for contest.
Here is Tuesday's round-up of stories about the General Election:
Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam outlined the People's Action Party's (PAP) strategies for building a more inclusive society in a speech on Tuesday, highlighting that the Covid-19 pandemic makes inclusivity a more important issue. "With slow growth that's going to come out of Covid, it's going to lead to greater tensions between people and we must avoid that. We've got to build a society with a stronger social compact," he added.
The Workers' Party (WP) will conduct a review into the Facebook posts made by Sengkang candidate Raeesah Khan, but it does not want to prejudice ongoing police investigations, said WP chief Pritam Singh. Asked about a call from the PAP for the WP to make its stand clear on the candidate, Mr Singh said the party would explain further at the right time. Ms Khan had apologised on Sunday, saying she did not mean to cause social division with her remarks but had wanted to raise awareness about the concerns of minorities.
The WP has put forth seven proposals to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, in response to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's remarks at his online Fullerton rally on Monday. Among them, WP is calling for vaccinations to be given to all residents and the setting up of more domestic production capabilities for critical items to ensure Singapore has an adequate supply that is not subject to external disruption.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong once more stressed the need for a strong mandate and a good government to lead Singapore through the Covid-19 crisis, pledging that he and other older ministers will see this through with the fourth generation or 4G leadership. "This is what this election is about - whom do you trust to get you through the very difficult times ahead," he said on Monday.
The Peoples Voice party outlined five key priorities in its manifesto released on Monday. It wants to prioritise Singaporeans in employment policies, review the Central Provident Fund scheme, reform immigration policies, tackle the high cost of living and doing business in Singapore, and improve accountability and transparency in the government.
Liang Eng Hwa, the PAP candidate standing in the single seat of Bukit Panjang, has promised to focus on manpower issues and help review Singapore's reliance on foreign labour if elected. His other priorities include institutionalising flexible work arrangements, improving health insurance plans for locals, and pushing for the wider use of electric vehicles.
While some appreciate virtual forms of outreach, political contenders The Business Times spoke to lamented the absence of an "electrifying atmosphere" and a platform to bring Singaporeans from all walks of life together. WP chairperson Sylvia Lim said Singaporeans have told her they find this general election "eerily quiet".
For more of our Singapore GE2020 coverage, go to bt.sg/ge2020.