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Seven parties make last push on broadcast media

Their leaders take to TV and radio to ask voters for their vote come Friday

MAKING THEIR PITCH: PM Lee says that the ruling party will always serve the best interests of Singaporeans; Ms Lim says that it doesn't make sense to give a small group of leaders a blank cheque to take the country forward; and Prof Tambyah says that it was time to bring more alternative voices into Parliament.


IT may have been Cooling-off Day on Thursday when campaigning was banned, but Singaporeans still had one more chance to hear from the various political parties during the second round of party political broadcasts.

Seven of the nine parties taking part in the general election (GE) went on national radio and TV to make a final pitch to the 2.46 million voters ahead of Polling Day on Friday.

As has been the practice since 1980, the Media Development Authority allocated prime air-time slots to parties fielding at least six candidates under a recognised party symbol.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, secretary-general of the People's Action Party (PAP), said that the ruling party would always serve the best interests of Singaporeans. "Unlike some opposition parties, we do not write ourselves cheques that our children will have to pay. We do not make empty promises that we cannot fulfil."

The PAP will always stand for clean and honest politics, and take a hard stand against corruption and wrongdoing, he added.

He noted that politics in Singapore was changing and that citizens' views were becoming more diverse. He said that while the PAP welcomed full debates on national issues in Parliament, this would depend on the quality of the MPs, rather than their numbers.

Mr Lee emphasised that he had fielded a strong team of candidates - both experienced and new faces - and urged voters to give them their support. "I believe they will serve you well. Please support me and my PAP candidates, so that we can put together the best possible team for you, to secure your future."

In her speech, Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim said that it was time for Singapore to have a new kind of politics, as it did not make sense to give a small group of "self-selecting and self-checking" leaders a blank cheque to take the country forward into a "murky future".

"We believe that empowering Singaporeans entails a system of government where there are adequate checks and balances without political gridlock," she said. "Parliament must play the crucial role of checking and pushing a powerful executive to make well-balanced policies and laws that protect and advance the people's interests."

She stressed that Singapore was not the PAP and that the country was now a mature and diverse society that was ready for a Parliament with different political voices.

"A balanced Parliament is critical in assisting the government to make sounder judgments about policy trade-offs. A balanced Parliament is critical in getting the ruling party to treat all citizens with decency and respect, including those who disagree. Your vote is your power. The Workers' Party is your credible choice."

Paul Tambyah of the Singapore Democratic Party called on the electorate to support his party, which he described as "competent, constructive and compassionate" with a strong political philosophy.

He said that if voters were unsatisfied with the government's efforts in areas such as education, health care and transport, it was time to bring more alternative voices into Parliament to provide independent checks on the government.

Roy Ngerng, a candidate from the Reform Party, said that Singaporeans deserved a better government that would work harder for the people. "You deserve a government that is fully transparent and accountable to you, and where the power of checks is returned into your hands, its rightful place. In Parliament, the Reform Party will fight tirelessly for these rights on your behalf."

The other speakers on Thursday were Tan Jee Say of Singaporeans First, Lim Tean of the National Solidarity Party and Harminder Pal Singh of the Singapore Democratic Alliance.

The only political party that didn't get air-time was the People's Power Party, which is fielding fewer than six candidates and thus does not qualify for it. The two independent candidates, Han Hui Hui and Samir Salim Neji, did not qualify as well.

The Singapore People's Party, which is contesting eight seats, chose not to use its allotted slot for this second broadcast.

READ MORE: Singapore votes, with 2.46 million at the polls

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