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WP urges voters to imagine a Singapore 'far better than it is now'
IMAGINE a Singapore where diverse voices are listened to, where civil society plays a key role in discussing ideas, and where there is greater press freedom than is indicated by the nation’s current 158th-place ranking on the World Press Freedom Index.
In a final exhortation to voters before Singapore goes to the polls on Friday, the Workers’ Party, while acknowledging the country’s tangible achievements thus far, urged Singaporeans to “imagine a Singapore that is far better than it is now”.
Party chairperson Sylvia Lim, in a pre-recorded broadcast aired on Cooling-Off Day, said: “Even as an opposition party, we give credit to the PAP (People’s Action Party) founders for our physical infrastructure and efficient systems.
“But what about the intangible aspects? Can positive changes happen in Singapore so that we embrace openness to other views, culture and creativity, transparency, kindness, fairness and happiness?”
Ms Lim, who is defending the party’s home turf in Aljunied GRC this election, called on the electorate to imagine a Singapore where power is shifted from the government to the people.
“Imagine a Singapore… where diverse voices are listened to and really heard, and government policies are not pre-decided and bulldozed through,” she said.
She urged Singaporeans to envision the country “where the government accepts opposition parties and others who speak up as Singaporeans who love our country, rather than as nuisances to be fixed”, and where creative professionals are treated with the same respect and protections as in other developed nations.
She also called on Singaporeans to yearn for and dream of a Singapore where, among other things, where there is greater transparency regarding how national reserves are spent, where Singaporeans enjoy the work-life balance practised in other countries, and where promoting fairness and happiness of the people are regarded as the primary goals of the government.
“The PAP would have you believe that having such an open and fair society with press freedom will cripple a government's ability to act quickly and firmly,” she said.
Earlier this week, she had argued that voters are being presented a false choice by the ruling PAP, because there is no reason the government would not be effective in tackling Covid-19 even if there were election opposition MPs in Parliament.
Reiterating that the ruling party has been campaigning on a “false scare tactic”, she pointed out in the broadcast that New Zealand, Denmark, Australia, Finland and South Korea, for example, have “successfully tackled the coronavirus” and are, at the same time, robust democracies where the ruling party changes when an election comes around.
She also noted that they rank among the top 45 states in level of press freedom; Singapore, on the other hand, languishes in the bottom 25.
“These countries enjoy tangible success and yet still embrace intangible ideals. Can’t we visualise a Singapore that has both, too?” she asked.
“(The) Workers’ Party believes that such positive change in Singapore can happen if enough of us work for it… Imagine, envision, yearn for and dream of openness, transparency, kindness and fairness.”
For more of our Singapore GE2020 coverage, go to bt.sg/ge2020