25th January 2013
SINGAPORE: The Reform Party’s candidate for the Punggol East by-election Kenneth Jeyaretnam has argued for a stronger opposition voice in Parliament and said that he would be “fearless” about demanding transparency from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).
In the final rally just before Cooling-off Day, Mr Jeyaretnam hit out at both the PAP and the Workers’ Party (WP). WP is widely seen as the frontrunner among the three opposition parties in the by-election. Other speakers at the rally also spoke about the need for more than just one dominant opposition voice in Parliament.
Mr Jeyaretnam explained why residents should translate their “curiosity” about him, “disenchantment towards the Workers’ Party” and “anger towards the PAP” into votes for the Reform Party.
“I too have questions but I also have a lot of the answers. If you (let) an economist ask these questions, you will finally see what (the) opposition is good for. Believe me, I can outclass our PM or (DPM and Minister for Finance) Tharman in a debate, any day. Which is why the PAP refuses to (have a) debate with me. Only by sending me into Parliament, will we get proper answers,” he said.
Mr Jeyaretnam also questioned the PAP’s policies, including issues such as immigration and the rising cost of living.
He said that as an economist, he has ready policy alternatives.
Mr Jeyaretnam went on to list the various alternative policies the Reform party has proposed – such as giving Singaporeans free pre-school education, universal health care insurance and a reduced duration for National Service.
“I will be fearless (in) demanding transparency and accountability from the PAP, and follow the trail wherever the answers to my questions might lead. Of course I will (also) play a constructive role in Parliament. That is why we have policy alternatives that are better than the PAP’s… The Reform Party will be pro-Singaporean,” he said.
Mr Jeyaretnam added that despite being a new face in the ward, residents have been friendly towards him.
He had previously said that if he were to be elected, he would be a full time MP and move to Punggol East. He also pledged to set aside 10 per cent of his MP allowance for the community.
Mr Jeyaretnam said that he would be prepping his polling and counting agents on Friday’s Cooling-off Day.