Friday, 4 September 2015

Chan Chun Sing: The poor don’t need money, the poor need more than money, they need care, they need concern

At PAP's first GE2015 rally, a call to keep Singapore special

At the Sep 2 rally, the People’s Action Party candidates for Tanjong Pagar GRC, led by Cabinet Minister Chan Chun Sing, and Radin Mas SMC touched on healthcare, education, helping seniors and protecting the reserves.
Channel NewsAsia, 2 Sep 2015

At the People’s Action Party (PAP) first rally of this General Election, held in the historic neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru, Cabinet Minister Chan Chun Sing issued a rallying call to keep Singapore "special".

“We want to keep this country special; we are not content to be normal. Other people with big land mass, with huge resources can be normal, but we are determined that even with our finite resources, we will continue to be special," he said on Wednesday (Sep 2) evening at the rally for the Radin Mas Electoral Division, held at Delta Hockey Pitch in Tiong Bahru.

“Never believe people who tell you, ‘we want to make Singapore ordinary. If Singapore is run of the mill, who will come here to invest, who will come here to create jobs? You are right – nobody!” he said.

Mr Chan, the Labour chief and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office who leads the Tanjong Pagar team, asked residents to think about who really cared for them and their families - those who walked the streets quietly every day, and helped them solve their issues big and small - or someone who turns up every four years and says, “vote for us so we can go to Parliament to speak”.


As for helping the poor, Mr Chan, who previously headed the Ministry for Social and Family Development, pledged that the PAP would mobilise the community to take care of one another.

Many think just because you give money you can solve the problem. No. If you have walked the ground and talked to community leaders, you’ll know better. The most disadvantaged in our community need more than money, they need care, they need concern, they don’t need people to make grand speeches,” he said.

"Give everybody S$300? Why not give S$3,000? Isn't that better? But please don't look down on Singaporeans. We are not here to be bribed": Chan Chun Sing on SingFirst's suggestion for the Government to give children and the elderly S$300 monthly. #GE2015
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Wednesday, September 2, 2015

As for those who promise “to use the reserves to do this and that”, Mr Chan said the Government was saving up funds for the future generation. “With our ageing population, we don’t want our young to be burdened with the need to take care of a large ageing population if we have not saved up. This is being responsible, this is about long-term thinking.”

Otherwise, in 2030, he said: “Our young would have to shoulder the burden of all challenges themselves and some might decide they have a better future elsewhere.”

He also acknowledged that PMETs faced many challenges. “Our way of doing things is to make sure our PMETs are the most competitive ones” in the region and beyond, just like how the Government helped blue-collar workers in the 1970s, Mr Chan added.


Mr Chan was one of seven General Election candidates - all five PAP candidates for Tanjong Pagar GRC, Mr Sam Tan, the incumbent at Radin Mas SMC, as well as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong - to speak at the Wednesday rally.

Two first-time candidates, both from Tanjong Pagar GRC, gave their maiden rally speeches.

Mr Melvyn Yong, former assistant police commissioner, said he had spent most of his career working for the country’s security. “We live in a region full of strife. Security issues we will face in the coming years will be more complex and more difficult to manage than before. To me, a united home is a safer home. To guard against such threats to our society, we must have a strong team and a united people,” he said.

During his walkabouts in Moulmein, he said he had spoken to many residents.

“Residents value safety and security as fundamental to their neighbourhoods and lives,” he said, citing how merchants and residents in Tekka told him they were happy with control measures to help manage the crowds on weekends.

Some also gave "valuable feedback" on how to improve security, and this would be looked into after the elections, said Mr Yong.

As for the constituency’s senior residents, especially those living alone, he said his “first priority” would be to ensure that they remain safe, healthy and engaged.

Social worker Joan Pereira spoke in Mandarin and English. She recounted how she had helped conduct activities for seniors in Tanjong Pagar in 2008. “Tanjong Pagar has become my second home,” she said, adding that she hoped to organise more activities to ensure the elderly enjoy their retirement.


Incumbent candidate Dr Chia Shi-Lu spoke next. The medical doctor said that Singapore was one of the healthiest countries in the world.

“But why is it that many of us are still concerned about healthcare costs?” he said, adding that he regularly heard this concern from patients and residents.

“There are many out there who want to bluff you, who come and say, ‘we can make healthcare better, for free, cheaper’. But is it true?” he said. “Even in countries where healthcare is free, you ask the people who live there – they are still worried about healthcare costs because there is a ‘while stocks last’ clause.”

For instance if you have cancer, treatment may be free, but you might have to “wait for next year or even the year after”. Things are not always what they seem, Dr Chia said, but “the PAP Government – what they say, they do”.

He added: “I can tell you as a doctor for many years in government service, we never had to turn away anyone because he or she could not pay the medical bills. And now with the Pioneer Generation Package, no need to worry.” He also cited the latest Medisave package that covers all newborns up to age 21.

But more could still be done, Dr Chia said, for those who have left the hospitals but with disabilities, as well as for caregivers. “Vote for us and we will be able to do more for you and for your families,” he said.


Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Education and Law and also a candidate for Tanjong Pagar GRC, spoke in Cantonese and English.

Touching on the school system, she said: “Every principal is reminded when they are appointed that the future of the nation passes through their hands. So when anybody tells you that Singaporeans are not the centre of us (the Government), that is not true.”

The education system, for instance, makes sure that “from the early stages, pre-school, our students get a good start. We will increase the number of childcare places to ensure parents have peace of mind when they are working. We make sure every school is a good school so your child can get a good education. We also make sure that it’s a holistic education” with multiple ways to success, she said.

The promise of the PAP, she added, was that citizens would “always have opportunities, always be cared for”, and that everyone would be able to progress no matter their starting point.


Mr Sam Tan, who is defending his seat in Radin Mas Single Member Constituency, addressed the crowd in Hokkien and Mandarin.

He talked about how Singapore had created “miracles” in its first 50 years, but it could not rest on its laurels.

“We have seen many countries become successful after World War Two, but could not last beyond the next generation of leaders,” he said in Mandarin, calling on residents to strongly support the PAP.

Speeches were also delivered in Tamil by third-year university student Sukaasini Latchumanan and in Malay by former Senior Minister of State Sidek Saniff.

No comments:

Post a Comment