Saturday, 12 September 2015

‘High overlap’ between Opposition proposals and PAP policies: DPM Tharman

By Joy Fang, TODAY, 12 Sep 2015

Strip away the Opposition’s rhetoric, and you will find there is “high overlap” between what they are suggesting and what the People’s Action Party (PAP) already has been implementing or plan to do, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam this morning.

He was responding to a question on whether the 79.28 per cent of votes his five-man team in Jurong Group Representation Constituency had won — the largest margin by a PAP team — was due to his popularity or other factors.

“I don’t read into the fine differences between the different constituencies as much as the very large swing (for PAP) we have seen across the country,” he said.

“One way of thinking about the confidence that Singaporeans have expressed in the direction we are taking is the fact that if you look at the Opposition proposals … strip out some of the outliers, and strip out some of the strength of the language used in rallies, there is a very high overlap between what they were saying and what we are already doing and what we are going to do in the future as part of the PAP government’s agenda.”

Whether it is in areas of foreign worker policy, education, social security or uplifting the poor, the Opposition parties were saying things that the PAP is doing, with some saying it should do more, “but basically it’s the same agenda”, he noted.

The PAP has formed an agenda which reflects the consensus among the broad base of Singaporeans, and people have confidence in that agenda, he said. Beyond that, the people also have confidence in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his team and view them as people who can be seen as trustees and stewards, he added.

“That too is important in the elections. It’s not just the policies, it is who you see as a trustee and a steward, going forward. I think this combination of factors accounts for quite a good swing in favour of the PAP, which we take in the spirit of let’s work hard to put in place what we said we are going to do. Let’s put full effort into this.”

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