Following Progress Singapore Party’s (PSP) webinar on 25 June, the latest slate of candidates introduced by Dr Tan Cheng Bock tackled a novel set of questions posed by members of the press. Today’s list of new candidates introduced included Wendy Low, Damien Tay, Kumaran Pillai, Nadarajah Loganathan and Michael Chua.
An interesting question posed to ex- SAF members Mr Loganathan and Mr Chua was how they planned to defend themselves against critics who felt that there were too many military personnel in politics.
Loganathan felt that when military leaders joined public service, it was because they had already reached the apex of their military career which inevitably was a waste of talent due to the lack of progress. It was then, that these leaders would turn to alternative career opportunities that included becoming CEOs or in a more relevant context, joining public service.
Mr Chua supported his point, adding on that with a cabinet that was so heavily made up of military personnel, there was the danger of grifting. However, what sets them apart, he felt, was the fact that both Loganathan and him had experience in both the military and private sector which would bring another level of balance and diversity for PSP.
Another interesting question raised to Mr Tay was how he planned to tackle climate change challenges head-on and what policies they planned to implement to achieve this.
Starting off his response with how PSP had its own “Greta Thunberg” who ensured members would recycle and reuse consistently, he continued on by stating how he had three main macro-level solutions.
Firstly, he would ensure that the carbon tax was increased, sooner rather than later, due to the rising sea levels. He felt that while the implementation of the carbon tax, alongside the SGD$5 billion that was put forward to combat this problem, were already commendable initiatives, more could be done for the environment.
Next, with regards to electric vehicles, while they had a lot of potential, the industry and community required more time to adapt. With him in office, he would ensure that there were more electric cars on the road if the infrastructure allows it.
Finally, he ended off by saying how he planned to champion for more energy-saving infrastructure to be instituted in future BTOs especially through increasing the number of existing solar panels.
Ms Low added on to his answer, stating how the majority of environmental waste is caused by bad design and that ensuring good design would be an intrinsic way of reducing waste as well as recycling existing waste such as textiles.
She then said that her volunteering background in NGOs for the homeless and domestic workers, had made her want to push the Singapore government to do more to help these people.
She spoke about how she aimed to raise awareness on how most of the homeless were actually the working poor as opposed to the general misconception that these people were simply deserted by their families. These people worked low-paying jobs with long hours and therefore felt it more compelling to stay near the city for convenience sake. She hoped to properly revise what was considered a living wage.
On the topic of domestic workers, she mentioned how many workers may not even realise they were being abused and may even be scared to come forward. She hoped for more independent counsellors to check in on such workers so that the levels of abuse would fall and there would be readily accessible help for such workers.
Later on, she delved deeper into how she hoped to improve the relationship between NGOs and the authorities and how she wanted the government to see NGOs as solutions in order for the lives of people to improve.
Amidst the barrage of political questions, Mr Kumaran was then posed an interesting one, on the “lowest period of his life” and how he had managed to come out of it.
He spoke candidly on how at one point in his career after his first business had failed, the banks had been after him and his car had even been repossessed. “Leave no stone unturned” he claims, citing that mentality was what helped him come out of it. Even though many doors were shut in his face, he pushed harder and was eventually rewarded. “It took a lot of time and determination” he claims, attributing those factors to his success today.