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East Coast GRC: PAP reassures residents of jobs while WP urges “urgent structural reform”

WP emphasised the need for universities to "widen access to students from underprivileged backgrounds" while the PAP promised to do their best to keep Singaporeans "in their jobs"

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Singapore — The People’s Action Party () and the Workers’ Party (WP) delivered their constituency political broadcasts for East Coast GRC on July 4, Saturday. They outlined their respective plans for the upcoming General Elections on July 10.

PAP is led by assistant secretary-general Heng Swee Keat, who left Tampines GRC to lead the incumbent PAP team for East Coast GRC. He is joined by Mr Maliki Osman, Jessica Tan, former Fengshan Single Member Constituency (SC) Ms Cheryl Chan, and new candidate former chief executive of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) Tan Kiat How.

In the 2015 General Elections, the PAP won 60.7 per cent of the vote in the East Coast GRC.

Represented in the WP is the former candidate in Marine Parade GRC under National Solidarity Party in the 2011 GE Ms , Mr Dylan Ng, Mr Kenneth Foo, Mr Terrence Tan and new candidate Mr Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim.

PAP promises: Take care of your needs, especially in this difficult time

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Mr Heng started off by emphasising that what unites the citizens of East Coast is the “East Coast spirit of care” and the “pride in our culture and heritage”.

He recalled what the former incumbents have done such as revitalising Bedok Town Centre, built the Bedok Nature Way, and many new HDB flats.

“This will allow residents to enjoy nature and our young families to live near their parents. Residents can also look forward to future developments, such as the Thomson-East Coast MRT line, the Bayshore housing precinct, and the Coastal Adventure Corridor.”

He assured East Coast residents that “once elected, the PAP team at East Coast, and the PAP government, will continue to work hard to see us through the crisis.”

He promised to do his best to “keep you in jobs, find you new ones, and support you to bounce back stronger.” He also adds that they will “continue to strengthen our connectivity so that our businesses and our people have opportunities on the global stage.”

Ms Chan talked about how “East Coast and Fengshan share the same vision of building a caring and inclusive community.” She recommended partnering with “youths to implement programmes on the ground” and plans to focus on two areas, “first to create opportunities for our young adults to pay it forward in society, second, to enhance their career prospects and personal development.”

She also assured young people that the PAP is committed to creating more job opportunities, traineeships and courses for them, but said they must be flexible and explore their options widely.

Mr Tan talked about hoping for the seniors to “remain healthy for as long as possible” and how many are “worried about healthcare costs”. He states that they will “enhance” programmes to benefit the elderly on top of what they have already done such as befriending services to exercise classes at Heartbeat.

“We will help you pick up digital skills so that you can better connect with your loved ones. In short, your golden years will be rewarding,” he said.

Ms Tan’s talk addressed mid-career workers and how they have programmes to support them such as “Getting Employer Matters” or “GEM@East Coast GRC” to “enable our residents to get employment support as well as to connect to jobs.”

More programmes such as the HIP for flats in Simei, Neighbourhood Renewal Programme at Bedok and Estate Upgrading in the estates of Limau, Upper Changi and SeaBreeze were also mentioned to meet the residents “evolving needs”.

Mr Maliki spoke about how he has developed many social support programmes to help those in need, and about improving transport connectivity in the area.

“Caring for your well-being and addressing your concerns have been the cornerstone of our service to you,” he said.

“Over the years, we make it a point to know you in person, to care for you, to understand your needs, to improve the physical environment and to develop social programmes to meet your needs.”

WP: Call for “Urgent structural reform” 

WP Nicole Seah said that “people are our priority and we must never lose sight of that.” She said that there is a need to “prevent brain drain of bright Singaporeans who seek jobs in other countries due to the lack of opportunities here.”

WP proposed that universities need to “widen access to students from underprivileged backgrounds” and that schools also need to “provide mentorship and work placement opportunities” as it will be “critical for us to remain globally competitive in the workforce”.

She mentions that “more could have been done to ensure that the money went into the hands of working-class Singaporeans” during this Covid-19 pandemic.

She urged that the WP raised questions in Parliament to “make sure that your voice was heard” and that “a vote for Workers’ Party is a vote for fairness and balance.”

“The voters of East Coast GRC have recognised that the Workers’ Party is a sensible and reasonable opposition, that does not oppose for the sake of opposing.”

Mr Foo talks about how a stronger opposition presence in parliament will allow for more constructive and robust engagement and “lead to better outcomes for our families and children”.

He also stated how even though Singapore is already deep in recession, it was “already at an inflexion point prior to Covid”.

“While our GDP was 0.7 per cent, our per capita GDP was S$88,991, Covid had made it clear that our businesses and households have not accumulated sufficient reserves so as to weather this current storm.”

“Scratch beyond GDP figures, and one will see that household debt was 64 per cent to GDP. A recent OCBC survey, this year, has stated that seven out of 10 Singaporeans will  have insufficient reserves to cover their overheads for any more than six months, if their incomes are lost.”

He also mentioned how SME business owners are hoping for rentals to be reduced “after this election” and also urges the government to “consider additional employment allowances for every worker that a company keeps employed beyond what it has already promised.”

He also urged the government to “urgently consider cash grants to Singaporeans who have lost their jobs to help make ends meet as they struggle to find re-employment.” -/TISG

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