Singapore — On Sunday (June 28), the Progress Singapore Party held a walkabout at the Tanglin Halt Wet Market and Food Centre. Those present included party Secretary-General Tan Cheng Bock and candidates Michael Chua and Abas Kasmani, who are both part of the five-member group set to contest in Tanjong Pagar GRC. Another notable presence at the walkabout was new PSP member Lee Hsien Yang.
During a session with members of the media, Mr Lee, Mr Chua and Dr Tan commented on the problems faced by the opposition with the elections being held now.
Mr Lee referred to extensive reports, as well as an article in The Economist, about how the odds were stacked against the opposition. He also pointed out the six National Broadcasts by PAP ministers on prime-time television recently, and asked: “Were they really about Covid-19?”
Mr Lee expressed his wish that voters would be able to see that the playing field was uneven, and that they would compensate for it in the way they responded and voted.
Stressing the inequality of the three minutes of airtime that candidates would get on national broadcasts, Mr Chua pointed out that there was no innovation involved in that. He commented that if the Government really was innovative in thinking of ways to conduct elections under an unprecedented situation, it could have held a live debate to present the candidates.
Dr Tan agreed with the idea, and added his disapproval of having to submit the scripts for the speeches on national television, three days in advance. “I don’t know how they want to make Singaporeans believe that this is a fair election,” he said. On this topic, Mr Lee also expressed his disapproval, asking if there were some things that the opposition would not be allowed to say.
Mr Chua mentioned that the polite hour to conduct door-to-door walkabouts was limited and, therefore, the time for the candidates to “actually engage” with residents was extremely limited.
Furthermore, he mentioned the difficulty of being able to reach out to the group of residents who were too busy to even keep up with election news, whether it be on mainstream media or social media. He highlighted that door-to-door engagement remained one of the only ways candidates could reach out to that demographic.
On the topic of an unfair election, Dr Tan said: “But never mind. We never run. We will take the high ground. We will still continue to campaign to the best of our abilities.”
Dr Tan, asked about how the PSP would be keeping to its value of compassion in politics, responded that members of the party would always “take the high ground”. He stressed that they would never stoop to politics of envy, or politics of anger, or even politics of fear.
Emphasising the importance of having this fundamental good character, Dr Tan said that he hoped they would be able to set a good example for everyone in Singapore and send the message that there was another direction they could follow, other than the straight and narrow path that they had followed.
Additionally, Mr Lee was asked for his response to criticism of him joining PSP for personal reasons. He replied that he had spoken up about his personal problems without entering politics and that he had no need to use the party as a mouthpiece for anything.
The PSP is fielding 24 candidates in the General Election, across five SMCs and four GRCs. /TISG
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