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SPP candidate criticises Amy Khor’s track record

SINGAPORE — Citing the bed crunch in hospitals and the foreign manpower pool in the Republic, Mr Ravi Philemon, the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) candidate in its contest for Hong Kah North, yesterday questioned the track record of his rival, People’s Action Party (PAP) incumbent Amy Khor, in her various portfolios since she emerged as her party’s top performer in the 2011 polls.

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SINGAPORE — Citing the bed crunch in hospitals and the foreign manpower pool in the Republic, Mr Ravi Philemon, the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) candidate in its contest for Hong Kah North, yesterday questioned the track record of his rival, People’s Action Party (PAP) incumbent Amy Khor, in her various portfolios since she emerged as her party’s top performer in the 2011 polls.

Dr Khor is a three-term Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency and Senior Minister of State (Health and Manpower), as well as chairman of government feedback arm REACH.

In a rally held at the former Hong Kah North Primary School, Mr Philemon criticised Dr Khor for what he called a poor performance.

“Look at the report card of the Health Ministry. People — even old people — are sleeping in hospital corridors because of the bed crunch. And if you ask them why, their reply is, ‘Because it’s holiday season,’” said the 47-year-old blogger, who is contesting in his first General Election (GE).

“Look at the Ministry of Manpower. Dr Khor says a Singaporeans-first policy will not benefit the economy,” he added, voicing a grievance held by many locals who feel that foreign workers are competing for their jobs.

Mr Philemon also cited Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s recent comments that REACH must “evaluate how we can move onto the next stage”. He argued that “REACH is stuck in a certain time warp and not as effective in getting Singaporeans’ feedback”.

Dr Khor beat the SPP’s Mr Sin Kek Tong in the 2011 GE after securing 70.6 per cent of the vote, giving her the best result of the election.

Acknowledging that the odds were stacked against him, Mr Philemon said: “I know that I face a tough fight here, but I came prepared. The chances of a swing in my favour are slimmer. I came knowing this.

“Even if I don’t win, by voting for me and thereby reducing Dr Khor’s margin of the vote share from the last election, you’ll be sending a strong signal to her that she needs to pull up her socks and not take Hong Kah North’s voters for granted.”

Mr Philemon yesterday also shared his plans for the constituency. Outlined in his manifesto were plans for a S$500,000 medical assistance fund for residents, as well as more bus services to serve the estates. He had earlier also pledged that, if elected, he would become a full-time MP and hold three Meet-the-People sessions each week.

Yesterday’s rally was attended by SPP chief Chiam See Tong and the party’s seven other candidates for this election, who will be contesting in Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency, as well as Potong Pasir and Mountbatten Single Member Constituencies (SMCs).

Mr Chiam vouched that his candidates were as good as, if not better than, their respective PAP opponents. The veteran opposition politician, who had in recent years suffered two strokes, was visibly feeble as he rallied for support for each of his candidates. But he managed to crack a joke as he referred to his wife, Mrs Lina Chiam, who will be standing in his old stomping ground, Potong Pasir SMC, in the coming poll.

“My wife is behind me, poking me, reminding me that I forgot to mention her,” he said, drawing laughter from the crowd.

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