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GE2020 constituency broadcasts: What Bukit Panjang SMC candidates have to say

SINGAPORE — Two political veterans, both contesting the closely watched Bukit Panjang Single Member Constituency (SMC) for the first time at the General Election (GE), were the final candidates to make their pitch to voters on Friday (July 3).

Mr Liang Eng Hwa (left) from the People's Action Party and Dr Paul Tambyah (right) from the Singapore Democratic Party are vying for a seat at Bukit Panjang ward this General Election.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa (left) from the People's Action Party and Dr Paul Tambyah (right) from the Singapore Democratic Party are vying for a seat at Bukit Panjang ward this General Election.

SINGAPORE — Two political veterans, both contesting the closely watched Bukit Panjang Single Member Constituency (SMC) for the first time at the General Election (GE), were the final candidates to make their pitch to voters on Friday (July 3).

Theirs was the last of five constituency broadcasts that were aired on television and radio on the day.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa, 56, is stepping in as the PAP candidate after the retirement of 60-year-old Teo Ho Pin. Mr Liang was previously Member of Parliament (MP) for Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

During the broadcast, Mr Liang highlighted his past contributions in the improvements seen today in Bukit Panjang SMC, including LRT upgrading and new bus services.

“As the town enters its 30th year, we need to invest into its continued vibrancy and sustainability, and upgrade and renew our precincts and blocks,” he said.

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate is Dr Paul Tambyah, 55, who is also a new face in the ward. One of the surprise announcements on Nomination Day, Dr Tambyah also moved from Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, where he had contested the 2011 GE.

Aside from talking about some of the municipal issues raised by Bukit Panjang residents, Dr Tambyah reiterated SDP’s election campaign slogan, 4Y1N. It stands for “Four Yeses, One No” — saying “yes” to retrenchment benefits, an income for retirees, putting people first and suspending the Goods and Services Tax (GST), while saying “no” to a projected population of 10 million.

In these constituency political broadcasts, candidates vying for single-seat wards have three minutes each to speak. Those contesting in four- and five-member GRCs have 12 and 15 minutes respectively in total.

The broadcasts are being aired on Channel 5, CNA938, cna.asia, 8world.com, CNA YouTube, CNA Facebook and TODAY at 7pm from July 3 to 8.

PAP’S PROPOSALS

  • Mr Liang spoke about how he grew up in the Bukit Panjang area and still lives nearby. “This is where my life is,” he said.

  • Over the years, he has helped secure several improvements for the town, such as in public transport, including new bus services and a S$344 million major upgrade of the Bukit Panjang LRT.

  • Bukit Panjang will soon have a polyclinic and a second hawker centre, which is  “in the works”, among many other upcoming facilities, Mr Liang said.

  • He added that the town must continue to invest in vibrancy, upkeep and sustainability, as well as upgrade and renew its blocks and precincts.

  • On jobs, Mr Liang acknowledged that residents were worried about employment especially the young jobseekers and workers above age 40. “I will work with you to improve your employability, to work to tap the various jobs and skills programmes to assist you.” 

  • Mr Liang also said: “Covid-19 may have created daunting challenges ahead of us, but I humbly commit (to) walk this journey with you. I will serve you well. You can count on me to always do the best and to do what is right for Singapore and to take care of our estates.’’

SDP’S PROPOSALS

  • Dr Tambyah raised some of the concerns that Bukit Panjang residents have flagged to him during his walkabouts. These include noise levels near loading bays and lift upgrading delays.

  • He also raised the issue of the Bukit Panjang LRT, which he said former Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan described as an “afterthought” built due to “political pressure”.

  • However, Dr Tambyah said that no residents have “admitted to putting political pressure for the LRT” and therefore, he questions who makes the decisions for improving projects planned in the town.

  • He said that, if elected, SDP will run the town councils themselves with the active participation of all residents and it will make financial records public during the transition process.

  • On how SDP intends to fund its proposals, he said that the party has calculated that using return-on-investment income and raising wealth taxes “would more than cover the costs” without touching the reserves.

  • Dr Tambyah said: “The PAP has recklessly decided to risk the public’s health and hold an election in the middle of a pandemic. They seem to want to repeat the election of 2001 held soon after 9-11 (the Sept 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in the United States) to... wipe out the opposition, which will be a disaster for Singapore.”

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