By Eddy Chua
The Reform Party (RP) introduced their slate of candidates for Ang Mo Kio GRC on Friday afternoon, introducing lawyer M. Ravi, businessman Osman Sulaiman, political blogger Roy Ngerng, social activist Gilbert Goh, former banker Jesse Loo and former Residents’ Committee (RC) manager Siva Chandran.
M Ravi will be leading the team in RP’s bid for Ang Mo Kio GRC.
In his address to the media prior to the introduction, RP’s Secretary-General, Kenneth Jeyaretnam, said that the team is not assembled from “haters from the sideline”. He reassured voters that they are a “serious and stable party” and that they have presented policy papers and an exciting manifesto.
M Ravi paid tribute to the late RP founder JB Jeyaretnam, crediting him as a source of inspiration and the reason behind M Ravi joining the party. He acknowledged that it will not be easy for the team to contest in this constituency, currently held by the People’s Action Party (PAP) team led by the Secretary-General of the People’s Action Party, Lee Hsien Loong.
Making an emphasis on constitutional reforms, M Ravi said, “Our lifestyles, our basic freedoms are based on the constitution, it also governs the people’s right of expression of fundamental liberties.” He went on to criticize how some laws, including the Sedition Act, were passed during the colonial period and are outdated in today’s society, promising to challenge these laws if elected.
Roy Ngerng, who has been vocal against Central Provident Fund (CPF) policies, said that he will continue to fight for the cause. He said, “Our concern is that the CPF is not adequate for Singaporeans. There is also no transparency and accountability to Singaporeans on the CPF.” He also added, “It is our responsibility, as Singaporeans and as the government to help our elderly Singaporeans and to allow them to be able to retire graciously and with dignity.”
Ngerng is currently involved in a defamation suit with Mr Lee. Mr Lee had sued Ngerng for defamation over his blog posts and Ngerng is awaiting damages to be assessed by the court.
Osman Sulaiman, who led the RP team in Ang Mo Kio in the 2011 General Election, affirmed that as a candidate, he aims to “champion and bring out issues not only for the Malay community but also for Singaporeans regardless of race or religion”.
Osman also touched on immigration issues, such as integration and job displacement caused by economic globalisation, and promised to bring the issue to parliament if given the mandate. He ended his speech hoping that the country will invest “not only for the advancement of economic figures” but will “invest in its most important assets, that is, it’s people”.
In his introduction, Jesse Loo, a former banker, highlighted five points which he is concerned about: inflation, high business costs, the Certificate of Entitlement (COE), the pricing of public housing, and the CPF.
Siva Chandran, who is a resident of Ang Mo Kio, felt that everyone should be taken care of. Speaking about his experience as an RC manager, Siva drew attention to members of lower-income groups living in rented flats in the constituency. He highlighted the plights of these people, claiming that Singapore will not be a first world country until “these people have a home and until these people have food”. He also added that he will become a full-time MP if elected and would like to communicate directly with the residents.
Gilbert Goh, who organized the Population White Paper protest, spoke about the combination of politics and activism, and praised members of the team for being vocal against the government. He went on to highlight unemployment issues, pointing out that “we have the best GDP in the world, why are we not having the abilities to provide our locals with a job?”.
It was also announced during the press conference that the RP website has been changed to www.reform.sg.[youtube id=”Z_S3IH2tK5Q” align=”center” mode=”normal”]