At a community walkabout in Bedok yesterday (27 Jul), Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat told the media yesterday that the People’s Action Party (PAP) takes governance and governing Singapore very seriously, and has worked hard to improve the lives of Singaporeans (‘PAP takes governance seriously, says DPM Heng as he rebuts Tan Cheng Bock’s comments‘).
He added that the PAP “fundamentally disagree” with Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s assertion that there has been an “erosion” of transparency and accountability within the Government.
Veteran politician and ex-PAPcadre Dr Tan made the comments in his speech during the press conference held on Friday (26 July) as to the reason for why he is stepping up and getting involved in politics despite his age.
He said that watching “the processes of good governance” in Singapore going “astray” was the catalyst behind the establishment of Progress Singapore Party (PSP) and that such a phenomenon runs contrary to “the three foundations for creating trust between the government and the people”, namely “transparency, independence, and accountability”.
He also revealed that the “many different Singaporeans” he had spoken to during his multiple walkabouts have “expressed a desire to have a credible alternative to the current ruling party”, as they “feel that the current system is imbalanced”.
“Many are concerned that a government with an overwhelming majority in Parliament is going to fail to take in different perspectives, different ideas and just push through their policies without due consideration of sentiments from the people and longer-term consequences,” added Dr Tan, who was a popular candidate in the 2011 Presidential Election.
Heng disagrees with Dr Tan’s comment about the current government
“We fundamentally disagree with Dr Tan. But of course he is entitled to his opinions just as all Singaporeans are entitled to opinions,” said Heng.
The PAP has proven that it has worked hard for Singaporeans, Heng said.
He added that many residents he spoke to during the community visit had expressed support for government policies and how they have improved their lives.
Heng said Singaporeans are fair-minded, and will look at the quality of ideas and the ability to deliver results when they decide which political party or candidate can best serve them and take Singapore forward.
Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing also said that its focus is to work hard to meet Singaporeans’ needs.
“If Singapore and Singaporeans are well taken care of, I’m sure Singaporeans will know who to place their trust in,” said Chan.
“Whether, is it election or non-election time, we must make sure that fellow Singaporeans are well taken care of.”
In any case, Heng has announced that the new GST rate of 9% will be implemented sometime between 2021 and 2025, this is on top of various taxes – such as the controversial 30% water price hike – that have been passed during Heng’s term as Finance Minister. Taxing the people more is probably the way how his party would take care of Singaporeans.