People must move from the notion that there can only be a two-party system in Parliament, said the People’s Voice (PV) chief Lim Tean on Sunday (21 June), adding that the Party would consider a coalition with other alternative parties.
PV held its first “living room rally” in the house which situated at Towner Road, Jalan Besar Group Representation Constituency (GRC) – one of the ground constituencies that the PV is contesting – via Facebook live broadcast on Sunday.
During the live broadcast, a question was raised on whether the Party would consider a coalition with other alternative parties.
In response, Mr Lim noted that there is “absolutely a chance for them to work together”.
“The opposition may consist of small parties, some bigger parties like the WP – Workers’ Party – but there is absolutely a chance for us to work together. If not now, certainly in Parliament,” he said.
Mr Lim pointed out that the people must move from the notion that there can only be a two-party system as he believes that the multi-party system could work in this modern era.
He explained that by having a multi-party system, the parties will be forced to work together which then would lead them to come up with the “best solutions”.
“You look at our Parliament now. There are two parties in Parliament. Has the ruling party been up to the task for COVID-19? In fact, it has been a shameful spectacle! A shameful failure on their part!” he noted.
Citing other countries that practice the multi-party system in their Parliament, Mr Lim highlighted that such a system “works fine” in those countries like in Germany, the Scandinavian countries, as well as Switzerland.
“You look at the UK which started off as the traditional two-party system. But do they have two parties today? No, they don’t! They have at least four parties,” he added.
People’s Voice to contest in seven constituencies
When Mr Lim was asked about which wards that his party candidates would be fielded in the upcoming general election (GE), he noted that the Party has decided to contest in seven constituencies.
PV announced the seventh constituency – Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC) – on 19 June, noting that it is “in talks” with some members from the other alternative parties.
“In the spirit of opposition unity, we are prepared to discuss with our fellow opposition members. Because at the end of the day, we want to make sure that when Polling Day arrives, the oppositions are going to have a resounding success,” he noted.
According to Mr Lim, PV currently has close to 30 candidates to contest in all the constituencies that it has chosen for the coming election.
“For six constituencies, we will need 20 candidates. PV now has almost 30 candidates. So we have more than enough candidates to fight all the 6 constituencies we want to,” the PV chief said.
“Remember, this is the 61st year. Amazing things happened in the 61st year,” he added.
People’s Voice stands for the working-class people of Singapore
People’s Voice aims to improve the lives of the working-class people in Singapore, said Mr Lim.
But he also believes that the coming election is about protecting the rights and interests of citizenship, which is what PV stands for.
“Our national pledge – ‘We, the citizens of Singapore’ – does not open with the word ‘I’, it opens with the word ‘we’. Because citizenship is a political status, and when we use the ‘we’, it means we have a share in the political system,” Mr Lim asserted.
He indicated that the PAP has “diluted the meaning of citizenship” in Singapore, which has led to “a host of problems”, most notably in the country’s employment rate.
Noting that there is a possibility that the country will face up to 200,000 jobs loses due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Lim said that the unemployment rate in Singapore is at its highest in a decade.
“In the last quarter of 2019, 3/4 of the people – who have been retrenched – were from PMETs [professionals, managers, executives, and technicians] category,” he explained.
There are about 400,000 foreigners who are currently working under employment passes and S passes – for mid-level skilled foreigners – in Singapore, and S pass holders earn a range of S$2,400 to S$3,899 of monthly salary.
Mr Lim said that these are “good pay” jobs but are offered to S pass holders and not Singaporeans. He added that the PAP always come up with excuses like ‘Singaporeans don’t want those jobs’ or ‘there is a mismatch in skills’, and it used the same excuses for the employment pass holders who earn $3,900 and above per month.
“If we are going to lose another 200,000 jobs because of this crisis, Singaporeans deserve the chance to fill up the PMET jobs that are currently being done by foreigners. I do not believe that Singaporeans do not have the skillsets.
“Many Singaporeans – very well-trained, very well-qualified and very well-experienced – who were previously in high-level positions – have today been reduced to taxi drivers and delivery men,” he remarked, adding that he had come across many of them.
Mr Lim went on to emphasize the lack of transparency in the number of jobs given to Singaporeans and foreigners. He explained that Permanent Residents (PRs) and Singapore citizens are placed under the category of locals in the national jobs bank.
“There must be a distinction between a Singapore Citizen and a PR. But you will not get that from the PAP. They will happily tell you that Singapore is for everyone, and foreign workers will be brought in to complement the local workforce,” he added.
Singapore’s education system should promote more critical thinking, not rope learning
When Mr Lim was asked about the current education system in Singapore, he opined that the education system needs to be revamped.
“The education system that I went through and probably someone of similar age as me has gone through, they were invented for the industrial age. But times have changed. We are now in the knowledge era,” he noted.
Mr Lim asserted that Singapore’s education system should “promotes more critical thinking”, instead of “rope learning”.
According to him, PV had previously asked the Ministry of Education (MOE) on why the nation’s home-based learning was “so backwards”. Subsequently, the Minister of Education Ong Ye Kung announced on 4 March that every secondary school student will be equipped with a personal learning device by 2028.
The plan, however, has been carried forward as the Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam stated on 17 June that all secondary school students will be equipped with a personal laptop or tablet for learning by next year.
In reference to that, Mr Lim said that it shows “the power of social media” as the Government took action after the issue was raised on social media.
“That has not happened in the past when the mainstream media was dominant. But times are changing and I will ask you to keep asking questions and keep making demands. Because that is how change comes about,” he noted.