The Workers' Party went on the offensive on Saturday evening during its first rally of the Punggol by-election on Saturday night.
On a muddy field in Punggol, more than 5,000 people turned up to hear WP secretary-general Low Thia Kiang urge voters not to let the PAP take them for granted.
[SLIDESHOW OF WP RALLY]
"Ask yourself if the PAP appreciates your support or do you want to send a message to the PAP government that you don't want your support to be taken for granted anymore?," said Low.
"How did Rivervale Plaza, the only marketplace in this town, have delays in renovation works?" said Low. "Have any real efforts been made since two years ago here?"
WP chairman Sylvia Lim continued in the same vein, asking voters to keep up the pressure on the ruling PAP.
"Do you really want another PAP man to enter Parliament? There are so many PAP men in parliament already. Why not a WP woman?" she asked to loud applause.
Punggol East candidate Lee Li Lian, who is among four candidates standing for the by-election, also took the stage near the end of the three-hour rally.
Lee: I am just like you
She said her experience serving in Eunos has given her valuable experience in addressing the problems of Singapore.
"Like you I am a heartlander working hard to make a living," said Lee, who stressed that she too came from a humble background, a reference to PAP candidate's Dr Koh Poh Koon "I am one of you" campaign message.
"I'm also an ordinary Singaporean. I grew up in three-room HDB flat. I'm not a high flyer, or a government scholar. I did not do well earlier in my schooling years but I worked hard, really hard, and made it to Ngee Ann Polytechnic and eventually graduated from Curtin University of Australia," said the 34-year-old sales trainer.
"In order to ease the financial burden of my parents, I worked a part-time job when I was 15. I'm running for this because I want a better Singapore, not only for us but also for our children," said Lee, who will be contesting the ward after winning 41 per cent of the votes at the 2011 elections.
Touching on the issues she would champion in Parliament, she said she would focus on healthcare, the elderly and young families.
Acknowledging that Punggol East was home to many young families wanting to have children or already having children, she said that she understood their concerns -- and took the chance to criticise the PAP on the issue of rising childcare and preschool fees.
"Childcare fees have gone up by 35 per cent in five years, despite the increase in the number of childcare and pre-school centres. This is because of high rental costs," she said.
She went on to say that the high rentals are passed on to parents as a result of a lack of subsidies, pointing out that only government linked PCF and NTUC kindergartens enjoyed $30 million in annual funding and heavy rental subsidies.
Earlier in the evening, most key WP party members took to the mic with impassioned speeches on hot topic issues like transport, childcare, healthcare and housing, all with the same underlying message: "The PAP has not listened or done enough for voters".
The 'Aljunied slap'
Hougang MP Png Eng Huat had harsh words, saying that the PAP's "National Conversation" initiative had only come about because of WP's stellar showing at the last elections.
"The PAP was trying to rectify problems highlighted by the people to no avail, until the voters of Hougang decided to give them a tight slap," he said.
Party member Toh Hong Boon's speech on rising transport costs also hit a nerve with the crowd.
Buying a Chery QQ in Singapore can buy you a Porsche in the US," he declared to loud cheers from the supporters.
WP's offensive on PAP came in the wake of several swipes taken at them by PAP party members.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had earlier in the morning told reporters that he had not seen any strong views or alternatives being presented by the opposition, both from their NCMPs and elected MPs.
WP members declined to comment on PM Lee's observation, saying that they would address the issue at their next rally.
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