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SINGAPORE — Opposition parties have been “completely silent” on how to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, and instead have been presenting “old recycled manifestos”, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday (6 July).
“At this moment of danger and alarm, the opposition parties are talking as if we can just keep to our old ways, and the crisis did not exist. They show no recognition that we are facing the crisis of a generation,” claimed Lee, who is Secretary-General of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).
“They have been completely silent on how to tackle COVID-19 – both during the last six months, and in this election campaign. What contribution will they make in Parliament, adding ‘contrast’ to the discussions, if they get elected as MPs? What will happen to Singapore, if they form the government?”
Addressing Singaporeans in a lunchtime online rally, Lee pointed to the numerous measures that his government has put in place to address the health and economic impact of the pandemic, such as creating almost 30,000 bed spaces for isolation and medical facilities, and the $23.5 billion Jobs Support Scheme.
By contrast, he castigated the opposition for its “prattle” on minimum wage, claiming that it would only add costs to employers and give them an incentive to “drop even more workers”. He asked, “These are fashionable peacetime slogans, not serious wartime plans. How will we pay for a universal basic income? All the GST increase in the world will not be enough.”
Lee, who has been PM since 2004, added, “The opposition has nothing to say about getting us out of the downturn, or growing our economy, or creating new jobs. Do you really want to vote for parties who in a crisis come up with nothing better than old recycled manifestos?”
Alluding to the opposition’s offer of “insurance” in case it is needed, the 68-year-old warned, “Don’t buy insurance from someone on a promise, especially when you have reason to suspect this company cannot pay out on the insurance, and their cheques will bounce.”
Pointing to the PAP’s strong track record of governance, he declared, “With the PAP, you know that when we promise anything, we will deliver. We have walked with Singaporeans for six decades.”
Having fielded the “strongest possible PAP team” for this election, Lee asked Singaporeans for a strong mandate. “The world is watching this election closely...will we reveal ourselves to be fractious and divided, withholding our support from the government we elect, in a crisis where swift, decisive action is vital to save jobs and lives?”
Lee was speaking in his 7th lunchtime rally, having entered politics in 1984 at the age of 36.
Singaporeans will go to the polls on 10 July.
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