Rally speech in Queenstown Stadium on Saturday 5 September 2015
Good evening fellow Singaporeans and residents of Tanjong Pagar and Jurong GRCs. Thank you for coming.
I want to start with a special message to the people of Tanjong Pagar. We make history today!
This is the first election rally in 24 years held on the soil of Tanjong Pagar and not in an adjacent constituency. You have not voted for your Members of Parliament for 24 years. You have been denied your basic right. We are giving it back to you.
Tanjong Pagar residents were brave trendsetters. In 1955, you voted in an Opposition MP Lee Kuan Yew who then went on to form the government in 1959. You can do it again!
Vote us in as your MPs and we will form the nucleus of a new government that you can be proud of. We have assembled a diversified team of candidates – professionals and community leaders.
Let me start with Dr Ang Yong Guan, a widely known doctor with more than 23 years of experience as grassroots leader. Next Chirag Desai, a young banker, 38 years old, who is also the secretary of his Neighbourhood Committee. He is a straight As student from RI and RJC with a master’s degree from a top US university. We also have another young master’s graduate Melvin Chiu who works in an MNC and understands the problems of young professionals, the PMETs whose jobs are under threat from foreigners who come in so freely on S and E passes. Next we have Fahmi Rais, a broadcast veteran and media consultant. He is well known in the Malay community having initiated a few Malay language programmes on TV. The PAP team has 2 minority candidates but not a Malay one. They have taken the Malay community for granted. They are shortchanging our Malay brothers and sisters.
Lastly, there is me. I worked as a civil servant, investment banker and fund manager for nearly 30 years. I trained as an economist at Oxford University. I headed economic and manpower planning in the Ministry of Trade and Industry and served as secretary to the late Dr Albert Winsemius, the economic adviser to the Singapore Government. Each time he visited, I accompanied him on his meetings with businessmen, unionists and government ministers, and then followed up with reports to the late Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I also worked for Dr Goh Keng Swee, the father of Singapore’s modern economic development. I was principal private secretary to then DPM Goh Chok Tong for 5 years, after I left to join the private sector where I took charge of Asia Pacific operations at global institutions and international banks. I contested the 2011 general and presidential elections.
Two pasts, not one
We are giving you a very balanced and competent team – youth and experience, policy making and grassroots beginnings. This is the team that will take you forward and fight for your future.
The PAP team talks about the past as if it was they who give you the past glory. They have lumped together 50 years as one past. But we have 2 pasts, the first 40 years and the last 10 years under the current PM.
The first 40 years were relatively good years. But beginning from 2004 when Lee Hsien Loong took over, Singapore has been going down the drain. First casinos, then 1 million foreign workers who take away the jobs and space of Singaporeans, break our families and shatter our self-esteem. He gave us the first riot and labour strike in more than 40 years. Trains break down so frequently that we have lost count. Even the heavens cried over our misery and tears flowed down to flood our streets including Orchard Road in Tanjong Pagar. Do you still want to vote in Lee Hsien Loong’s team to mess up your lives with 5 more years of incompetence and misery? Your misery will last more than 5 years.
I wish to highlight 4 issues:
Issue 1 : CPF shortchanging Singaporeans
PM last night talked about CPF and how you are getting higher interest rates. He is not telling you the whole truth.
In fact, the PAP is short-changing Singaporeans of our rightful returns on our CPF savings. The average CPF member gets 2.5% although some will get higher for additional amount or contribution to special schemes. Our CPF money is used to buy Special Government Securities which are then invested by GIC. The GIC attained an average of 6% return over 20 years but you only get 2.5%. Contrast this with Malaysia’s EPF which gave a dividend of 6.75% to its members last year. But not the PAP government. Instead of sharing the higher return of 6 % with you, they kept the excess return of about 3.5%. How much is this in dollars terms?
At the beginning of 2014, there were members’ balances of $250 billion and if all this was invested by GIC, an excess return of 3.5% is equivalent to $8.75 billion. This $8.75 billion has been taken from you by the government in just one year 2014. That is why the government surplus is so huge and the government so rich, but more than half of Singaporeans do not have enough savings for their retirement years. PM made so much hooha about $500 million being put into the CPF voluntarily. But $500 million is less than 0.2% of total CPF balances of $275 billion at end of 2014.
So please have a sense of proportion. Do not hide behind selective disclosure of information. Be transparent and publish all information about investment returns on CPF funds. Then Singaporeans will know the truth and how much we have been cheated of our rightful returns on our CPF savings. Then Singaporeans will vote out the PAP. We will rise up in anger to demand the return of our money.
Issue 2 : Broken promises
PM claimed that PAP has delivered on all its promises. He has obviously forgotten the 5 “Cs” that PAP promised us years ago. He has broken all these promises.
First your career which has been thrown upside down by liberal entry of foreigners, retrenchments, short term hire of 2 to 3 years instead of a career. Next, condominium and car which are now out of reach for most even with 30-year mortgages or 10-year car loans. And with these huge long term loans, you won’t be able to smell the fourth and fifth “Cs”, cash and country club. So fellow Singaporeans, do not believe in any more promises by PAP.
Issue 3 : Leadership succession
I now want to talk about his other promise of leadership succession. He said this election is about choosing the next leadership team. But PAP has been saying this at every election. Have they been serious and effective?
They say succession planning takes 2 to 3 terms. So we should have key ministers from the 2006 team in the current core leadership team. But the only one from 2006, Mr Lui Tuck Yew, has resigned and wasted 2 terms of training. So we now only have Chan Chun Sing, Tan Chuan Jin and Lawrence Wong left. What have they achieved so far as leaders?
Take Lawrence Wong for example. He was in charge of preparing the national stadium for the SEA Games. But the natural grass in the stadium did not grow in time, so they had to replace with artificial grass after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. So we now know their true quality, nothing natural but all artificial, plastic.
Tan Chuan Jin is worse. As Manpower Minister, he is in charge of immigration and he has let in foreign workers very liberally including foreigners with non-recognised qualifications from doubtful educational institutions. And yes he presided over Singapore’s first labour strike in 40 years. PM’s confidence in Tan Chuan Jin is so low that he has to ask Goh Chok Tong, not Tan Chuan Jin, to lead the Marine Parade team. Goh Chok Tong is the oldest candidate in this election, he is an overstayer, blocking the emergence of young leaders. His presence in this election proves that PAP is paying lip service to leadership succession which has failed totally.
Finally Chan Chun Sing completes this circus of wayang and failure. Has Major General Chan won any war or even a small skirmish? Did he help or ridicule the poor when he was minister of family and community? This man refused to define the poverty index for Singapore but instead distracted people with 18 layers of kueh lapis. He even took delight in expensive XO chye tow kuay that costs $20 a plate, 10 times more than plain chye tow kuay. We don’t need him to define the poverty index.
The World Bank defines poverty as lower than half of median income. With this standard definition, Singapore has 30% of citizens living in poverty, a very high proportion for a city that claims to be First World. In First World countries, fewer than 10% of people are poor and the state gives them generous help, not ridicule.
Chan Chun Sing accused our Party of bribing people with monthly allowances of $300 to children and senior citizens and said this is insulting his residents. Have he and his PAP cronies not been bribing Singaporeans with millions of taxpayers’ dollars in the name of SG50? Isn’t this pretension a big insult? Let me be clear : we are not bribing people with $300 per month, we are returning to them the money that rightfully belongs to them but was taken away from them by the PAP.
Will you improve the quality of future political leadership if you elect PAP’s new candidates? They come from the same mould, basically yes-men from the civil service and the military like current ministers. Not original, same old formula. They will join Brigadier General Lee Hsien Loong in bringing Singapore further down the drain.
Issue 4 : Betrayal of LKY
Current PAP leaders talk unashamedly about honouring the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew and how he is so special to Tanjong Pagar. They are just opportunistic. They have no confidence in themselves. They are making use of his name for their own selfish ends. In fact, they have no real respect for Mr Lee and have even betrayed his ideals. Let me give 3 examples:
- In 1979, LKY warned about having too many foreign workers. He said, “In 5 years, you will have 120,000, in 10 years, a quarter million. Is it bearable?” He went on : “But I have a responsibility to you. In 10 years, can we digest so many? There will be cultural, linguistic , social and political problems.” Today, Singapore has 1.5 million foreign workers, 5 times more than Singapore can bear, and 1 million came in the last 10 years under PM Lee Hsien Loong. So his own son has betrayed the values and beliefs of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
- Another value that LKY stood for is trust, that the government must be worthy of the people’s trust. In the past, trust in government was high but this has fallen very low under the present PAP leadership. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer 2014, only 26% of Singaporeans trust their government leaders to tell the truth; in other words, the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans do not trust PAP leaders to tell the truth. Trust in PAP has hit rock bottom.
- Lastly the principle of meritocracy that LKY fiercely stood by. Meritocracy allows people to move ahead on the basis of their own capability and not on any connections. Singapore prospered in the past because of this principle. But in 2014, the Economist, a reputable international news magazine, ranked Singapore top 5 on its Global Cronyism Index where “politically connected businessmen are most likely to prosper”. Singapore comes fifth after Hong Kong, Russia, Malaysia and Ukraine. Going by this ranking of cronyism, LKY’s ideal of meritocracy has been betrayed under his son’s watch as PM.
If Singaporeans vote out of gratitude to the father, they will end in servitude to the son!
Fellow Singaporeans, do you want 5 more years of the unhappiness and misery of the past 10 years under PAP? Or do you want to take back our country that PAP has sold out to foreigners and their cronies? Will you vote Singaporeans First to restore our nation?