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Hard truths and figures from Steve Chia

Hard truths and figures from Steve Chia

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The NSP candidate for Pioneer SMC questions the PAP’s attitude towards minimum wage and welfare for the poor.

By Grace Chew

A 2,000-strong crowd heard from National Solidarity Party’s (NSP) Steve Chia some “hard truths” at Sunday night’s rally at Jurong West Stadium for Pioneer Single Member Constituency (SMC).

Citing a slew of figures from the Department of Statistics, the Central Providence Fund Annual Report (CPF) and the Credit-Suisse annual report, Steve Chia showed the crowd that the focus of the ministers was no longer on them, but “on themselves”.

“The median income is $1,506. This amount is earned by ministers in an hour or two, with car park fines, taxes and levies imposed on you. There is something very wrong here!” Mr Chia said, drawing echoes from the crowd: “Something very wrong!”

As a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, Mr Chia had asked Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong why some ministers were drawing pension schemes and “multi-billion dollar salaries” at the same time, to which PM Lee replied that it was “in the contract”.

Emphasising the apparent double standards of the government, he proceeded to talk about the CPF scheme, where the minimum age for withdrawal has been raised from 55 to 65.

“They suka-suka changed the rule. It is a contract but yet they changed it unilaterally. They decided that (Singaporeans) cannot take care of their own money!” He declared, to which the crowd angrily responded: “Bullshit! We’re not stupid!”

In addition, he said that certain statistics were flawed as it did not truly reflect the situation in Singapore.

“While the mean wealth looks good, the median paints a very sad picture of $43,000 (net worth per person): 50% of people in this rich and first-world society has only $43,000. How could that be? Can the ministers rebut this report?” he asked.

He suggested that statistics cannot be purely based on the income of top owners, but should add in other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as per capita income, quality of life and stability of housing and food prices, in order to allow Singaporeans to know the truth.

He also pointed out that the feasibility of the Minimum Wage Scheme needs to be studied, with the support of data from the CPF Annual report that one in four members above 45 are having employment problems.

“Your vote is powerful. Don’t give them full monopoly of power. Don’t let them cover the sky with their hands. Pressure them with your vote!” – Steve Chia

“Below all the beautiful infrastructure and magnificent building, many families are falling through the cracks. That is why you see many people living in void decks and on the beach. Deficits can only get worse, not better. Without decent paying job for Singaporeans, the lowest 20 percent (of the population) cannot live with self-respect.” He observed.

Addressing incumbent Cedric Foo’s remarks, he said that installing Closed-Circuit Television (CCTVs) would not solve the problem of monitoring the behaviour of foreign workers.

He said that when he was distributing his flyers the previous night, he still saw foreign workers urinating at the coffeeshops even though they’ve installed CCTVs.

He suggested having active citizen patrol with the MP leading the way, and questioned whether Foo would have time to do that.

An alternative solution he proposed would be to shift dormitories to Upper Joo Koon, as “it would not cost anything.”

“With CCTVs, your SMC fees will go up.”

He also questioned Foo on the demolishing of the old Majarpahit mosque and the new primary school Mr Foo has promised.
“It is all wayang!” he declared.

He also promised a 5-day meet-the-people session, and if problems continued to persist, he would call the civil servants in front of residents to ask them about it.

Finally, he dispelled rumours that the People’s Action Party (PAP) knew the decision of voters, much to the cheers of the crowd.

“It is bullshit. They are just testing you – Your vote is secret, nobody knows who you voted unless you open your mouth to tell people. If you don’t want people to know who you voted, keep quiet.”

Indirectly calling on residents to vote for him at his conclusion, he said in English and Chinese, “Your vote is powerful. Don’t give them full monopoly of power. Don’t let them cover the sky with their hands. Pressure them with your vote!”

Small but loud crowd roots for Cedric Foo at Pioneer SMC

Small but loud crowd roots for Cedric Foo at Pioneer SMC

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Speakers emphasise the PAP’s constant presence in the constituency, questions Opposition’s commitment.

By Grace Chew

Photo: STRAITS TIMES

SUPPORTERS shared the limelight from the Ministers of Parliament yesterday night at the Pioneer Single Member Constituency rally by the People’s Action Party (PAP).

Cries of “PAP huat ah!”, “PAP Cedric Foo”, “Cedric Foo we love you!” and many other permutations of cheers were sounded by party activists and grassroots leaders, mostly in their 50s and 60s, together with deafening whistles whenever the Ministers asked for response from the roughly 500-strong crowd.

Many supporters sang his praises at the rally. The Indian emcee noted his contributions in the Pioneer Indian Activities Executive Committee (IAEC): “Cedric has done a lot to promote the Indian community through various cultural activities.
He takes part in various Frontier CC and IAEC activities, and even recognizes most of them by face and by name!”

The emcee added that Cedric has drafted letters to the authorities for quality Tamil classes and tuition. “He’s an ardent believer in bringing quality education,” she said.

“In the past, no one would want to live in Jurong. Now it’s a thing of the past. Pioneer has transformed!” said Foo, the ward’s incumbent for 10 years.

Foo mentioned the various facilities as evidence of his decade-long track record: From a “wasted land” to a place where “flats are in hot demand” with Jurong Point 1 and 2; Pioneer MRT; SAFRA Club; Jurong Medical Centre and resident centres. He has also organised 6500 activities for the residents with grassroots leaders, to build the “cohesive and warm community” of Pioneer.

“What warmed me are the sessions we have with the needy people every Monday night over 500 weeks. We have written 2500 letters to help them. We take one family at a time, and do all we can to help them because they’re part of Pioneer!” he said, to a rousing round of applause from a crowd.

In addition to the various cultural activities and facilities he had pushed for, Foo also talked about the influx of foreign workers in the area, a worry bugging most Pioneer residents. He said, “I went to foreign workers’ living quarters to understand the situation.”

He mentioned about building a place of their own – a five-million dollar recreation centre, and successfully seeking permission from the authorities to allow beer to be sold inside their dormitories.

“This election will decide our future. Will we end up being divided by politics? Will people say, Singapore’s decline was since the 2011 elections?” – Cedric Foo

Dangling the carrot for voters, he said that closed-circuit television will be installed at every void deck, and posters put up in a variety of languages to advise foreign workers on appropriate behaviours. He also promised more childcare centres and a new primary school.

In comparison, he said that the Opposition have no concrete action. He asked, “How many outings have the Opposition had with you? How many wakes did the Opposition attend? In the 5 years that they were here, where have they volunteered?” and to that question, the crowd fervently replied “Zero! Kosong! Toilet!” with one even replying they “play marbles!”

West Coast GRC members Lawrence Wong, Foo Mee Har and Arthur Fong were also present at the rally to support Foo. They urged residents to re-elect Mr Foo, who is facing a challenge from National Solidarity Party’s (NSP) Steve Chia.

To the wonderment of the crowd, Mr Arthur Fong spoke in Cantonese about Foo, his “good friend and comrade”.

“I have seen Foo’s hard work in the last 10 years, and I hope you would vote for him!”

More seriously, Foo, a banker, spoke of the Government’s success in steering Singapore through the recent financial turmoil. She advised the crowd to vote for the government they trusted and could get the nation through tough times.

As the former Energy Market and Authority (EMA) chief, Wong observed that many top firms like Shell and ExxonMobil have chosen to invest in Singapore due to her political stability, creating job opportunities for Singaporeans.

Singapore’s health-care system was internationally recognised, he added, evident during the World Health Congross in Paris when global health-care leaders approached him.

“They knew about Medicare, Medishield and Medifund, and they knew our health-care system worked and theirs didn’t,” He said.

He talked about a 70-year-old woman whom he met recently. She declared that she would only vote for the PAP, as she could always seek subsidised medical treatment from polyclinics and hospitals.

Mr Wong then asked the crowd, “Which other government in the world serves its people like the PAP does?”

He added, “This election will decide our future. Will we end up being divided by politics? Will people say, Singapore’s decline was since the 2011 elections? Think carefully before you vote, and choose the party that represents Peace and Prosperity.”