Relationship with citizens not a 'one-night stand': Dr Balakrishnan
PAP's Vivian Balakrishnan says opposition are 'third-parties' trying to break up relationships
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan likened Singaporeans' relationship with the People's Action Party (PAP), forged 50 years ago, to a marriage.
"Relationships have ups and downs. Sometimes, you even need to fight.
"The point... is, a relationship is not a one-night stand. It's not just finding the most interesting, the most entertaining partner, but about someone who you are going to spend another 50 years or more (with)," he said.
His PAP team is contesting the Holland-Bukit Timah group representation constituency (GRC) against a Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) team led by party chief Dr Chee Soon Juan.
Dr Balakrishnan said at a rally at Commonwealth Avenue last night that the PAP had earned the trust of Singaporeans through the long relationship.
But along the way in this "marriage", a third party will try to barge in.
"Let's be honest. There will always be opportunities.
"How do third parties come in? They come in when they sense the relationship is not close... not strong or when there are issues that are not yet resolved," he said.
The opposition, he said, will campaign on the basis of the politics of anger, envy, jealousy and class division.
"But actually what they are trying to do is barge into our home."
The relationship isn't always glamorous.
"Many opposition politicians look down on PAP politicians for spending so much time on the ground, for knocking on your doors humbly, for looking at drains, chasing rat burrows, getting rid of mosquitoes," he said.
But the PAP does it so people will know the party is there for them, Dr Balakrishnan said.
"We do all these things because of a relationship. Because I want you to know that I'm there for you. That I will look after you, protect your children, that I'll invest (in) and build your neighbourhoods," he said.
He said the party has built a relationship based on trust.
'IT'S ABOUT TRUST'
"People knew whether we did the popular or unpopular thing... we did it with you, for you and for Singapore. It's not just a slogan. It's really about trust," he said.
And that includes designing a system unique to Singapore to help those who need it most.
Describing Singapore as having one of the fastest ageing population, coupled with one of the fastest shrinking population, he said the Government had to consider a model that would best serve the different groups.
For example, the welfare state model from Western countries provides universal benefits but at the cost of high taxes.
Such a system works if the population and its people's wages are growing, and if the middle class are able to afford the high tax rates, he said.
But when a population is ageing and is expected to shrink in the future, the system will fail, he said, adding that Japan was one such example.
Singapore, on the other hand, works on its own model, built on the basis of personal and family responsibility, savings, living within our means, having insurance and subsidies targeted for the needy.
"The value of our Singapore model, which is unique, is that we can make sure the people who need help receive help, we don't run out of money and the reserves are not raided.
"For the Pioneer Generation, $8 billion put aside, we didn't pass the bill to the children. We took it straightaway (from the) present budget, settled and accounted for," he said.
The point... is, a relationship is not a one-night stand. It's not just finding the most interesting, the most entertaining partner, but about someone who you are going to spend another 50 years or more (with).
-Dr Vivian Balakrishnan
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