Singapore

Voters hold PAP accountable: Ong Ye Kung

This article is more than 12 months old

Ong Ye Kung says ruling party does not have a 'blank cheque' to do as it wishes

The People's Action Party will not have a "blank cheque" to do as it wishes, as voters will make the ruling party pay at the next election if it does not perform well, said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung.

Mr Ong, who helms the PAP team for Sembawang GRC, said voters are rational and educated, and will not issue a blank cheque to any party on a whim.

"They have high expectations - if you are given a chance to enter Parliament and if you don't perform well, you will have to pay the price at the next election," he told reporters during a walkabout in Kampung Admiralty yesterday.

The minister was responding to remarks by Workers' Party (WP) candidate Jamus Lim, who urged Singaporeans to vote for the WP and deny the PAP "a blank cheque" during a televised debate last week.

Because of the level of accountability that the PAP is held up to, the ruling party has not let up on its work in serving Singaporeans over the past few decades, said Mr Ong.

"We've continued to work hard, and we will not make empty promises. And because of this, we have built Singapore up together with our citizens."

He also disagreed with the WP's statement that PAP MPs shy away from questioning the Government on certain issues in Parliament, and that only opposition MPs do so.

In a televised party political broadcast last Thursday, WP chief Pritam Singh said that a vote for WP will help it raise issues that the PAP MPs "cannot or will not raise".

Mr Ong said many PAP MPs have raised questions on a range of topics and issues, and as education minister, he has also been drawn into debates and exchanges with MPs in Parliament.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo made similar points to reporters at a walkabout near Whampoa Market yesterday.

She said: "A lot of PAP MPs themselves have a lot of topics they are passionate about and have the space to air them."

In fact, some of the sharpest questions in Parliament have come from PAP MPs, she added.

For those who are still concerned about the lack of opposition voices in Parliament, Mr Ong said changes to the Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) scheme made in 2016 will guarantee the presence of at least 12 opposition MPs - including NCMPs - in Parliament, up from nine currently.

He said: "Some party candidates feel the need to become an elected MP. But if you think about it, both elected MPs and NCMPs have an equal right to speak out in Parliament."

Mr Ong and the rest of the PAP team contesting Sembawang GRC also held an e-rally yesterday, which was aired on Facebook.

The team, which includes Mr Vikram Nair, Dr Lim Wee Kiak, and new faces Poh Li San and Mariam Jaafar, said they will continue to work to improve amenities for residents in the area if elected, including expanding transport links and starting more projects to bring communities together.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING: IRSHATH MOHAMED

GENERAL ELECTION 2020