Lee Li Lian says WP has done a good job in Parliament
Written by Ng E-Jay
18 January 2013
The Worker’s Party (WP) candidate for Punggol East Ms Lee Li Lian says that her party members have done a good job in Parliament, given their small numbers relative to the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).
She reaffirmed WP Chairman Sylvia Lim’s comments that the by-election is a barometer for how well her party has performed thus far. “The election will show if people have the confidence to vote for the WP, based on their track record,” Ms Lee added.
Ms Lee’s remarks come hot on the heels of criticism of WP’s Parliamentary performance, including the flopped ministerial salary debate.
WP had suggested that ministerial salaries be pegged to that of senior civil servants, and that the current level of bonuses and benefits should be reduced.
Despite the reduction in bonuses and other perks, this proposal was widely criticized as being no different in substance from the PAP’s methodology of pegging ministerial salaries to that of top professionals and CEOs.
Pegging ministerial salaries to top earners, whether that of civil servants or business professionals, would invariably make them rise much faster than that of the average Singaporean worker.
This is because in the current global economic climate, compensation for top professionals and executives are always rising at a much faster rate than the rest of the population.
Expectations for WP to perform well in Parliament have been high since WP is the only party with full-fledged MPs in Parliament, and the only party thus far to have broken the PAP’s GRC fortress. In GE 2011, WP had campaigned for a First World Parliament, which in their view can only be achieved if there is a balanced representation of voices.
Ms Lee Li Lian also said that if elected, she would focus on the concerns that young couples have. Her attention will include single parents, as well as families with stay-at-home parents.
Punggol East has a relatively young demographic, with almost 50 percent of residents being between age 22 and 49.
“Stay-at-home mothers don’t qualify for workfare bonus, but that doesn’t mean that they are not doing anything,” Ms Lee said.
“They’re working at home… when you come home, they have piping hot food for you — are they not working? They are. So why are they not given this? I think they should be given more attention,” she added.
Ms Lee also feels that fathers should be given six days of paternity leave.
The elderly will not be forgotten as well. Ms Lee said on Friday that she would champion the healthcare needs of the elderly. In a Facebook note, she called for the Medisave withdrawal limits to be lifted for patients above age 75 — a proposal which the WP had put forth in its 2011 general election manifesto.
Currently, there are caps on the amount which can be withdrawn from each person’s account, such as a maximum of $400 a year for outpatient treatment of chronic diseases.
“Elderly patients should also not have to queue up at polyclinics just to get referrals for subsidised treatment at public hospitals,” added Ms Lee.
Ms Lee said that in her conversations with residents on the campaign trail so far, she has received feedback about the lack of feeder bus services, childcare services and other amenities.