Rally on Sun 1 May 2011 at Yio Chu Kang Stadium
The Reform Party held a rally at Yio Chu Kang Stadium on Labour Day, Sunday 1st May 2011. The following are videos of the speakers.
Dear Fellow Singaporeans,
A very good morning to you all and I am glad you have taken the time and effort to be here. It’s a pleasure for me to be here too. I am Vigneswari Ramachandran, Deputy Head of the Young Reformers Youth Wing and a candidate for the Ang Mo Kio GRC Team. I got my degree with honors of Bachelor of Science in Management certified by the University of London (UOL) in 2005. I am here today to talk about and touch on educational issues in Singapore. As you all know, Singapore is one country which places a lot of importance in paper qualifications which is good. Without a cert, you seem to have more challenges climbing up corporate ladders at your work places. The certificate is used as an indication of your worth and capability. That’s why education is an important topic to touch on.
To read rest of the transcript, please click here.
Let’s first start with our tertiary educational level. We have government-subsidized universities in Singapore such as the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU) and the National University of Singapore (NUS). I have four main points to cover and I will cover them tonight to place our cards out on the table to the PAP.
First, for tertiary education. Why do we need to provide subsidies to foreign students? PAP said it is to provide cultural diversity and have a competitive edge. Our situation now is such that there is unhealthy competition filled with feelings of remorse between our fellow Singaporeans and our foreign counterparts. So why has it become unhealthy competition? Because there are too many foreigners!
Now, let’s cover our second point – tuition grants being offered to foreign students. PAP gives out $10 000 to $20 000 of tuition grants to foreign students and further binds them to a 2-year compulsory work contract in Singapore. This is a lose-lose situation for us. In the end, it is Singaporean’s money that is going into tuition grants for the foreign students. To further provide a 2-year job contract for them, or any number of years of job contract for that matter as it depends on the agreement between the employer and employee, is clearly to put a fight in Singaporeans’ positions in work and universities. This is a clear-cut lose-lose situation for us Singaporeans as it creates unhealthy competition.
Point three: we propose an increased subsidy for tertiary level education. The government subsidies have to increase for our tertiary level students. Our course fees in tertiary education have become higher over the past years. We should balance our increasing course fees for Singaporeans by increasing our subsidies. What we don’t want is a society which does not have an opportunity to education because of high course fees, especially when we need education to proceed and progress in society. We should not deprive our Singaporeans of their rights to education in society. Invest in education and our people and invest in education for our people. We lost $42 billion in 2009 for investing in UBS, Bank of America, and Citibank.
This wasted money could have easily gone in to invest for more government subsidies for our tertiary Singaporean students. It would have been a more worthwhile investment. If people are short-changed of their privilege of education because of our education system, our society cannot progress. Someone else will invade their space. Foreign students will take their positions and spaces in education and jobs.
The fourth point to be raised is the second solution proposed by us – free education up to secondary school level including and especially for the physically and mentally challenged students. This again, will be money well spent as compared to the overspending of $387 million in the Foreign Indication Fund for the YOG.
You give foreigners a good life and treat them well; you give those educational subsidies and job employment at the expense of Singaporeans. This will lead to an increase in foreign birth rates in Singapore. The government may feel that it’s okay because Singaporean birth rates are falling.
If free education till secondary school level education is provided, it is a better carrot then baby bonus. Provide us with free education till secondary school levels. Provide us with free pre-school, kindergarten, primary school and secondary school levels of education. This is the country’s obligation. This is, as I said, a better carrot then baby bonus.
All that I wish to say now, after having said everything else, is that this is our country! This is Singapore! We have to preserve and protect it with our hearts and souls. We cannot sell our nation and our unique identity.
We need your support to support us to reform and make the change you want and need for the betterment of our future.
Osman bin Sulaiman
Good evening AMK GRC Resident,
To read rest of the transcript, please click here.
My name is Osman Bin Sulaiman. I’m one of the candidates leading the team for AMK GRC. The other candidates are Mr Mansoor, Mr Arthero Lim, Mr Lim Zirui, Mr Alex Tan and, last but not least, Ms Vignesh.
All of them are present today to share what they believe in and what their plan is for AMK Resident.
As many of you know, our Team was assembled at a late stage. We faced many hurdles prior to Nomination Day. It was not a rushed decision. We were selected to contest in AMK GRC based on our own merits, and I think one of the reasons must have been our passion and commitment.
Working with the team, which consists of different backgrounds and ages, has benefited me a lot. The drive from the youth and the maturity from our seniors make the team well-balanced.
Everyone faces different sets of problems from the current policies in place. Who better to understand what the concerns are other than themselves? With the ideas of youth on my side and the experience of our seniors, I think this team is ready to take on anyone.
The PAP has been saying they have not seen us nor any sign yet of the Reform Party in AMK. This to me is an irresponsible remark. To be saying this to the media, it only goes to show they are trying to discredit us. Do they actually know we were already at the AMK MRT at 6.30am? I doubt so. They must have been sleeping while we were working. And where were they when we were talking to the residents from 6.30pm? At home! They had finished their work while we were still toiling away.
The PAP was concerned about our posters not being up; hence they assumed we were not here. I want to ask the AMK residents whether they only want to see posters or the actual persons? Can the posters listen to them, address their issues, and understand their difficulties? Our posters may have been up a little late due to the limited resources at our disposal, but we are definitely on the ground!
The media has been calling us funny names like “suicide squad”, “new kids on the block” and such. I think they have forgotten that they have to be non-partisan. It’s their moral duty to be reporting unbiased reports. I’ve not seen names directed to the PAP. Why not, if they call us “New Kids on the Block”, then we call the PAP Team “Old Hags”.
We at the Reform Party have no time to be engaging in such acts. We are left with only 6 more days before polling. So I hope the media will do what they are tasked to do. That is to report important issues raised by us.
During a speech made last week, PAP de facto leader MR Lee Kuan Yew said:
“Please be reminded. We still need 900,000 foreign workers on work permits.”
Mr Lee did not bother to explain how he arrived at the figure, which did not include foreigners on S, and E passes.
In a frank interview with journalist Mark Jacobson from the National Geographic magazine, Mr Lee spoke about the ruling party’s liberal immigration and pro-foreigner policies. Though he said he was aware of the fact that “many Singaporeans are unhappy with the influx of immigrants”, he continued to insist that it is for “good” for the nation: “Over time, Singaporeans have become less hard-driving and hard-striving. This is why it is a good thing that the nation has welcomed so many Chinese immigrants,” Lee was quoted as saying.
It is wrong for Mr Lee Kuan Yew to say that Singaporeans are less hard-driving and hard-striving, when all of us are in fact, WORKING REALLY HARD to get a decent monthly income. Isn’t that contributing to Singapore’s economy too?
As you know, many Singaporeans DO NOT want more foreigners in the country. Why are they not listening to us? We have nothing against the foreigners here but what we don’t want is more influx of foreigners crowding our tiny island. Our current population stands at just over 5 million. Out of it, 3.2 million are Singaporeans. With Mr Lee’s statement, I can safely say that foreigners will outnumber Singaporeans in the near future.
PAP will open the floodgates to more foreigners to enter Singapore again once they form the government.
Recently, they have stated that the country is banking on the manufacturing industries. As you know, any company structure set up will normally be in a shape of a triangle. The long base of the triangle will normally be the non-management workers. And you can guess who these workers are. Foreigners! To say that the manufacturing field creates jobs for Singaporeans is only a half-truth. What they won’t announce is that the bulk of jobs go to the foreigners.
All this will boost the Singapore economy or GDP, but do local Singaporeans benefit from it? The answer is NO. It only benefits PAP’s Ministers and they can have a bigger salary knowing that their pay structure is linked to GDP. And Singaporeans will reduce their salary to compete with the “FT” low income.
It is clear that our current cheap foreign import policy is here today because we have not had more vigorous confrontation in Parliament and elsewhere.
Ask yourself this question. Why is the PAP bringing in so many “Foreigners” into Singapore?
I’ll give you the answers. It will increase GST collection; it will increase MRT commuters, so SMRT earnings can increase; it will increase the incomes from HDB, due to the housing prices shooting up; it will increase the ERP collection; it will increase tax collection immediately without waiting for the Singapore children to grow up; it will increase CPF collection; it will help MOM to collect more earnings from workers’ permits.
So do you think the Government will care whether you get a job since every MONTH, they can collect $300 million from foreign workers’ levies, amounting to $1.6 billion per year?
I will also touch on the after-effects of having more foreigners in the country like. Fighting for space in MRT. Housing. Public amenities. Crime. Stress / Suicide rate is up. Public Assistance to the poor and needy is insufficient. Residents’ problems (quoting a few stories of their difficulties).
Singaporeans slog hard day in and day out for their entire lives just to earn enough money to pay for inflated public housing, after which, they are probably left with little money for their retirement. Worse still, they may find themselves being retrenched and replaced in the prime of their lives by some foreign “talent” who is more “hard-driving”, in the words of Mr Lee.
KEEP SINGAPORE SINGAPOREAN!!!! Come 7th May 2011, vote for The Reform Party!!! Thank you.
Lim Zi Rui
Friends and members of the audience, we have become a nation of disillusioned people. Satisfaction with our leaders, institutions and ideals has reached an all-time low. Our government has resorted to smear tactics and is now showing its true colours – it seems they have nothing credible to offer other than the same old rhetoric they have been using against us for more than 50 years. We have read about revolutions across the globe. It’s a wake-up call. We are not going to create havoc – that’s the last thing on our minds. We have to wake up to your rights as citizens. Think about our future and our children’s future. We have to be more involved in nation building and take an interest in politics.
To read rest of the transcript, please click here.
The values we were brought up to believe in, such as meritocracy and equality has been a farce. We have been conditioned to live with the idea of exchanging freedom for prosperity through propaganda. The domination of the PAP effectively killed our interest in politics. Singapore has become Singapore Incorporated.
The generation before us experienced a similar revolution – they fought hard for our independence and supported our revolutionary leaders to make Singapore what it is today. Unfortunately, our government has repeatedly ignored our Ah gongs and Ah mas. The so-called Generation Y Singaporeans are now facing a similar prospect. They are experiencing stagnating wages and unemployment. Citizens are unhappy, but yet are too afraid to voice out in support of the opposition. I will tell you this now; do not be afraid. Tell your friends what I have told you tonight; please do not persist in perpetuating this urban myth. For many years we have heard stories of Singaporeans losing their jobs or businesses if they support or vote for the Opposition. This is complete rubbish! The police will not come knocking on your door if you did. When people spread such myths, they are doing themselves and others a great disservice. If the myth were true, I wouldn’t be standing here tonight.
The focus on Generation Y was sparked by the introduction of young PAP candidates. A huge number of young voters have expressed discontent and discomfort with the choice of PAP candidates; so much so that it has given PAP the jitters. We are not looking for candidates with academic qualifications or impressive resumes. We are looking for candidates to represent Singaporeans; not with the intent to deceive people with a false sense of concern.
The liberal immigration policies have brought much unhappiness. Most Singaporeans do not feel that their lives have improved after the influx of foreigners (in case you do not know, I am referring to PMETs). Scholarships and allowances were given to foreign students even though the local student is of the same calibre. While Singaporean students, of more humble backgrounds, have to teach tuition and slog after school, we are spending money on a number of foreign talents. Inequality persists in our society.
Looking at just NTU, the policies of allocating hall with a huge weighting given to distance points basically puts Singaporeans at a disadvantage made worst by insufficient halls.
National Service sticks out like a sore thumb. When I asked SM Goh a question during the NTU Ministerial Forum, I asked out of genuine concern; regarding the social fabric of Singapore, his reply to me was that of someone who is not connected to the people; he wasn’t listening, he was dictating. Mr Seah Yin Hwa at the NUS forum posted a question to PM Lee, perhaps to seek for more equal treatment, but was met with affirmations that such inequality is actually enforced. Is this the direction that we want Singapore to go forward?
Competition is tough. With so many people looking for jobs, it’s hard for the average graduate to find a decent job with a decent salary. In Singapore, the average male student graduates at 25 years old while a typical scholar from overseas does so at 22 or 23. That is a huge head start; we are held back because of our compulsory obligation to serve 2 years in National Service. Is this FAIR? Instead of spending billions of dollars a year on military defence, we should focus on strengthening ties with our neighbours. If you have ministers that repeatedly make cynical remarks about our neighbours across the causeway or across the straits of Sumatra; you will naturally make enemies.
Singapore is a land of opportunities for foreigners. Yes, they create jobs, but jobs for themselves. How so? There have been instances where a company from PRC (for example) are recruiting their own citizens to become management trainees (and is not open to other nationals including Singaporeans). Given that most students from PRC are scholarship holders at the sponsorship of Singapore, I do not see how they can fulfill their 3 or 6 years of obligations in Singapore and what Singapore can do to recover the sponsorship once they go back to China.
The future is now. Take back what is rightfully ours. We cannot afford to bring in another 900,000 foreign talents into Singapore. We are already sinking as we are. Do we want to follow our incumbents when they sink?
I want to ask every one of you, what are we defending?
The answer for me is clear.
My name is Ho Soak Harn. Before I was nominated as a Reform Party candidate for the West Coast GRC team, I started first as an Reform Party volunteer, over 1.5 years ago, going door-to-door to your homes in the West Coast, As I increased my commitment to the Reform, I was later appointed head of the Women’s Wing.
To read rest of the transcript, please click here.
Now you men out there may be thinking now – humm, women’s issues. Ok, not my “tai qi” – Time for me to faster take a toilet break and come back. But actually, women’s issues are relevant to us all – because they affect your wives, our mothers, our sisters, our grandmothers – and is piviotal to what happens to the Singapore family, and Singapore as a whole.
I have spoken for two nights at Clementi Stadium on why we need change in Singapore. That Singaporeans must come first in Singapore. That its now time for the PAP to admit the current system is not working.
Especially for lowly educated old women in Singapore. You see them at the kopi tiams, picking through the rubbish bins, they are the ones selling tissue, collecting cans and cardboard boxes, cleaning tables. You think they can earn enough doing this to survive and pay healthcare bills? No! Especially since we now have foreigners who do not mind working longer hours for lower pay, thus replacing lowly educated,old women in jobs as cleaners, kitchen help, cashiers. A cleaner who used to be paid about $800 a few years ago, is now typically paid about $650, or even lower, for working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.
That’s why the elderly without children to support them, and the disabled. qualify for public assistance. But 50% of applications for public assistance were declined when the question was last asked in parliament. Let me tell you what the Reform Party will do when elected into Parliament. We will push for an increase in the public assistance from $350/mth right now to at least $500.
How are we going to pay for this? Well, PAP ministers currently earn $4m a month. Shall we use some of that to take care of those Singaporeans unable to help themselves?
Not because we want to become a welfare society. NO. But because Singapore, a rich, first world, developed country, needs to help those Singaporeans among us left behind.
Lets also face the hard facts – more and more Singaporean women are staying single. While the Reform Party believes the family unit is at the core of our society, we recognize that the Singapore demographics have changed, and we have to take care of the singles in our society too. Unmarried Singaporeans are tax-paying, contributing Singaporeans too! Do you think they should receive unequal treatment, and be wait till age 35 to buy an HDB flat?
The Reform Party wants to lower the age where single Singaporeans qualify to buy an HDB flat from 35 to 25. We will push for smaller, cheaper 1 room, 2 room flats, and these “starter flats” which will cost under $150k. That way, the housing loan can be paid off after 15 years. This way, single Singaporeans can start investing in their future by building equity in their own homes, have greater sense of ownership of this country as a Singaporean, then as they get married, start family, can sell off their “starter” flats to upgrade to bigger 3-room and above flats.
Now I want to address one more thing. Working mothers. At the Reform party, we have plans on how we can solve the problem of the declining birth rate, to encourage couples to start families and have children. Many people do not realise how hard a decision it is for a woman climbing the career ladder to give up what she has achieved to start a family. Some women don’t even have the luxury of such a decision; a single income source is just not enough to pay for the flat, living expenses, and support parents from both sides. Many decide to continue working full time out of not having a choice.
I also know women who forego careers for children only to regret it a few years later. It is all these considerations that make couples shelve family plans for now, till they feel they have achieved more in their careers, or till they feel they can afford it.
The Reform Party believes that public policy must be shaped so that the business environment embraces part-time workers, which the government could encourage through incentives.
Part-time jobs give mothers a choice. It allows a mother to continue working. it can achieve better fertility rates while keeping a good percentage of Singaporeans in the workforce. Most of all, a mother can spend time with child during its most formative years.
Those of you whom I have met on walkabout have heard me say this. I believe in a Singapore for Singaporeans. Where Singaporeans come first. We as Singaporeans must do this together, no matter rich or poor, Chinese, Indian, Malay or Eurasian.
We must come together, and uphold our responsibilities to one another and pass on to our children the country we believe in. On May 7, when you cast your vote, please vote for change, vote for the Reform Party.