We don’t want to turn Parliament into a theatre: WP chief Low Thia Khiang

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Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang defended the performance of his party’s MPs in Parliament, saying the party is a “responsible” one that does not turn parliamentary sittings “into a theatre”.

He was responding to criticism made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong the day before.

Mr Lee, who is also Secretary-General of the People’s Action Party (PAP), had said at a press conference that the Opposition’s performance had been disappointing.

The Prime Minister said that, after making “fierce rousing speeches” on issues at election rallies, Opposition MPs did not raise those issues in Parliament. “So you voted for a tiger in the chamber and you got a mouse in the house,” Mr Lee added.

Speaking to reporters during a walkabout in Hougang on Wednesday morning, Mr Low responded by asking Mr Lee to look up the Hansard parliamentary records on WP’s work in the legislature. “We are a responsible party, we do not turn parliamentary sittings into a theatre,” Mr Low said.

Mr Low also sought to turn the tables by accusing the PAP of having “flip-flopped” on policies.

PAP Holland-Bukit Timah candidate Sim Ann had said on a political forum in Mandarin which was televised live on Tuesday night that the WP had flip-flopped on its position on issues in Parliament.

Mr Low said on Wednesday that it was in fact the PAP which had flip-flopped.

He said that he would leave it to Singaporeans to judge the U-turns which the PAP government has made, but cited the 6.9 million projected population figure which was mentioned – and subsequently triggered a public outcry – in the Population White Paper released in 2013.

“After some pressure from the public, the PAP said it is actually a planning parameter”, he said.

Mr Low agreed with Mr Lee’s earlier comments that Singaporeans should vote wisely in the upcoming General Election.

“When they have been in power for the last few decades … the PAP said Singaporeans might have to receive care treatment in Malaysia when they are old,” he said. Speaking in Teochew, he added that people have to wait for such a long time to see a specialist doctor, that they might have to “wait till they die”.

Mr Low, who had previously said at least 20 Opposition Members of Parliament are needed in the House to serve as checks and balance, reiterated his calls. “I spoke up for the last 20 years (as Hougang MP). When I moved out to Aljunied, you saw the changes”, said Mr Low. “Let’s face the fact – numbers count.”

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