PARLIAMENT | DEBATE ON POPULATION WHITE PAPER
By Rachel Chang
AMID talk of an impending silver tsunami, PAP MP Lim Wee Kiak (Nee Soon GRC) predicted yesterday that the "political tsunami" would come first.
The results from the 2011 General Election, and the last two by-elections in Hougang and Punggol East - both of which the PAP lost - were "loud and clear warnings" of the shifting of the political tectonic plates, he noted.
And in the face of a "rising tide of anti-PAP sentiment", he said, some had called the Population White Paper a "suicide paper" for the party. Yet, he stressed that the Workers' Party's (WP's) plan was worse.
"The feedback I received from my friends was that the alternative plans would kill the economy and this is euthanasia for Singapore. Between suicide for PAP versus euthanasia for the country... my choice is clear, I support the White Paper," he said.
During an impassioned speech that earned chair thumps, Dr Lim also outlined the difficult quandary the PAP is in, as he mulled over the prediction that PAP might one day "cede control to govern".
"After the last tsunami warning, I'm beginning to believe that that day may come sooner rather than later," he said.
Members of the public have told him that the Opposition has reasoned itself into the upper hand no matter what. It will claim credit if the Government delivers on promises; if it does not, it will go on the offensive.
WP chief Low Thia Khiang later objected to this portrayal: "I think he gives the impression that the Singaporean voter is an idiot, as if they cannot distinguish and just simply listen to what we have to say at the election rallies."
Dr Lim replied: "I don't think he should use the word 'idiot' in this particular chamber... Of course I'm very sure Singaporeans will make a very decisive choice, a very informed choice, after reading both proposals."
He also challenged the WP to "walk the talk" of its proposals and extend to employees of its town council the work-life balance measures it suggested in the past week, including an eight-hour workday and two weeks of "bonding leave" for fathers.
The two also clashed on Mr Low's supposed flip-flopping over the foreign worker intake.
At one point, Dr Lim said that Mr Low had misheard him, and should "turn his hearing aid up". He later apologised for the remark.