Workers' Party welcomes scrutiny of its manifesto

Workers' Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim welcomed scrutiny from voters on its election manifesto. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

WORKERS' Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim on Wednesday night welcomed scrutiny from voters on its election manifesto.

Responding to criticisms that People's Action Party (PAP) leaders have levied on the party's election manifesto, Ms Lim told reporters on the sidelines of the Hougang meet-the-people session: 'We believe in transparency and we want to be seen as a serious party.'

Another WP member Gerald Giam, who was also at the MPS, said the party's manifesto contains 220 proposals covering 15 broad areas.

He said they included spending cuts and ways to help raise revenue for the government.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was the latest PAP leader to weigh in on the WP manifesto, titled Towards A First World Parliament, which Ms Lim launched on Saturday.

During a live televised forum with a panel on Tuesday night, PM Lee said voters should ask opposition parties on how they would fund some of the plans outlined in their manifestos, such as a needs-based welfare system and nationalised bus services.

Other proposals include more spending on health care, higher cash components for low-wage workers pegged to the cost of living, government-paid paternity leave and pegging prices of new Housing Board flats to median incomes of households, instead of resale market rates.

Other PAP ministers who have spoken out this week against the WP manifesto include Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng, Minister in the Prime Minister's Officer Lim Boon Heng and Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong.

WP chief Mr Low said on Sunday that the party is prepared to debate and defend its manifesto, which he described as the work of many people since 2006. He also said its manifesto may mean more government spending or a reallocation of funds as it stems from a different philosophy from the PAP.

Mr Low did not take questions from reporters on Wednesday night.