Tonight, I want to touch briefly on an issue that is close to the heart of many Singaporeans, including Hougang residents.
I want to talk about healthcare in Singapore.
Most Singaporeans, especially the elderly, worry a lot about falling ill.
They are concerned not just about the painful treatment they have to go through, but also the painful amount of money they have to spend.
They are concerned about the financial burden they may place on their children.
But when Singaporeans cry out and tell the government that healthcare is getting too expensive, the PAP boasts about their 3Ms financing framework—Medisave, MediShield and Medifund.
They say that this is how the Government helps Singaporeans pay for their healthcare expenses.
But of the three Ms, two come from your own pocket. Last M—Medifund—is only available to the very poor, who have used up all their savings and as well as their children’s savings.
Medisave is your own hard-earned savings. It is not a gift from the government.
MediShield is a health insurance scheme. You pay premiums for most of your life, and you can only draw from it if you are very sick.
The government also does not subsidise MediShield. In fact, I asked in Parliament how much MediShield has collected in premiums, and how much they have paid out in claims.
Who wants to make a guess—did they collect more or did they pay out more?
Between 2006 and 2010, MediShield collected an average of $131 million more in premiums each year than it paid out in claims. $131 million every year.
Because the PAP operates MediShield like a commercial insurance scheme, premiums shoot up as one gets older. So after you retire and have less money on hand, you find yourself paying higher and higher premiums and deductibles. Yet, this is precisely the time when you need more medical care.
I have called in Parliament on the Government to avoid increasing premiums when they expand coverage, but instead use some of the millions of dollars collected in premiums to fund the scheme. The Government has refused.
These are complex issues. It is hard to go into details during election rallies. Also, the PAP can choose not to reply to what we say during election rallies. But in Parliament, they cannot ignore us. They have to respond. They must either justify their position, or change their policy.
This is why we need you to send more Workers’ Party candidates to Parliament, so that we can fight for your rights.
If you vote Png Eng Huat into Parliament, he will work with the rest of the Workers’ Party MPs to push the Government to reduce healthcare costs for the people.
Voters of Hougang, this is our last election rally and the last day of campaigning.
There have been many distractions during this election campaign. But I urge you to focus on what is important for you and your family.
This is a by-election to decide whether you want the Workers’ Party to continue serving you in Hougang and representing you in Parliament.
The PAP has thrown up a couple of goodies to entice you. Actually the goodies this time are not as good as in previous elections. They are just promising you a couple of covered walkways, which the Workers’ Party is already planning for you.
In 2006, they promised you $100 million to upgrade your ward if you voted for them. You rejected that carrot, because for you, having a credible opposition voice in Parliament is more important than upgrading.
Voters of Hougang, the PAP has punished you for years for voting for the Workers’ Party. They used you as a whipping boy to set an example to other constituencies, to show them the consequences of voting for the opposition.
Now the PAP is asking the people of Hougang to make a fresh start and vote in a PAP candidate who will work with the government to improve your lives. They tell you that they have always been here for you.
Who has been here for you and working with you for the past 20 years to improve your lives? Not the PAP for sure. They have been working against you to make your lives miserable.
How dare they come and expect your vote now.
The PAP put Hougang at the end of the queue for HDB upgrading. Well, 20 years have passed, and we have already reached the end of the queue. The Government promised that all eligible flats, even in opposition wards, will be given lift upgrading by 2014 . That is just two years away.
On Tuesday night, Mr Png Eng Huat listed out the blocks that the town council has nominated for upgrading.
So upgrading is no longer an issue. You will get upgrading, even if you vote for the Workers’ Party.
With that out of the way, I urge you, voters of Hougang, to think about your future and your children’s future as you vote.
Hougang has been the shining light of democracy for over 20 years. Do you want to keep it that way?
The PAP asks you to vote for change. But leopard cannot change its spots. You cannot have change if you vote for the PAP.
Mr Desmond Choo cannot pressure the PAP government to change. He is not an independent voice like he claims to be. He is part of the PAP.
If you want change, vote for the Workers’ Party.
DPM Teo Chee Hean keeps implying that our candidate is not our best man for Hougang and that we are taking Hougang voters for granted.
But the PAP fielded in this by election their worst performing candidate from the 2011 General Election. Mr Desmond Choo got just 35% of the votes.
If the PAP is serious about winning Hougang, why don’t they field one of their minister-calibre candidates here? They are so full of talent, aren’t they?
There are three ministers who were forced into early retirement last year after they lost in Aljunied GRC. Why not field them instead of Mr Choo?
So tell me, who is taking Hougang voters for granted?
We have put forward Png Eng Huat because we believe he is the best man for Hougang.
He understands Hougang residents. He has a track record of serving Hougang residents since 2006. He demonstrated through his actions that he cares for you and will look after you well.
He will speak up boldly for you in Parliament.
Voters of Hougang, in two days’ time when you walk into the polling booth, send a message to the PAP that the people of Hougang continue to stand tall, and stand proud, and will never, never be intimidated by the PAP.
Vote for the Workers’ Party. Vote for Png Eng Huat!