Thank you, residents of East Coast GRC

I would like to say a huge big thank you to the residents of East Coast GRC for their warm support and tremendous turnout in the last General Election 2011. Thank you especially to the 49,429 voters (or 45.17%) who voted for the Workers’ Party team. I’m sorry we didn’t manage to win, but I believe that your votes still counted.

I would like to say a huge big thank you to the residents of East Coast GRC for their warm support and tremendous turnout in the last General Election 2011.

Thank you especially to the 49,429 voters (or 45.17%) who voted for the Workers’ Party team. I’m sorry we didn’t manage to win, but I believe that your votes still counted. The 8 WP MPs and NCMPs in the next Parliament will be your voice too.

To the voters who didn’t vote for WP, we heard you too. We will continue our work in East Coast GRC and strive hard to win your confidence and trust by the next election.

I want to also thank the more than 160 volunteers and WP members who stepped forward to help us with so many aspects of our campaign — house visits, market walkabouts, hanging up posters and banners, distributing brochures, and serving as polling and counting agents. Your spirit has touched our hearts and spurred us on to fight harder for the win.

Thank you to our election agents who spent weeks slogging it out for us or organise our campaign. We would be nothing without you.

A big thank you to the organising department and media team from WP HQ, for all the work they did in the background — designing and printing our posters and brochures, setting up the rally stages and so much more.

There are so many others that deserve our thanks, and I apologise if I’ve missed out any groups.

I’ll save the last and biggest thanks for my family — my wife, parents and grandmother — who supported me so strongly, served on the campaign team and helped to look after my two kids during my absence while I was on the campaign trail.

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

14 thoughts on “Thank you, residents of East Coast GRC”

  1. Congratulations Gerald, on your appointment of NCMP. Work hard and all the best.

  2. Congratulation Gerald
    For your presentation to Parliament, you may like to ask:

    Who decides the titles of new Ministerial positions?

    Who suddenly decided to create a Emeritus Senior Minister role?

    In America, and most countries, new Ministerial roles have to be approved by the legislature in a long and arduous process.

    We can’t have the Prime Minister or President suddenly make up new Ministerial roles and then give them huge salaries!!

    Where are the checks-and-balances?

  3. Thanks for your kind words.

    @tatsin, in S’pore as with most Commonwealth countries following the Westminster Parliamentary system, the PM appoints his ministers. There is no ‘confirmation’ like in the US. However this is not all bad. In the US, Cabinet Secretaries are not elected, so their only accountability is to the President, unlike in Singapore, where voters can kick out a lousy minister.

    The check-and-balance lies with a strong opposition, which has the mandate from the voters.

  4. It’s true that PM appoints his ministers. But to create NEW ministerial posts, is’nt it proper to go through the legislatural procedures and pass in Parliament.

    The post of SM was created by the then-PM LKY and Mr S Rajaratnam was the 1st SM before he himself took over when he handed the PM to GCT.

    The MM post was created by LHL for LKY when he relinguished his SM post to CGT. LHL went further by creating a 2nd SM post for S Jayakumar.

    Should all these be approved by Parliament?

  5. I find that this is a problem throughout Singapore. Posts are created ad-hoc … and suddenly, you find so many deputies, associates, senior associates etc. this should be stopped. if you want to create new posts, it should go through the proper channels, procedure to create that position. and not left to the incumbent in charge to put up anything to his/her whims and fancy.

  6. funniest I came across … Associate Provost (Special Projects) … my crude interpretation of Special Projects is “saikang”

  7. The Ministers Salary Review Committee members come from the rich elite class that benefited handsomely under the PAP system. It virtually ensures that they will not rock the status quo too much.
    In any case, they have been told upfront, via the Terms of Reference, to use ‘comparable jobs in the private sector’. In other words, they have no freedom to use other benchmarks e.g. salaries of ministers in other countries. The benchmark is dictated to be ‘the private sector’.
    My friends from Mercer Consultants & Hays tell me the salary of top management in major industries in the private sector had a generous increase in 2010.
    Recall too that ministers’ salaries were raised some 26% or so earlier. So, even if the Committee proposes a reduction of 50% from Ministers’ current salaries, the net effect is still millions of dollars for ministers. But many non-numerate stupid Singaporeans will hail it as a reform. The way LHL wants to rush through the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations is clear that there will be no debate on it.

    Others have pointed out that Gerald Ee was a malleable tool for the government to rubber stamp past pet projects that included every transportation fare increase. An ex-Nominated MP, Gerald is the son of distinguished philanthropist, Ee Peng Lian.
    Yet another notable is Stephen Lee Ching Yen who works hand-in-glove with the government elite. Another ex-Nominated MP (NMP), he was, and still is on numerous government related companies eg DBS, SIA & Temasek. He had been Chairman of SIA and CEO of Trade Development Board earlier.
    George Quek, Breadtalk’s CEO is another beneficiary of the PAP’s policies i.e. cheap foreign labor in all Breadtalk outlets. Former PAP MP, Ong Kian Min sits on Breadtalk’s Board.
    Top bracket lawyer Lucien Wong is also Chairman of the Maritime & Port Authority, a government Statutory board of prestige & influence.
    Venture Corp’s CEO Wong Ngit Liong, is ranked by Forbes as amongst Singapore’s wealthiest. He is also Chairman of the National University’s Board of Trustees. I leave it to others to enlighten us on the qualifications of the other esteemed Committee members. Given the intertwined mutual interests of these people with the government, they know where their bread is buttered. How independent can their review be?
    It would indeed be more equitable if some member of the Opposition were on the Committee. As it is, the cards are stacked in the ministers’ favor. Another wayang show, with ministers still pulling in millions. The Opposition has its work cut out for it.

  8. The PAP deliberately got rid of George Yeo. He was never liked by the LHL faction within PAP. He was GCT’s man. If he was really that valuable to them and was really a ‘core’ member (only GCT used this term), they could have easily put Vivian Bala in Aljunied and transfer —- to safe haven GRC of Holland-Bukit Timah.

    LKY, a master of the English language, deliberately used the word ‘repent’ to anger the Christian community to vote against GY.

    To undermine GCT, they inserted a poison pill (TPL) into Marine Parade.

    So on the contrary, the GRC scheme did not back fire on the PAP, not on LHL’s faction in PAP at least. It served their crafty goals well. The GRC system is therefore a two edged sword. It allows PAP to hamper the Opposition and also the flexibility to take down their own.

  9. Like Temasek, GIC has given the ridiculous excuse that it cannot disclose its holdings. It says large investors may mimic its investments and thus rock the small local stock market. At the same time, they disseminate the notion that GIC’s holdings are classified. GIC officers are brain washed into fearing prosecution for leaking state secrets. Even the total size of GIC’s assets under management cannot be mentioned.

    Although it manages the money of the citizens of Singapore, GIC is a law unto itself. GIC is captained by LKY himself for over 20 years until he handed the reins to LHL last week, but remained as adviser. No less than 4 other ministers sit on its board. The public is NOT allow even a glimpse of what gains or losses they have accumulated over the years. At its 30th anniversary few weeks ago, LKY proclaimed tersely that it has done well, not a shred of specifics. In effect he tells us ‘Trust me’. That’s it.

    In hierarchy, it reports to the Ministry of Finance. But in reality which Minister of Finance dare question LKY.

    The GIC headquarters at Capital Towers is awesome as befitting its financial clout. At one time, it had aquariums on several floors, a well-appointed gymnasium with professional trainers. Its people are paid close to private market rates.

    In the past, challenging GIC amounted to near treason. Strictly taboo. State secrets, after all. We have seen bankers talked about GIC in hushed tones.

    Today, Singaporeans have a right to know and should demand to know. The ‘Trust me’ paradigm doesn’t work anymore. The PAP, especially LKY’s compact with the people has been eroded, if not broken. It is therefore high time that the GIC dismount from its high horse and be accountable to the people. LHL has said there are no sacred horses that cannot be openly discussed. Hold him to it!

  10. Dear Mr Giam,

    I was at the NUSS post election session . I want to congratulate WP for its ability to select talent . Clearly your short speech showed so much clarity of thoughts . You also came across as sincere and honest. I think the opposition truly has quality representatives . I wish there were more like you .

  11. @tatsin – Article 25(1) of the Constitution states that “The President shall appoint as Prime Minister a Member of Parliament who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the Members of Parliament, and shall, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint other Ministers from among the Members of Parliament”

    and Article 30(1) states that “The Prime Minister may, by directions in writing —
    (a) charge any Minister with responsibility for any department or subject”

    So legally, it is quite clear that the PM has the discretion to appoint his own ministers and ministerial positions. If we want to change that, we need a 2/3 majority in the House.

    Personally I think it is cumbersome for a formal approval process to be undertaken by Parliament. The important thing is to hold the Ministers accountable for their actions.

    @Jenny Hu – Thanks for the insights and info.

    @Joan Ho – I agree that we need more transparency and accoutability from our SWFs.

    @Cynthia Tan – Thank you. Please call me Gerald.

  12. Dear Gerald,
    I am so disappointed that East Coast GRC failed to be voted into parliament. I am also worried if there are any more chances for WP or any other opposition teams to be voted in in future. The reason is, I heard they are bringing in more foreigners(900k) even while the election was on. Could the govt give these people citizenship in this short period of time(5 years)? How about those who are here already with PR? The mainland chinese came in busloads in support of the PAP during the election. This may form a large bulk of the voters in future and they are usually supportive of PAP since it has given them so much.The govt has been offering the chinese from china with free lodgings and scholarships without any bond, culminating in a citizenship. Also, from third world they have come into singapore which is considered 1st world status now?
    A friend of my sister’s went for a job interview and was told by the interviewer that they prefer to employ foreigners since men in singapore have to go through NS. This is a devastating revelation and I am wondering how the opposition can help singaporeans in this. Please note that a lot of singaporeans are watching how the opposition is performing before they are convinced that they can be voted in in the next election,I am afraid to say so. i pray that you will all be able to perform beyond expectations although personally, I am not as concerned as having an alternative voice in parliament.To me,I think what WP has now,people with a heart for the masses,is enough for me.

  13. Gerald
    5 years as NCMP nevrmind lah, what matter most is u speak from ur heart and the ground will turn sweet for u. Cheers

  14. Fingers crossed the Singaporean Government will start making a few smarter decisions, than the lack of direction evident over the last night of years.

    It will be an important few years to come as China grow in depth, power and strength, their educational system is moving at an incredible pace.

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