By Hoe Yeen Nie | Posted: 24 April 2011 2135 hrs
SINGAPORE : The Workers' Party (WP) Chairman Sylvia Lim has dismissed Mr Mah Bow Tan's assertion that her party's proposals on housing would crash the market.
She said the proposals are confined to new flats, which cater to a limited market, and so will have limited impact.
The Workers' Party said its proposal to price new flats according to median incomes will have a "minimum impact" on the resale market, because the resale market attracts not just first-time homebuyers.
In addition, new HDB flats are subject to strict criteria before they can be bought and sold, which limits the spillover effect on resale prices.
In response to the charge that the party was merely out to win votes, Ms Lim said its proposal is based on real ground concerns.
"We decided to go into this issue because of real ground concerns of parents about their children in the future, whether their children could afford public housing," said Ms Lim.
She continued: "If you go back to the government's main role as a provider of public housing, HDB, affordability (is) the main thing they are concerned about.
"Let's go back to the fundamentals. You still have to come back to incomes, and to see whether people are able to afford the flats and how long it'll take for people to pay for those flats."
The party also introduced five first-time candidates on Sunday.
They are 48-year-old businessman Png Eng Huat; 29-year-old financial consultant Mohamed Fazli Talip; 41-year-old Sajeev Kamalasanan, a partner in an interior design firm; 35-year-old social worker Frieda Chan; and 51-year-old aviation consultant Watson Chong.
The five spoke on their decisions to join the opposition at the party's media conference.
Mr Chong was emotional as he recounted his father-in-law's concerns for his safety and for his family.
"He said, you have a family, you have two young children, why don't you spend time with them? He was worried about my safety too. Because we have a very bad record in politics in Singapore - locking horns, very vindictive kind of politics. There's a fear in people joining politics," said the WP candidate.
Mr Chong said he wasn't concerned about repercussions on himself. He said it's a sign of a maturing society that more people have come forward to join the opposition.
"It's not about me, it's about how my loved ones; how they would suffer if I were to go down. That's why I'm emotional," he said.
Others had a different experience.
Mr Png said: "My family is 100 per cent supportive of this. When I told my daughter I'm with the Workers' Party, she said 'all right!' And she goes around canvassing for votes in her school."
The Workers' Party has said it will contest in four Groups Representation Constituencies (GRC) and four single seat wards. That's 23 candidates in all.
Including its chairman and secretary-general, it has so far unveiled 19 candidates, and it's set to formally introduce its last batch on Monday. And this includes its much talked-about candidate, Chen Show Mao.