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    May 04, 2016

    Chee: Who's my opponent? Murali or PAP leaders?

    SINGAPORE Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan yesterday questioned who his opponent is in the Bukit Batok by-election.

    He said People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai is "not saying anything" but "everybody else" is.

    He was referring to PAP leaders, who have asked voters to consider a candidate's character in deciding who to vote for.

    "All I know is that I'm getting very confused who my opponent is," Dr Chee said to reporters after a morning walk-about in Bukit Batok.

    "I thought it is Mr Murali. It is turning out to be everybody else except him."

    Asked by reporters about social media remarks on Monday by Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, Dr Chee declined to comment.

    ESM Goh, in a Facebook post, had compared Dr Chee to a fox persuading a farmer to let it tend to the hen house.

    Mr Tan had listed the various duties his grassroots activists carried out, in response to Dr Chee's comments that an MP needs to do more than just greet residents.

    On the retrenchment insurance scheme he has been pushing for, Dr Chee said it was gaining traction and even Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed the issue in his May Day rally on Sunday.

    PM Lee said MPs may raise the issue of unemployment insurance as it is an "evergreen" one. But he warned that workers would have pay for such an insurance, which could end up disincentivising people from looking for a job.

    In Singapore, the Government funds programmes to support workers who are making an effort to get back into a job and who upgrade their skills to make themselves more valuable, said Mr Lee.

    But Dr Chee argued yesterday that it is not enough to help workers retrain and boost their skills, adding that upgrading efforts are undermined by the influx of foreign workers who are willing to work for salaries that Singaporeans cannot survive on.