TO those who like their political debates sharp and hard, the upcoming election promises some fireworks if early exchanges are any indication.
A day after his attack on the People's Action Party (PAP), Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) chairman Chiam See Tong got a taste of his own medicine. Mr Chiam had said that though the PAP was criticising the Workers' Party's (WP) manifesto, it was no different from promises made in the ruling party's own founding manifesto.
On Friday, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Charles Chong hit back. "I would suggest Mr Chiam be more up-to-date and not look back at 1954. Since then, things have moved and times have changed," he said.
Mr Seng Han Thong, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, took issue with Mr Chiam's claims that by cutting employers' CPF contributions during the 1990s recession, the PAP had "reneged on promises" to the workers.
Said Mr Seng: "Wage restructuring was a worldwide phenomenon, not unique to Singapore. We were one of the economies which recovered sooner than the others because of right policies … which were supported by workers."
Veteran MP Tan Cheng Bock, who has served in Parliament for the last 26 years, added: "If we had not delivered what we promised, we would be in trouble at every general elections ... I don't see why we should apologise for what we have been doing consistently."
The PAP MPs also called on Mr Chiam to take a stand on the issues under debate.
Mr Chong wanted to know what Mr Chiam's position on the specific issues on which the PAP had rebuked the WP was. In his parting shot, Dr Tan said: "If they (the Opposition) can't form the Government, what's the use of talking about all this?"
As with all elections, the drama continues as each party attempts to be more vitrolic than the other. For a veteran, the parting shot was much to be desired.