10 Interesting Things That Happened During Yesterday’s GE Debate That Sounds Like Amos Yee is Back

Last Updated on 2020-07-03 , 10:17 pm

Yesterday (1 July), the country tuned in to a live GE2020 political debate to watch four men take barely veiled jibes at each other.

The candidates are from the four political parties that are contesting the most seats in the General Election, namely:

  • Vivian Balakrishnan – People’s Action Party (PAP)
  • Jamus Lim – Worker’s Party (WP)
  • Chee Soon Juan – Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)
  • Francis Yuen – Progress Singapore Party (PSP)

The four candidates debated a wide range of issues, including unemployment, aid for businesses, and social mobility.

The one-hour debate was split into two segments. In the first segment, candidates responded to questions posed by moderator CNA Digital Chief Editor Jaime Ho.

In the second, candidates were given time to ask each other questions.

If you missed the debate, or were so busy watching the third season of Dark on Netflix that you completely forgot about our upcoming election, here are 10 interesting things that happened during yesterday’s debate:

1. Amos Yee Has Been Reincarnated

For those who don’t know, Amos Yee is a Singaporean blogger who shot to fame after he made a video criticizing the late Lee Kuan Yew after he died.

He was subsequently arrested on multiple charges, and was sentenced to jail, though he only ended up serving 53 days in remand.

What’s unique about Yee is his accent, which sounds like a mix of American and Donald Duck.

In the debate, netizens noticed that WP’s Dr Jamus Lim sounds a little like Amos Yee, though a little more matured, of course.

Image: Hardware Zone
Image: Hardware Zone

Don’t worship Amos Yee as your defender of free speech though, he recently defended pedophilia. 

2. PAP’s Candidate Was Given More Time To Respond to Questions

Oddly, the three opposition candidates were each given one-and-a-half minutes to respond to questions from the moderator, while the PAP candidate was given four-and-a-half minutes.

One could argue that Dr Balakrishnan would need more time because he would have to address points from three opposing parties, but that’s assuming that the three opposition parties all agreed with each other.

3. Dr Balakrishnan Called Dr Chee Soon Juan’s Point a “Cheap Shot”

At one point during the debate, where candidates could ask questions of one another, Dr Chee asked about supposed plans of the government to raise the population to 10 million.

In response, Dr Balakrishnan said the Prime Minister’s Office had issued a statement “advising people like you not to indulge in falsehoods”.

Dr Chee interjected, saying that he could cite the interview he was referring to. Dr Balakrishnan responded by calling it a “cheap shot.”

The authorities have recently released a statement refuting Dr Chee’s claim.

4. SDP’s Dr Chee Proposed To Suspend GST until 2021

SDP’s central campaign theme this year is  “Four Yes, One No”, which refers to their proposals and policies for this election.

In it they say Yes to:

  1. Suspending GST
  2. Paying Retrenchment Benefits
  3. Providing Income to Retirees
  4. Putting People First

In the debate, Dr Chee said that his party proposes to suspend GST at least until 2021, presumably to combat the financial instability that many are facing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

5. Dr Balakrishnan Said People Have Called the WP “PAP lite or PAP-like”

In the question and answer segment, Dr Balakrishnan said that he read WP’s manifesto for this year’s election and said that PAP could have written the same manifesto.

“That’s why people have called the Worker’s Party “PAP lite or PAP-like”, he said.

Image: Giphy

Dr Balakrishnan said that WP simply uses PAP’s stand as a reference and takes a “half step to the left”.

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6. PSP’s Yuen said Government “Obsessed” With Growing the Economy

In his closing speech, PSP’s Yuen said that the government has been “obsessed” with growing the country’s economy, while neglecting the “welfare of the people”.

Yuen said that a country should drive economic growth for the betterment of its people, so that it improves the quality of life.

“Economic growth must be not at all costs. There must be the other side, the compassionate side,” he said.

7. Dr Balakrishnan Asked Dr Chee Not To Engage in “Class Warfare”

In his wrap-up, Dr Balakrishnan urged Dr Chee not to indulge in “class warfare” saying it will only divide Singaporeans.

“In all these things, have a care that you are not actually engaging in class warfare and not trying to divide our society,” he said. “I believe Singaporeans remain a united, cohesive people and we want to uplift everyone.”

“Don’t indulge in this. Don’t take it out against people who, through no fault of their own, have been somewhat more successful.”

The PAP candidate was likely referring to Dr Chee’s proposal to implement a wealth tax.

8. WP’s Dr Lim said PAP Doesn’t Have a “Monopoly On the Best Ideas”

Dr Lim, the candidate lauded for his debating abilities by netizens, said that he “enjoyed the debate”, and said it shows that PAP doesn’t have a “monopoly on the best ideas on how we should bring the society forward”.

PSP’s Francis Yuen echoed Lim’s sentiments, stating: “We believe that there should be free contest of ideas, alternative solutions and constructive voices in Parliament.”

In response, Dr Balakrishnan said: “the PAP does not claim a monopoly on wisdom”, adding that the PAP is “not afraid of an open contest of ideas”.

9. Dr Balakrishnan Called Covid-19 the “Greatest Crisis of our Lifetime”

The Covid-19 pandemic was bound to come up, given how devastating it has been.

Dr Balakrishnan called the coronavirus outbreak the “greatest crisis of our lifetime”, saying it’s a deeper depression than even that in the 1930s.

This is why, he said, that the central focus of PAP’s campaign this election is “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs”.

He also cited schemes such as the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), which were introduced to provide Singaporeans with immediate financial relief.

10. Dr Lim Said WP are Trying To Deny PAP a “Blank Cheque”

In his closing speech, Dr Lim said that the PAP has argued that they need the people’s support in the election so they can “bring the country out of this crisis”.

“What we are trying to deny the PAP isn’t a mandate. What we’re trying to deny them is a blank cheque.”

Here, Lim is saying that the WP doesn’t want to grant unlimited freedom of action to PAP, and that debates like this are integral to the country’s success.

If you missed the debate yesterday and enjoy watching politicians clashing, you can watch the entire thing here:

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