08 September 2015

Reflections On PAP's GE Statements

How should we respond to some of the statements made by the PAP during GE 2015?

The Government has delivered on all its promises to improve our lives. (Lee Hsien Loong)

PM Lee said in his swearing-in ceremony on 21 May 2011:

"I pledge to work together with all Singaporeans to create a just and fair society, which gives all citizens the best start in life, and leaves no one behind. A Singapore which is open to the world yet puts Singaporeans first. A Singapore which excites our young and respects our old. A society that nurtures and inspires the human spirit, beyond material success. Rich or poor, young or old, men or women, Singapore is our home. Here we all belong. Here we can work together for the common good, and share our pride in being Singaporeans."

Has the PAP Government delivered on all (PM Lee's word) its promises to improve our lives?


The Singapore economy is at a turning point. (Lee Hsien Loong)

Interpretation 1. At no time is the economy predictable, as the 2008 global financial crisis showed us. No one really knows whether the economy is at a turning point except with hindsight, unless the PAP Government knows something that it hasn't told us.

Interpretation 2. This is nothing more than a fear tactic. In uncertain times, some people think that it is better to go with the "devil" you know rather than the "devil" you don't. However, the "devil" you don't know may turn out to be an angel.


This election is a serious matter. (Lee Hsien Loong)

Election is not a game — the nation's future is at stake. (Lee Hsien Loong)

All elections are serious matters. Does PM Lee consider that voters don't treat an election seriously only when they don't vote for the PAP?


There is no guarantee that the PAP will form the next government. (Khaw Boon Wan and others)

This is the PAP's usual scare tactic. However, it is unlikely to come about in GE 2015 given the current political landscape but if it does, it is the will of the majority of the people.


This election will be critical. (Lee Hsien Loong)

Voters will be deciding who not only will govern Singapore for the next five years but will be working with the voters for the next 15-20 years; voters will be setting the direction for Singapore for the next 50 years; voters will be determining the future for Singapore.  (Lee Hsien Loong)

Every general election is critical because voters will be deciding not only who will govern Singapore but also who will form the opposition to provide the necessary checks and balances on the government and the alternative government in the future when the PAP fails.

Do we really want the government — any government, whether or not formed by the PAP — to set the direction for Singapore for the next 50 years, especially if it is a direction that may prove difficult if not impossible to change in the future?

For example:

▪ We don't want a population of 6.9 million by 2030, even though the PAP government claims it is only a planning parameter.

▪ We want to preserve the Singaporean (meaning citizen not including permanent resident) core in the population and the work force, and this does not necessarily mean that this aspiration is achieved with the 2:1 ratio of residents (i.e., citizens plus permanent residents) to foreigners that has been unilaterally determined by the PAP government.

▪ We do not want casinos in Singapore.


For many years, the PAP was the only party in Parliament. Until GE 2011, there were very few opposition MPs. Has the PAP let the people down? The PAP is its own checks. The opposition's claims of checks and balance is a seductive lie. (Goh Chok Tong)

Has the PAP let us down? Should we depend on the PAP to be its own checks and balance? Just one example is enough:



At the ballot box, value stability. (Goh Chok Tong)

Political stability is achieved not by having a single political party with overwhelming majority in Parliament to do almost what it wants. Rather, it is achieved by having a credible opposition party with sufficient MPs to debate issues and check and balance the government, and to form the alternative government when the incumbent government fails. Instability may result when the incumbent government fails and there is no other party with experienced leaders to form the alternative government.


The opposition is disappointing. (Lee Hsien Loong)

Think about it: this is a positive endorsement of the opposition in general and The Workers' Party in particular. Why would the PAP Government praise the opposition, especially at a general election?

Consider this example: last November, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo's stubbornly rejected a proposal by an NMP (who was not even an opposition MP) to amend the Pioneer Generation Fund Bill so that it would be clear that the Pioneer Generation benefits would not be means tested, and because Ms Teo rejected it, all the PAP MPs present voted against it. Who was disappointing?


Today's Singapore didn't happen by chance.

See above example on population and immigration.

The PAP Government takes credit for good things (as it should, to the extent that these are attributable to its efforts) but does it similarly take responsibility for the bad (again, to the extent that these are attributable to its actions or inaction)?


Opposition parties and some Singaporeans believe that having more alternative voices in Parliament after the 2011 General Election led to the Government adopting more redistributive and inclusive policy measures. The rooster crows when the sun rises and it goes around boasting that its crowing causes the sun to rise. (Goh Chok Tong)

The new policy measures introduced by the PAP Government were a necessary response to the wave of discontent and its impact on the PAP's performance in GE 2011. The PAP Government had no choice but to address the people's concerns. The same wave of discontent sent an increased number of opposition MPs to Parliament to represent the unhappy voters and press for changes in Government policies. The opposition MPs would have been more effective had their numbers in Parliament been much larger.


AHPETC

In 2010, the 14 PAP-managed town councils sold the town council management system ("TCMS") that they jointly owned to PAP-owned Action Information Management Pte Ltd ("AIM") and immediately leased it back. AIM was given the power to terminate the lease contracts by giving one month's notice in the event of material changes to the membership, or to the scope and duties, such as changes to the boundaries, of that town. Following GE 2011, The Workers' Party found that Aljunied-Hougang Town Council could lose its TCMS at short notice and had to develop its own TCMS quickly.

The TCMS is crucial for the effective management of a town council. Without it, a town council will find it difficult, if not almost impossible, to keep track of its payments, receipts, payables, receivables etc.

---------------
Notes

1. The statements attributed to PAP candidates are not verbatim. They have been edited for brevity and relevance.


This article was updated on 8 Sep 2015 at 10:05 am.

1 comment:

  1. if this election is such a serious, crucial and important event, why did the PAP decide on just eight days of campaigning? shouldn't there have been more days, so issues can be thrashed out, thought thru and discussed? why are we being made to rush our decision?

    ReplyDelete