Think Centre Editorial
21 June 2003
Eschatological tracts from religious texts give people more hope than the recommendations of the politically conservative Remaking Singapore committee. Detractors of the PAP had initially thought that the recommendations would be slightly better than the S21 report but the recommendations except for equal pay and medical benefits for women, have shown that they are abysmally short of even the non-believers expectations. The truth is that the recommendations highlight that the whole exercise was a waste of time and taxpayers’ money primarily because the issues raised were always debated in the public domain in one form or another. However, the disappointing aspect has been that the recommendations are reflections of the political conservatism of the old PAP.
Like S21, the Remaking Singapore committee is trying to sell to the Singapore electorate the idea that the PAP is a dynamic party that listens to the people and that they and only they can exact changes without any major disruptions. It is part of a clever propaganda exercise to show that the PAP really cares and they are trying their best to find clever solutions to new problems. But some of these problems have been debated since the 1980 elections and yet no solutions were found.
The recommendations are as hollow as the words of the former Iraqi information minister. The PAP is pouring old wine into new bottles to market themselves as a party that listens to feedback and a party that can
be radical. This is not true. The PAP does not listen to feedback and nearing its fiftieth anniversary the party has successfully transformed itself as the bastion of Confucianist Conservatism.
These recommendations serve only two purposes. One, to provide some boost in self-image for PAP activists and the believers that they serve a party that has some compassion for the common man. Two, to provide the necessary mirage to gain the apathetic Singaporean vote on the pretext that they care and listen and act upon feedback.
What does this all mean? It means that the so-called liberal wing of the PAP is dead and buried. It also means that Singaporeans can continue their
constipated frustrations with the government as political apathy and an uneven electoral field continues.
An old man is taking ownership of Singapore in his own way by selling his books despite being made a bankrupt because he wanted to take ownership of Singapore. PAP ministers and MPs who have entered parliament through the door should be more humble when they ask Singaporeans to take ownership of this country. Our fathers and mothers made this country prosper because they wanted a stake in it. It is the PAP who has alienated themselves from the people and not the other way round. Your illiberal democratic practices are the main obstacles to taking ownership of this country. By the way taking ownership of this country is the peoples’ right not one you the PAP recommend.