A review of PAP ministers’ performance

Sammyboys Alfresco Coffee Shop Forum
23 January 2004

Let’s review each individual minister’s performance in the past years and see what paying them millions of dollars of salaries have done.

Goh Chok Tong

His promise of a more compassionate and gracious society has fallen flat on its face. We continue to see ungracious behaviour in singapore. Leaving and entering MRT trains, impolite behaviour during ‘sales’ promotions, neighbours fighting each other, teenage fights, drunken brawls,children/siblings/family members hauling each other to courts to settle disputes.

Even PAP ministers themselves have been guilty of ungracious behaviours – chief of whom are Ng Eng Hen, boasting of his salary at a time when most singaporeans are having a hard time, and Lee Kuan Yew, for using unkind and violent words to subjugate airline pilots.

GCT’s promise of ‘More Good Years’ and ‘A Better Future’ has also fallen flat on its face. In GCT’s 13 years as PM, we have had one crisis after another – all of whom he attributes to ‘external factors’ which his govt ‘cannot control’. How convenient.

GCT’s promise of a more open society has seen him accepting gay people into the civil service (I will applaud him here), allowing bungee jumping, bar-top dancing, the Speaker’s Corner [SDP’s note: Goh originally turned down the idea of a speakers’ corner, it was Lee Kuan Yew who wanted it], allowing chewing gum for medical purposes, and allowing dialects to be used on tv and radio. No political openness has yet been allowed – we still have no independent election commission ans we still do not know how the GIC is doing with our money.

GCT’s encouragement of Singaporeans to invest their money in unit trusts
resulted in many Singaporeans losing their investments. His urging Singaporeans to buy Singtel shares have also resulted in the same.

GCT failed to get an agreement with Malaysia on the water issue. So, he made Singaporeans drink re-cycled water which is now called Newater. I guess they mean newly-recycled water.

Days after his ‘firecrackers will chase away SARS’ comment, China reported its first most recent case of the virus. Now after his ‘I can feel it in my bones’ remark, Vietnam and Thailand reported cases of bird flu.

The most significant he did was probably to renege on his promise to restore Singaporeans’ CPF. This promise will now no longer be kept.

VERDICT: Not much achieved under his leadership.

Lee Hsien Loong

As DPM he shares the same blame as the PM. I will leave it to other forummers to comment on his role as MAS Chief.

Tony Tan

The year saw hii buying military stuff to ‘beef up’ the SAF which was
activated to light firecrackers recently in Chinatown. Tony Tan made an
unforgettable comment in 2003 saying that Singapore workers are more expensive than American and Australian workers. It was an ignorant comment and one unbecoming of a DPM.

Lee Kuan Yew

As usual, he showed his ‘tough’ side, most recently using violent images to quieten airline pilots. “Broken heads….broken bones”, “I believe that it is better to be feared than to be loved.” The SIA’s use of a plane to fetch his wife back from London caused an uproar. Later he said that he will be paying the cost of SIA sending a plane to fetch his wife. But the actual cost was never revealed.

Mah Bow Tan

17,000 HDB flats remain vacant. HDB flats’ windows keep falling. Poor
workmanship results in brand new HDB flats leaking water all over the flat. Goal 2010’s status was changed from a ‘vision’ to a ‘target’. He still flatly refuse to re-think the HDB’s stance on singles purchasing new flats.

Teo Chee Hean

Tried to explain the death of commando during training. Previous to that,
several deaths in the SAF were reported. Only when the commando died of drowning did he ordered a review of SAF training policies. The commando death came to light only after the commando’s friend posted what actually happened on the Internet. Teo Chee Hean sent 192 SAF servicemen to Iraq. No parliamentary approval was sought before he did so. And til now, no update on their status from MINDEF.

Lim Hng Khiang

Seconded to the Prime Minister’s Office last year. His handling of the SARS outbreak was questioned by Singaporeans. Later, a committee set up to tackle the outbreak was headed NOT by LHK (who was the Health Minister) but by Wong Kan Seng, Home Affairs Minister.

LHK is known for two remarks he made in previous years: His hairdo remark and his ‘regret’ about sending a baby to Tan Tock Seng which resulted in a bill of $300,000. LHK is now put in charge of reversing Singapore’s falling birth rate.

Lim Swee Say

The re-cycling minister who apologised for the lapse in the EHI which resulted in a worker there contracting SARS. LSS also cried when our SEA Games athletes won medals. Was he also the one who was in charge of Newater?

Wong Kan Seng

Introduced the Computer Misuse Act which empowered the police to confiscate anyone’s computer and its contents. Terrorism was used as the reason for doing so. Or rather, the combatting of terrorism was used as the reason for doing so. Thirteen alleged Jemaah Islamyaah members were put in detention. No evidence/proof was revealed. The ‘members’ were not charged and have not been given an open trial.

The police continue to reject and refuse non-gov civil groups and opposition parties permits to hold activities/exhibitions.

George Yeo

Had a very quiet 2003. Didn’t see much of him. However he failed as
‘co-ordinator’/chairperson for the negotiation on agriculture at the WTO
Ministerial Meetings in Seattle and Doha. In 2004, he remarked that “we should try to alter our social climate here so that those who do well overseas are admired, while those who prefer to stay home all the time are suspect.” I wonder what he thinks of the ah sohs and ah peks and all those who have no means whatsoever to ‘do well overseas’.

S Jayakumar

Very quiet. Suffered ‘high fever’ just after leaving Nigeria. Told the Law
Society to get their house in order, after the CJ first commented on lawyers ‘running away’ with their clients’ money.

Vivian Balakrishnan

Commented in 2003 that allowing bar-top dancing will result in bloodshed. ‘Nuff said.

Khaw Boon Wan

He told singaporeans to grow up and not let the govt tell you what to do. He also put hospital charges on the Internet.

Yeo Cheow Tong

Made an about-turn on having competition for transport companies saying: “No, it was not a U-turn, and neither was it a reversal of govt policy. But you can call it a rethink.”

On the many breakdowns of MRT trains and card machines, he said: “Many problems were not related to equipment, but wrong action on the part
of the commuters.”

On the unemployment issue, he said: “Only 5% are unemployed. We still have 95% who are employed.” Recently he removed the traffic electronic
signboards which cost millions of dollars to put in place. YCT is no longer a member of the CEC of the PAP.

That, briefly, is an overview.

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