The Singapore Democrats have often had this charge levelled at us – that we oppose for the sake of opposing. Regrettably, this has come not just from the PAP but sometimes also from our friends in the opposition.$CUT$
It is an easy conclusion to draw especially when we are often critical of the PAP over a wide-range of issues. But it is also the wrong one. The SDP’s stance against the PAP stems largely from one large and fundamental difference: Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s supremacist views.
In 1967, Mr Lee said that every society has approximately five percent of the population
who are more than ordinarily endowed physically and mentally and in whom we must extend our limited and slender resources in order that they will provide that yeast, that ferment, that catalyst in our society…
It is this tragic outlook that has pushed Parliament, which Mr Lee continues to dominate, to enact policies that have locked in a system that generously caters to the rich while neglecting the needy:
- Our hospital system allows the haves to buy top-rate medical care whereas the poor often go without treatment because they cannot afford it;
- Our schools groom scholars, the overwhelming majority of whom come from the upper classes, while the Minister of State for Education Lawrence Wong dumbs everyone else down with his observation that “If everyone can move up, we will not have enough ITE graduates out there in the workforce”;
- Our wage structure rewards ministers with $10,000-a-day salaries while cleaners earn as little as $500 a month.
Mr Lee’s system has bred a generation of Singaporeans devoid of compassion and humility. Ms Wee Shu Min, the teeange daughter of former PAP MP Mr Wee Siew Kim, derided a fellow Singaporean who was struggling to find employment as a “wretched leech”.
Another former PAP MP Mr Charles Chong told us that we “lesser mortals” should not envy those of his ilk.
Former minister Mr George Yeo, famously cautioned us not to be “boh tua boh suay” and to know our place in society.
Instead of tempering his mentees’ views, Mr Lee adds fuel by calling Singaporeans “daft”, “ignorant” and needing spurs stuck into our hides.
So if it seems that the SDP opposes the PAP on so many fronts, it is because we take issue with Mr Lee’s noxiously elitist mindset in which so many of the party’s policies are rooted.
But we don’t just oppose. We offer a clear and better alternative. Where we disagree with the PAP, we propose concrete and workable policies such as those in our economic manifesto It’s About You, The SDP Shadow Budget 2012, and The SDP National Healthcare Plan.
In other words, we do not oppose for the sake of opposition.
And where there is convergence in policy, such as the building of elderly care centres in the housing estates, we will not hesitate to support the Government – and say so. (See here)
We want to build a society that cares for everyone. We believe that this nation’s progress is not made by pouring resources on the self-appointed elite but by ensuring that all the sons and daughters of this island get equal opportunities to succeed. It is also our conviction that the greatness of a nation is measured by how we treat the weakest and the poorest among us.
The SDP is a party that stands for something; it is not just a vehicle of convenience for those wish to enter parliament.
Those who come into our fold are people who believe in building a more just, more humane and more equal Singapore. This core belief is diametrically opposed to Mr Lee’s. It forms the very heart of who we are and it is what keeps us together as a party.
More importantly, it is what will attract thinking and caring Singaporeans to the SDP in our fight for a better Singapore.