PAP playing catch-up with SDP – again

Singapore Democrats

The PAP’s Women Wing has published a policy paper to address the issue of the falling birthrate in Singapore. This is the first in a very long time that the party has issued a policy proposal as opposed to Government-appointed parliamentary committees.$CUT$

Before getting into the specifics of the paper, the Singapore Democrats would like to highlight the fact that the PAP seems to be now playing catch-up in making sure that it does not lag behind the SDP in coming up with policy proposals.

One of the key points in the paper to boost falling birthrates in Singapore is the proposal of the Married-Couple Temporary Housing scheme which gives young couples the option of renting a flat while waiting for their Build-To-Order (BTO) flats.

The idea is to encourage young couples to have children by speeding up the process of their getting a home. If this idea sounds familiar, it’s because the SDP proposed it first.

Look at the two policy statements below. We said this on 31 May 2012.

The SDP proposes a public housing policy initiative that would facilitate couples of child-bearing age to purchase their HDB flats in the quickest time possible. Read here.

Now read the PAP Women’s Wing’s statement made last week on 23 August 2012.

Married-Couple Temporary Housing (MTH) Scheme: Ensuring that young married couples have a home as soon as possible. Read here.

We will leave the policy differences aside for now. Presently, it is important to highlight why we continue to raise this matter of the PAP playing catch-up to the SDP:

First, the PAP likes to portray the SDP as a destructive, confrontational force so that voters will not support us. An opposition party that makes policy proposals that the ruling party mimics cannot be all that destructive, can it?

Second, it puts another dent in the PAP’s fast-crumbling facade that it is the only party to lead the nation. It has demonstrated, time and again, that it does not have a monopoly on ideas of how to take Singapore forward.

Third, it shows yet again that the SDP is a serious alternative party that is constructive and competent, one able to rival the PAP as government in the future.

We have one huge disadvantage, though: the media. While the PAP Women’s Wing proposal is given prominent coverage here, there is a blackout of the SDP’s proposal, leading Singaporeans to think that the PAP is the only party to come up with constructive ideas for Singapore.

Isn’t it sad – and frightening – to think that the PAP can win the argument not by allowing Singaporeans to read both sides of the story but by censoring what the Singapore Democrats say?   

This is not the first time that the PAP has followed in the footsteps of the SDP. PAP MPs have, in the recent past, repeatedly echoed the SDP on policy and procedure. See for example here, here and here. Yet, we only read and hear about the PAP’s achievements. 

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