PAP supporters, or at least defendersof the Government’s position, were obviously unhappy with ourprevious post Wemust turn Singapore around as several of them took to theSDP’s Facebook to register their defence of the ruling party.$CUT$
The SDP welcomes such discussion as itis our view that political debate raises the level of politics inSingapore. In the piece, we had summarised the current dismalsituation in this country and the equally bleak outlook of thepeople.
We have chosen, for ease of discussion,to group the Facebookcomments according to their themes. One set of responses makesthe point that the woes that have befallen Singapore happens in othercountries too:
“Subway breakdown is not uniqueonly to Singapore. It happens in any country where there aresubways.”
“Riot in Singapore in 48 years andyou make a big deal over it! Hello!! Wake up lah. Riots are happeningall over the world even this minute.”
“Homeless in JAPAN!! Line up forsoup kitchen!!”
The corollary is that Singaporecannot, therefore, be that bad. But such a view ignores what PM LeeHsien Loong said inParliament in 2012:
Singapore has to maintain a highquality of government, otherwise we are going to go back down and weare going to be a mediocre country…We are different and because weare different and exceptional, therefore Singaporeans have reaped aSingapore dividend…
And because of such excellence, the PMpays himself in excess of $2 million annually – a salary no otherelected head of government comes even close.
If the PAP is going to profferexceptionalism as a reason for the high pay of ministers, then itssupporters cannot, at the same time, argue that Singapore is reallyno different from other countries when it comes to the kind ofproblems we face. Either you perform at the level of your hubris oryou accept that you are really no better than others and payyourselves salaries that are commensurate with your talent andcompetence. You can’t have it both ways.
Having a riot, repeated MRT breakdowns,hospital-bed shortages, record suicides, unhappy workers, etc, alltaking place within the recent past makes this Government anythingbut exceptional.
Another line of argument is whether theSDP can do any better. One post reads: “Is the SDP claiming andassuring the public that IF they are in power, all the abovementioned will be solved or eradicated?”
No, the SDP is not making such a claim.What we do say is that the current policies employed by the PAP istaking Singapore in the wrong direction. We have taken pains to studythe situation and developed remedies which we are confident will putSingapore on a better path.
For instance, the current policy ofincreasing our population to 6 million by 2020 and 6.9 million by2030 has resulted in overcrowding, the ballooning of housing prices,unfair competition for jobs, social tension, and so on.
The SDP’s alternative will onlyincrease the population size if it enhances the quality of life andwell-being of Singaporeans. Our plan will allow only bona fideforeign talent to work in Singapore and, in addition, employers willhave to hire Singaporeans first. For a full discussion of our plan,click here.
We are happy to subject our proposalsto public scrutiny and compare them to the current policies in place. Itis the Government and the state media that are suppressing suchcomparisons and debate. We are confident that the more Singaporeanscome to learn of our plan, the more they will prefer it over thePAP’s foreign talent policy.
Finally, there are those comments thatsimply don’t make sense: “SDP will just make things even moreexpensive for our future! look at their policies closely and model itto your future taxes!! they want to tax us till we are dead…worseoff than PAP govt.”
We have called for the GST for basicgoods to be abolished, the Medisave to be scrapped (and in its placeimplement a national insurance scheme where Singaporeans pay muchless for healthcare), and for HDB flat prices not to include landcosts. How this translates into SDP wanting to “tax us till weare dead” defies explanation.
We welcome comments on the very seriousissues that confront Singapore today and are willing to engage inmeaningful debate to make Singapore a better place.