Politics in Singapore needs to grow up

Singapore Democrats

In a Facebook post, PAP MP Hri Kumar wrote: “Opposition politicians who want a platform to share their ideas should organise their own forums. If their ideas are really better, people will support it.”$CUT$

So the SDP did what Mr Kumar suggested: we wrote to the Sembawang and Bukit Panjang-Holland Town Councils as well as the Thomson Community Club to hold a forum on the CPF:

Dear Sir,

The Singapore Democratic Party wishes to organise a public forum to discuss the CPF issue with residents of Ghim Moh/Holland-Bukit Timah. The event is entitled “CPF – A Public Conversation”.

We would like to do this at the pavilion next to Blk 7 Ghim Moh Road on 26 July 2014 from 2-5pm. If the venue is unavailable, we would be grateful if you could suggest an alternative within the constituency.

Thank you.

Christopher Ang
Assistant Secretary-General
Singapore Democratic Party

The Two Councils rejected our applications and the Thomson Community Club (the place where Mr Hri Kumar conducted his CPF dialogue) said that their venue was unavailable but would not give us an alternative date despite our requests.

The PAP MP also wrote in his post: “If their ideas are really better, people will support it.” That is true. But how can Singaporeans support our ideas if they don’t get to hear them?

The SDP has come up with alternative ideas which we believe are better. But we are prevented from effectively and meaningfully reaching out to the people.

This is the kind of PAP double standards that anger Singaporeans. The PAP may think that it is a clever strategy: telling the people that the opposition can organise our own forums but denying us the venues in which to hold them.

In the past, the SDP has repeatedly applied for permission to tell Singaporeans of our ideas and policies. All of them have been denied (see here, here and here).

Mr Hri Kumar also said: “Some have alleged that I want to control the attendees so that the dialogue will be a ‘wayang’.”

The wayang that Singaporeans are so angry about is the PAP using unfair and undemocratic means to deny them alternative views and ideas from the SDP while pretending to be open and fair. The PAP’s tactics only breed resentment among the people.

The time has come for politics in Singapore to grow up.

Mr Hri Kumar then parted with this statement: “I know some people are itching for the opportunity to run me down. That’s ok – that’s how they understand politics and they are welcome to take their best shot.”

No, Singaporeans are not “itching” to run him or his party down. They just want to be treated fairly and not be manipulated.

Dismissing his critics with such scorn is most unfortunate and uncalled for. Singaporeans have legitimate concerns about our CPF money and do not deserve to be addressed in such a tone.

One final and cautionary note: Inviting an oppressed people to take their “best shot” is like waving a red flag at a raging bull – while lying down.

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