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The Singapore Democrats reported last week on this website that the PAP-run kindergartens levied a penalty of $2 for every 5 nimutes that parents are late in picking up their children.
Today, Channel News Asia (CNA) reported on this matter PCF kindergarten in Bedok fines late parents but refused to mention that the SDP was the first brought the matter to the public’s attention.
This is not the first time that the media has blacked out news on the party. In 2009, we witnessed CCTVs being installed at Speakers’ Corner and broke the story on this website. The TODAY newspaper ran a follow up report on the matter but refused to mention the SDP’s report.
It is more than just professional courtesy that news organisations acknowledge sources of information; it is important that the public understands the role that the opposition plays in society, one of which is to lookout for the public. With this kind of censorship and news blackout, Singaporeans continue to be kept in the dark about the effective role of the SDP.
The SDP is discharging its responsibility of keeping watch on what the PAP does and bringing its negative policies and practices to the attention of the public. If Singaporeans see the constructive role that the SDP is playing they would increasingly turn to the opposition for alternative views.
By censoring news about us, however, the state media attempts to marginalise the Singapore Democrats and keep us out of the minds of the electorate. Is this the reason why CNA so blatantly omitted citing the SDP in its report?
More questions raised
On the issue of the penalty imposed on parents who are late, the CNA report raises more questions than it answers.
It reported that the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) which runs the kindergartens said that the penalty-charge is specific to the Bedok branch. Did CNA independently verify this with other PCF branches? It seems unusual that out of the 247 kindergartens, the branch in Bedok is the only one to impose such a fine.
If it is indeed the only branch to do so, how do the other branches cope with the problem? It surely cannot be that Bedok parents are the only ones who are late. Why can’t the Bedok branch learn from its sister branches? Or are the other branches going to learn from Bedok?
More importantly, the PCF cannot ignore the fact that its kindergartens make policies that unfairly penalise parents, especially those in the lower-income groups. As the CNA reported:
One parent said: “For those who have savings, S$2 is no problem for them. If (you are) like me, with no savings, S$2 is (a) problem also.”
This is emblematic of the PAP mentality. It resorts to punitive measures, often financial in nature, to solve problems rather than explore creative ways to overcome them. This places yet more burden of the poorer segment of society.
The Singapore Democrats also reported that children were not allowed into class if the parents did not pay the fees on time. This is a serious matter as it victimises the child. Is the PCF also adopting such a hands-off approach to this policy?
At the end of the day, the PCF has a near-monopoly on providing pre-schooling in HDB estates. It claims to cater for the those who cannot afford the more expensive private kindergartens. As such it must be monitored so that it doesn’t turn into a school bully penalising low-income families who are most vulnerable.