Surely you jest, Mr Prime Minister

August 9, 2001
Singapore Democrats

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In his National Day Message, Mr Goh Chok Tong told Singaporeans: “Your worries are mine, too.” How does the Prime Minister expect to be taken seriously when he draws an annual salary of $2 million while the average Singaporean is either jobless or faces imminent retrenchment?

While he increased his own salary in 2000 by 14 percent, he cut the CPF of workers in 1999 by 10 percent and now decides that it cannot be fully restored until an unspecified time in the future.

In his address he failed to tell Singaporeans that the current recession is a direct consequence of his party’s myopic and irresponsible economic policy of putting all of our investment-eggs into one basket. The overwhelming reliance of Singapore’s economy on contract-manufacturing in the electronics sector has led us into a situation that could have been avoided if the Government had been more prudent and allowed the private sector take the lead in the economy. If this had been the case, the country’s economic base could have been expanded and the current crisis averted. As it is, the targeting of the electronics sector by the Government has caused Singaporeans much unnecessary pain and hardship.

Mr Goh also failed to mention that many Singaporeans are presently out of a job because of the PAP’s foreign talent policy. The Government’s intention to suppress workers’ wages by bringing in foreigners has meant that many Singaporeans have had to suffer wage cuts and accept wages levels that are unrealistically low for the high cost of living in this country.

Now when the general election draws near, the Prime Minister tries to appease voters by coming up with silly phrases such as “We are one big family.” Mr Goh, of all people, should know that this is not the time for jokes.

Chee Soon Juan
Secretary-General