The SDP Promise: Let’s talk with the people, not at them

April 18, 2011
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

The SDP Promise pledges that our MPs will conduct quarterly town hall meetings with our constituents to hear from you concerns on policies that affect you. We will take these views with us to Parliament.

This may not exactly be an earth-shaking proposal, but in Singapore it is a very novel idea. For decades the PAP has been talking at the people, instead of with the people. There’s a word for such an approach: it’s called democracy. A greek word, it means rule by the people.

 
Its idea of governance is: PAP says, the people do. Little room has been left for the views of citizens to shape the policy-making process. This has led to a situation where local and national government is very far removed from the day-to-day concerns of the people.

Yes, it organises feedback forums but these are largely sessions where the government gathers feedback on minor issues. In other words, the people are reduced to providing suggestions on how to improve over-the-counter services, rather than the very substance of our policies and procedures.

In addition, these sessions are largely catered towards their own supporters and grassroots helpers, creating a large echo chamber instead of a genuine feedback channel. Such a closed loop of ideas does not improve the lives of the people, it simply refines the PAP way of doing things. Your voice is lost in the process.

There is a huge outcry over ministerial salaries, immigration policy and non-Singaporeans buying property in Singapore but this has fallen on deaf ears. If the PAP had genuinely listened instead of finding ways to silence or deflect or ignore criticism, these policies would not be in existence today.

sdp_promise_flyer_2No people living in a truly representative system would accept such nonsense from their government.

Instead we have the ministers telling Singaporeans that they have to work cheaper, better, and faster and that we have to be kicked to make us work harder. We are not entitled to ask why.

This is not democracy.

The town hall meetings that the SDP promises to conduct will be forums open to all residents and shopkeepers where you will have the opportunity to raise your concerns, have them recorded, and taken away by your MP to Parliament so that they can be discussed openly.

The forum will require your MP to feedback to you on all mattersrasied.

We will add this programme to the weekly Meet-The-People sessions where your MP will be available for you to discuss issues relevant to yourself, your family or your business.

By facilitating these opportunities for you to broach issues of concern in your family and community, we aim to bring about a genuine feedback system leading to improvements in the community and to empower residents to set the agenda for change.

The people of Singapore have asked for a clear and true representation of their interests in Parliament so that their communities are a fitting place to live, work and play. We, the SDP, promise you this.

Read also:
The SDP Promise: Our MPs’ pledge
The SDP Promise: The SDP will be accountable with the people’s money