Must you talk only among yourselves?

October 5, 2012
Singapore Democrats

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Jufrie Mahmood

It seems that there is no end to PAP charade that would inevitably cost tax payers quite a bit of money. There is a total of 87 Members of Parliament, three non-constituency MPs and nine nominated MPs.

Elected MPs hold weekly meet-the-people sessions in their respective constituencies to listen to and offer solutions to their constituents’ problems. There are also thousands of Resident’ Committee members in the PAP comprising voters in the same constituencies where they serve and from whom the PAP can draw feedback.

Then there is the Citizens Consultative Committee whose members are appointed by the PAP to help PAP MPs manage their constituencies. Next we have the Community Centre Management Committee, appointed by the People’s Association to run the community centre or club.

Two more rungs of command and control were later introduced in the form of mayors and CDCs (Community Development Councils), a quasi –governmental body that functions as a local administration of its district, initiating planning and managing community programmes.   

All the above can be said to be in close touch with the ground.

Lest we forget, we also have the Feedback Unit and the restyled ‘Reach’, helmed by a government MP and whose declared aim is to encourage and promote public participation in shaping government policies.  Its three main aims are to gather and gauge ground sentiments, reach out and engage citizens and promote active citizenry through citizen participation and involvement.

Should all these institutions fail to deliver or fail to influence the formulation of policies  we can always go back to Parliamentary Committees or Parliamentary Select Committees which can formerly invite public participation to present their views on any particular issue.

Is the PAP now telling Singaporeans that all the above institutions set up by the party and helmed by its MPs have failed to function so much so that they have to get a National Conversation going? |

Isn’t this an admission that all its feedback mechanism from the plethora of committees have been an utter failure, serving to be the PAP’s mouthpiece rather than hearing aid?

The PAP could have also relied on friendly voices from among the legions of journalists serving in its stable of printed and broadcast media. Have they not been telling the truth to their political masters? If the main stream media could not be relied upon the PAP could, if it is serious about getting at the truth, always turn to the social media to strike a balance and counter-check the information obtained from the state media.

Last but not least the opposition parties have always been around, shouting themselves hoarse, so to speak, pointing out the many flaws in policy making. The SDP has even presented alternative policy initiatives drawn up by qualified and respected members of society who have aligned themselves with us.

If only they would we could save a lot of time and energy – not mentioning a huge sum of money since PAP ministers are very highly paid – by not staging the wayang all over the island and get the same result.

As we have said earlier this is what they will get if they only talk to and among themselves and exclude the opposition.


Jufrie Mahmood is Chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party