They pursued a short term strategy for generating economic growth by importing foreign labor exacerbating our society's most serious problem - income inequality. Thousands of Singapore households have fallen into poverty and we are beginning to see homelessness among Singaporeans. We do not just have a bad income gap problem, we have the WORSE income gap among developed countries (bar chart from Online Citizen):
The income gap is not a new problem - it has been around for more than a decade. However, instead of implementing measures to help narrow the gap such as minimum wages and safety nets, they implemented policies that worsened the situation - liberal immigration policies, regressive taxation (GST) and reduction of workers' benefits. We are not only seeing rising poverty but the emergence of an ultra-underclass among us.
As citizens, we cannot continue to wait and hope that the govt will start to do something about the problems we face. The PAP govt with its diversified interests (GLCs etc) rarely put the well- being of ordinary Singaporeans at heart of policy making..... what we have are healthcare policies that shift as much burden to the sick and families of the sick, labor policy that tells Singaporean workers to make themselves cheaper (, better, faster) and imports foreign workers excessively to keep wages down, transport policies that generates more revenue as congestion worsens and costly public housing that results in a lifetime of debt for young couples.
We cannot allow our thoughts to be shaped by the govt controlled media and our votes to be bought by estate upgrading. We cannot depend on the PAP to overcome its ideological constraints and reliance on old tired formulas for change while our fellow Singaporeans struggle to make ends meet. These leaders who demand millions cannot even understand the problems Singaporeans have to struggle with day after day. At the end of the day what is needed from them is what money cannot buy - real integrity, empathy, care, respect and humility.
The other day SM Goh gave a speech in which he said our leaders need to be tough and not 'strawberries'. Who can be tougher than people who kept coming back with their heads held high after they were jailed and bankrupted for their determination to do what is right. Who is tougher than the man risks everything to stand up in a climate of fear to speak against what is wrong in our society.