Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Some food for thought before I discuss the manifesto. Wong Kan Seng urge voters to ask "hard questions" about the WP' manifesto. ..here are a few hard questions. The weekend New Paper gave extensive coverage to Minister Shanmugam's political career. He mentioned that he took a pay cut of 65% to join politics and we keep hearing this type of stories from PAP candidates. Minister Ng Eng Hen for example told everyone he took a pay cut because he was paid millions as surgeon. But the hard question Shanmugan should have asked himself was if capable lawyers like himself had to be paid so much...how will poor people get justice when they cannot afford capable lawyers like himself. Ng Eng Hen should ask if surgeons like himself are paid so much how are poor people going to have access to his services when it is needed to save their lives.
The truth about the WP manifesto is it generates hard questions for the PAP to answer not the other way around! Why did the PAP take us along this painful road on which they seem to be the biggest beneficiary of the current system when other roads exists?
If you listen to WP on the above video, you will realize that much of what they proposed is similar to what has been posted on my blog. Not that they have taken ideas from my blog .... these are workable ideas that will improve the lives of Singaporeans that have emerged in the past few years and have been discussed in various forums - other political parties have similar ideas. Because of PAP positioning on the political spectrum which is far to the right[Link], our opposition parties' proposals look very "middle-path" and centrist.
"As for Tin Pei Ling, we first noticed her in this (NUS) hall in 2007 when we had a party convention. She was one of the speakers and she impressed the audience. We made the right decision. It looks like she’s going to MacPherson and she’ll be a good MP in due course,” - PM Lee on selction of TPL
"Besides studying whether the gap is widening, it is more important to find out if the lowest-income group is able to get by and not fall into the vicious cycle. Many people are complaining and blaming the government for this problem. But is this really the responsibility of the government? I don’t think so" - Tin Pei Ling PAP 2007 Party Convention
You can read Tin Pei Ling entire speech here[Link]. I brought this up not to discredit TPL, there is enough of that on the Internet already but to show you how the PAP select people based on the same ideological framework. I wonder if Ms Tin would have been selected if she said that the income gap is worsened by PAP policies and the PAP must embark on serious changes to address this issue....if she said that my guess is she would have been crossed out immediately. Take the example of NMP Siew - he was, in my opinion, the most hardworking NMP ever brought into parliament and one who will stand up and ask the hardest questions and argue his case vigorously....what happened to him? They decided to replace when his term ended. My point is this - the PAP has made claims that it has a diverse team and all Singaporeans need to do is support this team and they will be well represented in parliament...they try to tell voters there's no need for opposition. The PAP this time round took in new candidates mainly from the SAF, NTUC, civil service and banks. If they were from somewhere else like Ms Tin, I'm sure the selection process screens them for "ideological compatibility". The end result is policies in recent years that increase the pay of ministers, increase the burden of sick, old and poor (GST), widen the income gap etc. The PAP likes to say that there is no choice but to do what has been done for the long term good of Singapore but policy options actually only disappear after they apply their ideological contraints.
The WP's manifesto is developed based on a completely different philosophy. During the debate on Minister salaries, MP Low Thia Kiang challenged the PAP ministers to peg their salary as a multiple of the salary of the bottom 20% of workers. The PAP pegged their pay to the highest income earners. This example is the clearest illustration of the difference in the philosophy of the WP vs the PAP. There is no free market in the world for ministers salaries (otherwise we could have gotten Bill Clinton at a lower cost) and it is determined purely by the ideological motivations of individuals. That we have to pay the highest salaries in the world for PAP ministers, says a lot about how extreme PAP ideology is....it is hard to find a person like Tin Pei Ling who can stand up and declare that the income gap is not the responsibility of the govt - that is why she is so strongly endorsed by PAP ministers and considered impressive by the PAP leadership.
PM Lee said a few days ago that Singapore does not have enough talents for a 2 party system. He is wrong. The PAP cannot find enough Tin Pei Lings to fill its ranks because there are not many people attracted by its ideology and philosophy - many intelligent educated loyal Singaporeans don't want anything to do with the PAP. You see real talents emerging in the opposition ranks and these people stepped forward sacrifcing much with little to gain.
The PAP's unusual ideology is what drove campaigns/policies such as "stop at 2", graduate parents scheme, "cheaper, better, faster", GRCs etc that most Singaporeans find hard to accept. In order to stay in power, the PAP resorted to less than democratic means of controlling the media and repressing opponents...how else do you get the populace to accept what you do and retain dominant power. There is no other society in the world that has elected a govt like the PAP when elections are free and far and there is freedom of the press.
The important changes will never come from the PAP (voluntarily). Their new candidates for the elections shows how determined they are to preserve the status quo, If you want change, you have to support another party with ideas based on a different philosophy. Only when the PAP loses seats, votes and support will they be able to overcome their own ideological constraints and do what is right for the people of Singapore.
Posting Time 3:42 PM
Posted by Lucky Tan