On 4th May 2011, sensing the voters were very angry:
"WHATEVER the results of the general election.......And if elected, Mr Yeo, who leads the PAP team in the fiercely-battled Aljunied GRC, pledged that he and his team-mates would be 'advocates of reform' within the party, the government and the Cabinet."[Link]
On 10 May 2011 at his press conference after losing his seat and a few days of reflection:
"I would help in whatever way I can to bring about this transformation of the PAP" - George Yeo.
The elections results appear to have sent a signal for change. But how much change? How strong was this signal? I believe the electorate sent signal for reform not incremental transformation. If you look at the results, the PAP interprets that it has a strong mandate with 60.1% of the votes and 81 seats. However, the election is not fought on a level playing field - massive upgrading carrots and propaganda are used to sway voters and GRC average the votes to keep number of opposition seats down. Without these, the PAP would probably lose close to 20+ - 30 seats and we would have a 2 party system overnight. These barriers have kept worthy opponents out of parliament for the past 2 decades. As a result of a lack of competition, the much vaunted PAP selection process picked uninspiring 'yes-men', 'yes-women', they lost the ability to campaign for the hearts of citizens and became terribly reliant on threats, carrots, propaganda and goodwill for their past achievements.
It is no longer sufficient \just to take care of the tail-end problems caused by various schemes and policies. We have to rethink, restructure and reform many policies/schemes to benefit as many people as possible. For example, in healthcare, the Medifund is suppose to be the "catch all" if one falls through the cracks but the NUH consultant speaking at SDP's lunchtime rally revealed that one has to lose his home before he can get access to Medifund, that is a huge crack and a long way down to fall when one gets sick. We need to completely relook at healthcare financing in Singapore. The CPF after so many tweaks and liberalisation for "every other thing" such as children's education, housing and medicare, will not be adequate for a good retirement for many Singaporeans in the future. It needs to be reformed so that our CPF savings earns a high enough rate of return above inflation for Singaporeans to have a proper retirement - we cannot continue to 'transform' and tweak it by pushing back retirement age every few years and stretching these funds further with schemes like CPF Life.
We can all wait to see if the PAP figures it out. I'm not optimistic. The PAP is already starting to slide by from talk of "reform" to "transform" ...in a few days we will hear "adjustment" ...a few weeks the PAP might conclude that it has done everything correctly but only forgot to communicate well...