"Dr Balakrishnan said the election has been a good learning journey and at the strategic level, many PAP policies are right but their implementation and communication can be improved "
- Vivian Balakrishnan, 9 May 2011.
"2011 has seen a generation that does not remember from whence we came, but that is to be expected. But I do, and those amongst you who are over 50 will remember"
- MM Lee, 9 May 2011
We have to thank the Aljunied people for doing the right thing. However, it seems that losing Aljunied is not strong enough a signal to wake the PAP up. As soon I heard Vivian Balakrishnan say that PAP's problem is not its policies but communication of its "right" policies, I realised that the PAP has gone into relapse and denial just 2 days after polling. I suspect after its soul searching, the PAP leadership will come back to say that everything less the few clear-cut mistakes like Mas Selamat + crowded trains, everything it has done is right and the only problem is with their style and communication. We should have voted in the WP East Coast GRC team, we should have listened to Goh Meng Seng and voted Ncole Seah's team in Marine Parade into parliament to tell the PAP and SM Goh that he is accountable for policies such as asset enhancement, GRCs and broken its promise of a Swiss standard of living. We should have sent a stronger signal.
More people have come to understand the effects of PAP policies either because they are directly or indirectly affected by it. That is why the PAP is losing votes. We are talking about a wide range of policies from housing to foreign influx to high ministerial pay that Singaporeans have come to understand much better because the effects of these policies are becoming apparent. It has nothing to do with PAP's style or the way they communicate these polices. It is the polices themselves that are the problem. Although 60.1% voted for the PAP, about 10-20% disagree with their policies but voted for them due to the upgrading carrots. Among the silent majority that voted for the PAP, many did so for the simple reason that they don't want a sudden change of govt although they don't support the PAP policies. PAP policies that allow the foreign influx are opposed by the majority of Singaporeans.
As for MM Lee's remark that the young are a generation that "does not remember whence we came", it is not true. It is precisely because the young today know how things have worked in the past - good affordable housing, drive to higher productivity, strong national identity and social cohesion, the time before GRCs + upgrading carrots, reasonable ministerial salaries etc - that they know that the Singapore govt has lost its way. We cannot be ethernally grateful to a govt that is no longer the same.
Singaporeans have made a mistake. We thought that putting the WP team in Aljunied GRC is sufficient to wake the PAP up and create a 1st world parliament but denial runs deep in the PAP - they still believe they have the right answers to the people's problems. What was needed was a mini- tsunami that we never got. Now it could be back to business as usual for the PAP after they hire a PR team to sugar coat their pills. What is needed is not softening the hard edge of their policies but serious reform. Our CPF funds need higher returns to beat inflation or many are doomed to a poor quality retirement because the GIC borrows our money at a low interest rate to invest for higher returns that are not given back to us. We cannot continue to allow the govt to keep healthcare expediture so low as the cost of healthcare goes up and the burden is passed onto the sick and their families. We cannot continue with the foreign influx of cheap foreign labor as it is a vicious cycle taking us away from higher productivity, better incomes and ultimately a higher quality of life. We also need to reform public housing to deliver greater affordability and public transport to deliver better quality of service.
There is plenty of change needed. I'm not hopeful the PAP will get any of it done. They might just change style and not substance believing that 60.1% and 81 seat is a strong mandate to just continue doing what they have been doing.