UPDATE: I updated the posting after going through the comments. The update is in red.
Before I discuss what Goh Meng Seng spoke about in his speech, I want to say a few things about Goh Meng Seng, the Secretary General of NSP. Goh Meng Seng was part of Workers' Party 2006 'A' team in 2006. He left the Workers' Party to join the NSP shortly after the 2006 elections. Goh Meng Seng is an active netizen who maintained a blog[Link] and frequently engages other netizens in Internet forums. He is a passionate individual who feels strongly about doing what is right for Singapore. In 2010, he sold his HDB flat to raise funds for the coming elections. His sacrifice, conviction and will to act on his beliefs deserve not just our support and admiration but serve as a reminder to all of us that we can all do more for the country we love.
Last week his brother, David Goh, had a heard attack and passed away. David was helping to put up posters past mid-night for the campaign when the tragedy occurred. We as a society owe a debt of gratitude to Meng Seng and his brother, David, for fighting to put us on a course towards a better future. Whatever the outcome of the coming elections, what they have done should never be forgotten.
Singapore is frequently known as Singapore Inc and our leaders reward themselves like CEOs and directors of a corporation. Our country has taken on characteristics of a corporation -once you accept this many policy decisions will begin to make sense.
Corporations are driven by the profit motive and Singapore lnc's goal is to maximise GDP growth. Our leaders' pay packages are linked to GDP growth just as pay packages of CEO is linked to profit growth. GDP growth is the KPI not your quality of life, not your income level and not the number of hours you work etc. Once you figure this out, most of what the PAP does becomes a lot easier to understand.
Take high foreign influx as an example. Initially, we were told that it is to supplement our economy with talents that don't exist in Singapore. Then we were told they are here because of our low fertility rate. A few days ago, Lee Hsien made the point that they are here to create jobs for Singaporeans. To most people, this is absurd because very often they experience this : they go to service counters that are manned by Singaporeans to get something done and a few weeks later they suddenly find all the Singaporeans gone and replaced by Filipinos. Those who frequently receive calls from telemarketers from banks or insurance companies know that over the years, the accent of the person on the end of the line has changed from Singaporean to foreign. Those in the IT industry know the dominance of IT professionals in this area. The truth about foreign talents is they are brought here in large numbers to boost the GDP growth by growing the size of the work force. This is the only reason. Every other justification is created by the PAP govt to make us accept this large influx. Besides depressing wages, the large influx has caused serious structural unemployment because businesses now have a limitless supply of young workers and don't have to keep older workers anymore.
We were told that the decision to increase GST was to help the poor. However, if you look back at all GST hikes, they are always accompanied by corporate tax cuts and income tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals. These cuts again will help to boost GST. We are told that the income gap is "not important" [Link] because it is easier to keep the GDP growing if the income gap is ignored.
While growing the GDP is important for any country, it is a means to an end. That end is to provide a better life for its people. Good govt find ways to keep the GDP growing so that wealth will be more evenly distributed - that is sustainable growth. You can always make your GDP grow by brute force like importing people in large numbers and allowing vices such as gambling but what does that do to society...does it benefit the people? Australia is a popular country. They too can chalk up higher economic growth by opening the floodgates to Asian immigrants but that will not be good for Australians if the numbers are not well managed. For many Singaporeans, their wages have remained stagnant and older Singaporeans have to suffer structural unemployment because Singapore Inc pursues GDP as an end goal...
The problem with running a country like a corporation is the pursuit of profits & GDP growth frequently do not result in satisfaction of workers' needs (happiness). Corporations only need to keep workers long enough to recoup their investments in training. Workers leave companies when they are not satisfied and companies retrench workers when that is the best thing to do to maximise profits. You can't do that with a country. People will not accept that you have done a good job just because GDP growth is high when their own lives have not improved.
The problem with the PAP govt is that they incentivise their ministers to produce "vote-losing" results by putting GDP growth above every thing else e.g. quality of life of citizens. You can only run a country like a corporation if you can sack your disgruntled citizens, your citizens can leave easily if they are unhappy and you are free to "hire" new citizens. While the PAP can import new (and happy) citizens, they cannot get rid unhappy ones and these people will soon vote against them. I remember a few months ago, an angry young man by the name of Alex Tan went to a PAP forum demanding answers...since the PAP runs this country like a corporation, they told him that if he was unhappy, he could leave the country. Alex Tan did not leave. He went to join Chiam's SPP, started a popular Facebook movement called "Vote PAP Out"[Link] and later formed a GRC team with some RP members to contest in Ang Moh Kio against Singapore Inc's 'CEO' Lee Hsien Loong.
The bottomline is you can't run a country like a corporation when you have a democracy. The PAP tried for a long time to undermine the democratic system by making the playing field as unlevel as possible. However, as dissatisfaction with the PAP among voters grows, the PAP will be made to "un-corporatise" itself by putting Singaporeans at the center of policy making.