Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The role of the Opposition in Govt

Politics is usually a very polarised affair - I think too many people treat it as a football match. They don't think about their votes in a very rational or coherent way.

There's been a bit of criticism over the Worker's Party management of the Town Council. Finger pointing can back fire too though. I think most Singaporeans are more concerned over why the PAP keeps increasing the CPF withdrawal age limit. Why? Don't they have it?

If that's not bad enough - the govt doesn't seem to be doing much to combat the rise of inflation in Singapore. The price of food and medical expenses have increased exponentially - thanks in large part to the massive property price rises.

Even when the price of oil goes down - the price of public transport fares does not follow suit.

And then when the Malaysian govt introduced a fee for entering their country the PAP followed suit with a fee for Malaysian vehicles entering Singapore …. which I thought would be silly because Singapore imports a lot of food from Malaysia.

How then does the PAP expect old people and retirees to survive? Their CPF money is diminishing due to inflation. And because the govt doesn't allow them to withdraw it - they can't use it to invest in property or help their children buy a home of their own.

Some people say that Singaporeans should keep on voting for the PAP because they can monitor themselves - it is so perfect they can do their own checks and balances. I'm not a scholar so I don't know how a govt  (whose ministers and MPS are allowed to own multiple investment properties and are being paid salaries many many times the rate that most ordinary Singaporeans work for, and who are also holding directorships in multiple private companies) can think the problems through in an impartial, fair and unbiased manner.

When you pay a worker a lot of money - you should expect the worker to devote his full attention to his job and not to have sideline activities that may detract from his main job. Suppose a politician  has 10 - 40  investment properties - do you think he would act swiftly to enact legislation or taxes that will curb property speculation?  The property boom/bubble has been going on in Singapore since 2006… housing numbers have been squeezed, forcing a lot of Singaporean couples to defer marriage or having babies. Why did the govt take so long to put the brakes on?

BTW - I don't have any axe to grind with Mr Yeo - I'm just using this photo as an example.

But when you hear statements like "$600,000 is peanuts", "cardboard aunties are doing it for the exercise", "a natural aristocracy"… you can't help but wonder if the govt leaders have lost touch with the realities facing most Singaporeans.

People are complaining that the Opposition are not credible because they don't plan to form government. I think the critics underestimate the size of the mountain that they are going to climb.

So why would Singaporeans vote for the Opposition? Its because they realise that the PAP have stopped listening to them. People say you vote for Opposition and you don't know what you are going to get.

But a lot of Singaporeans know what they are going to get if they hand the PAP a firm majority.

The writing is on the wall - an increase in the population to 6.9 to 10 million, an overt emphasise on profits over public service even with regards to essential services like public transportation, a liberal approach to foreign worker intake, and further ways to entrench the ruling establishment pecking order.

What will a good Opposition do? It will put forward alternatives and hopefully help the government to formulate better policy.

If there was a strong Opposition in the 1970s - 1980s - the Govt would have been more careful when formulating its "Two is Enough" policy, "Mandarin as a 2nd language" campaign (which LKY even admitted in Parliament caused problems).


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