Singaporeans will have to go out to vote on 10 July when they would have preferred to stay safe from the risk of getting COVID-19. Almost three months after lockdown began, new cases still remain stubbornly in the three-digit range, a result of the PAP’s poor handling of the pandemic. The resulting economic damage could have been avoided.
Retired senior civil servant Philip Yeo once put it bluntly: the government is suffering from ‘Eunuch Disease’. There are no leaders that possess the spark, only ‘paper shufflers’ who ‘exist to keep the emperor happy’.
Conflicts of interest are rampant throughout government. PAP leaders and MPs are related or very closely associated to key persons all over - at Temasek, the Auditor-general, the Attorney-general to name a few. There is so much “ownself check ownself”.
There is only narrow group-think that prevails in today’s PAP government, lacking rigour in discussion and debate on policies that shape our country. Singapore has suffered greatly as a result and people are angry and frustrated.
In this COVID-19 election, the people of Singapore must seek accountability. We must vote for change. We must create a first-world parliament to strengthen the DNA of collective leadership in Singapore. We need to vote for our future and for our children’s future, and not for past PAP glories. There are many men and women, old and young, of considerable calibre, passion and compassion in the alternative line-up who can help build a stronger, better Singapore.
I have been privileged to meet some of them, and I know they will bring the diversity that we so desperately need. A truly diverse parliament is a win for the people of Singapore.
This election is our opportunity to end the status quo of the supermajority. We can have our voices heard in Parliament. The PAP is no longer listening. The PAP vision of meritocracy has become a fiction. Instead of space to grow and prosper, our citizens are slowly suffocating from fear and stress. Singapore has become a country where we have very little say in how we live. There is little space in Singapore to be what we want to be, to say what we want to say, to grow, to prosper.
Many Singaporeans feel they are running a rat race in a maze designed by the government, which decides who to dispense rewards to. The chosen few are given a nice big slice of cake. For those who are not scholars or generals or privileged, there are only crumbs.
In this maze, the PAP government of today can create dead-ends, move walls, close off the exits. It can wield POFMA to silence, and defamation suits to ruin and bankrupt, those who disagree. It can choose to retain a long outdated discriminatory law. It can prosecute a single person for an illegal public assembly. Indeed, during Covid-19, it is investigating 2 young persons who separately stood up in public on concerns about climate change.
The PAP can change the Constitution and deny Singaporeans a chance to elect the president. It can do this because the PAP has an overwhelming majority of the seats in Parliament.
It can crush HDB owners’ dreams. It can sit on CPF savings. It can hike GST at will to raise revenue for a government that has undisclosed billions in secret reserves. It can expose us to the risk of COVID-19 by prioritising politics over our lives. It can dismiss the risk of infection in crowded dormitories for foreign workers.
When decisions produce poor results, the government can selectively use statistics and surveys designed to trivialise our fears, and imply that our concerns are unfounded. It can baldly tell us, “In Singapore, no one will be left to walk his journey alone.”
When he ascended to become Prime Minister in 2004, Lee Hsien Loong promised.“We will continue to expand the space which Singaporeans have to live, to laugh, to grow and to be ourselves. Our people should feel free to express diverse views, pursue unconventional ideas, or simply be different. We should have the confidence to engage in robust debate, so as to understand our problems, conceive fresh solutions, and open up new spaces,” “Ours must be an open and inclusive Singapore.”
He has not kept his word. Singapore should not be a maze where people are denied a say in how the country’s riches are shared, where those who struggle and sacrifice every day have no voice.
The PAP is in control of the maze, and it does not care. Make your vote in this COVID-19 election count. Choose a Singapore where the daily struggle and sacrifice pays off for all, not just for the ‘natural aristocracy’.
For Singapore’s future, this has become an imperative. We must vote to end the super majority.
Singapore wants different.