Friday, 8 February 2013

Are we Singaporeans in this together? PM Lee get your facts right!

8th February 2013

Many Singaporeans would be feeling despaired, disappointed and disillusioned after yesterday evening’s announcement that the population White Paper has been passed in parliament by majority vote. The high level of interest this Paper has generated in the past two weeks is almost unprecedented. Criticism, debate, suggestions have flowed on social media sites and blogs. In Parliament, many speeches were made to either support or decry the call to increase the Singapore population to 6.9 million by 2030.
Prior to the votes being taken, Lee Hsien Loong (LHL), as Prime Minister of this little red dot, made an impassioned speech to assure Singaporeans they are at the “at the heart of all (the PAP government) do”.

Trying to show solidarity with Singaporeans, he insisted, “we are all in this together” and used phrases like “we feel as one” and “share (Singaporeans’) sorrows”. He then sought to further assure Singaporeans that the citizens “are at the heart of all of our policies. You are the reason why my key men and I entered politics… and we want Singapore to do well so Singaporeans can do well”. After all that talk of solidarity and touchy-feely emotions, he concluded with saying he supports the amended motion.

It will be little surprise that many Singaporeans would not buy into his rhetoric for the following reasons:

1. PMETs in Singapore are being squeezed out of the labour market by the liberal immigration policies that allow foreigner managers to bring in more of their countrymen to fill jobs that Singaporeans can and want to fill;
2. Costs of living continue to rise;
3. Wages remain depressed and in some sectors, reduced;
4. The public transport squeeze has not abated and in peak hours, spill over to almost-complete standsill at interchanges;
5. Housing continue to be unaffordable for young Singaporeans;
6. The costs of educating a child has sky-rocketed out of control.

If LHL and his “key men” entered politics FOR Singapore and Singaporeans, why do they continue to draw their world highest salaries for politicians while Singaporeans’ poor get poorer and the income gap continues to increase?

There have been many good suggestions from Singaporeans about how the effects of an aging population and tight labour market could be addressed. For example, reducing NS to one year so that these young men in their prime can start to contribute to the labour force; encouraging the older workers to stay in the labour force by acknowledging their skills and experience instead of relegating them to demeaning, low-end jobs just because they have hit a certain age; putting out more family-friendly policies to encourage couples to have more children; capitalising on technology to increase productivity and learning from other developed nations and big companies who are doing it right.

One wonders why there is a need to so urgently push through this controversial White Paper despite Singaporeans’ protests. If the government truly has Singaporeans’ interests at heart and feel the sorrows Singaporeans feel, why not put the White Paper on the backburner and go back to the drawing board? Why not seriously consider some of the suggestions as they just might work even if some tweaks are needed?

LHL wants us to believe that projecting the population beyond 2020 was “uncertain” and “for future generations to decide” but why not listen to today’s generation? 2020 is only 8 years away, surely it is still the same generation he is talking about?

With the contradiction between his words and his actions, it is very hard for Singaporeans to believe LHL’s assurances. He and his government have refused to listen to the very people who have voted them in. So LHL is “with us”, feels what we feel, see our pain and we, “(Singaporeans) are at the heart of all of (his and the PAP government’s) policies”?

Yeah, right!

Concerned PMET

Source: TRE website

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