|The Straits Times|
ESM Goh Chok Tong has come out to call what happened at Hong Lim Park “speakers’ rhetoric”.
Singaporeans have said from the start when the Population White Paper was first released, that they disagree with the 6.9 million target. Many have cited the constant infrastructure breakdowns, the squeeze on public transport and on the roads especially during peak hours, the lack of personal and recreational space, the impact on natural reserves, the depressed wages of Singaporeans, the increasing income gap, the local PMETs job losses, the increased competition for resources from housing to water to childcare / university spaces and healthcare as good reasons for the government to rethink the target. Many have also gave suggestions on sustainability and moral obligations of the nation.
To call the protest as rhetoric shows the lack of sincerity on the government’s part to listen to Singaporeans or the genuine care the government has for Singaporeans’ concerns.
Are the speakers at the protest too one-sided? Was it politically-motivated? Was it playing on Singaporeans’ emotions?
There were no singing of any political parties’ theme songs, there was no selling of any political parties’ motto or manifesto, there was no call to Singaporeans to take up arms and fight the PAP government.
So what was really said at the Hong Lim park protest?
First, there was a united voice calling for the government to reject the Population White Paper as it is unacceptable to Singaporeans, the main stakeholders of this little red dot. There were calls from families to the government to consider the plight of future generation as space diminishes, the Singapore core threatened and spaces for local children at Universities become even more competitive.
There were calls for the government to review its stance on the population white paper because the nation’s infrastructure is not coping even at 5.3 million people today. There were appeals to the government to stop being in denial and to use full and proper statistics when they are forming policies. A placard clearly showed that some Singaporeans are sick of being poor despite the government constantly touting Singapore as a rich nation.
Singaporeans also want the government to stop giving out Singapore citizenship as a country club would give out or sell its membership. Then, Singaporeans want the government to truly engage Singaporeans in its National Conversation and not just pay lip service to it or be tokenistic by inviting the “right” people to these conversations.
To top it all off, Singaporeans at the event are clear on one thing – they want a sustainable Singapore for Singaporeans FIRST.
Ng Eng Hen has assured Singaporeans the government is listening. Lee Hsien Loong has tried to assure Singaporeans that the future is bright.
Singaporeans have spoken. Is the PAP government really listening?
Source: TRE website