Under-40s make up half of PAP new faces

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to the 22 Mar 2011 reports:

– Hougang man has a heart for the needy

New PAP candidate Mr Desmond Choo reportedly declared his heart is with the underprivileged and his mantra is that no one should be left behind. The people of Potong Pasir and Hougang are underprivileged because they had to wait for so many years to finally enjoy what the rest of Singapore enjoys. Whether or not Mr Choo gets elected, he must not forget his mantra but should instead push his fellow PAP comrades to make sure that no one, not even those from opposition wards are left behind. In fact, any PAP candidate who puts the PAP above Singaporeans is not fit to lead Singapore.

– Man with a long-term view
– Under-40s make up half of PAP new faces
– Labour candidates on ‘symbiotic’ ties with PAP

New PAP candidate Mr Ong Ye Kung said that his family’s and relatives’ uprooting from their Lorong Chuan kampong was more beneficial than detrimental. But those benefits went largely to the government. The land was taken from his family on the cheap. But were Lorong Chuan flats sold to the people as cheaply? The people of Lorong Chuan collectively paid much more than what the government had compensated Mr Ong’s family decades ago.

Mr Ong reportedly had a change of heart to the integrated resorts because of the thousands of jobs brought in. But many of the jobs went to foreigners. Food and beverage stalwart Mr Dennis foo reported 20% drop in business. Smaller outlets might have downsized of closed down. In the end, what appeared to be job creation might simply be job transfer from existing F&B outlets to the new integrated resorts. Also, what hasn’t been revealed thus far is how much Singaporeans have lost in our casinos. If the bulk of the billions made by the integrated resorts came from Singaporean pockets, then those billions would merely be money changing hands within the country without the actual production of real goods and services.

Mr Ong said PM Lee’s decisions are always about bringing real benefits to real people. How does the explosion of property prices bring real benefits to real people? The greatest beneficiary is none other than the government itself since it owns most of the land and would therefore benefit the most from a property bull run.

The fact that Singapore acted more decisively than the US in the US-Singapore FTA could simply reflect the greater importance Singapore attaches to the FTA as compared to the US since the US is one of our biggest export markets whereas we play only a tiny part in the US economy. The claim that Singapore needs a strong government to act decisively falls apart when we look at how laissez faire Hong Kong too can act decisively when required.

Mr Ong thinks that Singapore does pass the democracy test because voters have a choice to throw out the current government. But that description of the process is too simplistic since there are extra hurdles placed by the current government to entrench itself. Lack of media freedom, using HDB upgrading as a political currency to literally buy votes and lumping six constituencies into one are all cheap, undemocratic tricks that put our ‘democracy’ to shame.

Mr Ong reportedly said that the only test that mattered is whether workers benefited. His assessment is that investments have come in, jobs have improved, wages have gone up. But how can we have passed the test when we continue to see stagnant wages at the bottom that require topping up through Workfare?

Mr Teo Chee Hean reportedly referred to German union representatives sitting on company supervisory boards to justify NTUC’s ‘symbiotic’ relationship with PAP. But the relationship between union and company is not the same as the relationship between union and political party. The company is all that the union needs to support. But the political party is not all that the union needs to support. The union must support the entire nation, not just one party.

– ‘I’m staying, I’m fully invested’

Dr Janil Puthucheary said he is staying, fighting and fully invested. Talk is cheap. It would be better if he can serve two years of national service before saying that.

He said a viable two-party system depends on what else is put up for Singaporeans. That’s not true. It also depends on the tear down of unfair entrenchment practices by the PAP.

– Their dads were once PAP adversaries

Dr Puthucheary said that the Internal Security Act is used very differently today while Mr Ong said it is a new generation and should move on. But the fact that the Internal Security Act is used very differently today doesn’t mean it was used correctly in the past. If it was not used correctly in the past then surely any wrong doing deserves redress, even today. Moving on is easier said than done. Some of the victims of the Internal Security Act were locked away for twenty, thirty years. If Mr Ong is willing to be locked away for thirty years and not have his freedom back until he is seventy years old, would he say move on so easily?

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