Rebutting PAP supporter

(1) Are you prepared to accept the possibility of a freak election result where the opposition forms a coalition government since many people assume that there will always be enough people to vote PAP into government, thus it will still be safe to vote for opposition? Your vote could be the swing.

Mr Goh Chok Tong said a few days ago “”(But) I’m not concerned with this GE where I think we will do alright. My concern is the one after that and the one after that.”” PAP followers should listen to their leaders and advise the middle ground that a freak election is unlikely this time. If PAP followers themselves don’t listen to their own leaders, how do they expect non-followers to believe in PAP?

Mr Ho Kwong Ping, a respectable figure in our country, also proclaimed in his first IPS lecture in October last year that a freak election is unlikely in the short term. We should trust these public figures instead of an anonymous letter writer.

(2) Will you be comfortable for the current slate of opposition candidates to speak on Singapore’s behalf in international affairs and forums? Can any of the current opposition candidate be able to make us proud like DPM Tharman during his interview at St Gallen?

Our former finance minister Mr Richard Hu was nowhere as charismatic or as globally famous as DPM Tharman. Were we less proud as Singaporeans when Mr Hu was finance minister between 1985 and 2001? At the very least, Singapore families coped better with cost of living under Mr Hu than under DPM Tharman.

(3) Why do the opposition mostly focus on domestic issues and not international matters? Are they only capable of handling domestic issues? What are their views on world affairs as Singapore is very dependent and vulnerable to her external environment? Will they be able to engage and talk in depth with the world leaders and business leaders?

What sophisticated and substantive views have new PAP candidates expressed about international matters? Nothing. All of them, including ex-SAF chief and countless other scholars said next to nothing about international matters. Yet we don’t question if they can deal with international matters. The qualifications and experiences of opposition candidates are now on par or better than those of the PAP. What the PAP can handle internationally, the opposition can too. Dr Chee Soon Juan has been meeting international organisation leaders for the past 15 years. Which new PAP candidate can compare with him on international matters?

(4) Are you confident that the opposition can continue to maintain our good international relationships with other nations, especially given the sensitive relations with our neighbours and the big countries? How will they handle the haze from Indonesia and water issue from Malaysia etc? They cannot conveniently tagged on PAP’s solutions if PAP is voted out of government.

Just days ago, Mr Lim Swee Say insulted both Malaysia and China with “heng ah”. In one fell scoop, cabinet minister Lim damaged international relationships with two countries including the one supplying water to us. In 2013, PM Lee joked about pork soup coming out of taps and free smoke in the air in China right in front of China’s adversary USA. So don’t be mistaken please, it is the PAP ministers and the PM himself who are damaging our good international relationships with other countries. If good international relationship is important to us, then we should not vote for PAP, especially Mr Lim and PM Lee.

(5) Is it so important to have a different voice in Parliament just for the sake of it regardless of the quality and credibility of that voice? Does this voice truly speak for the people or merely to serve their personal agenda or grudge against PAP?

But quality and credibility of opposition candidates are on par or superior to those of the PAP. We have opposition candidates who graduated from Oxford and who are accomplished lawyers, corporate honchos and medical professor. If these people from the top echelon of our society have no quality or credibility, who has?

It is PAP candidates who are more likely to benefit from association with PAP and hence more reason to have personal agenda in this election.

(6) Are you looking at the big picture or do you only care about the details? If Singapore does not have enough water for its people, do you think we will still complain about MRT breakdown? Without the existing framework of stable and strong government, social harmony, economic prosperity, do you think you will still complain about foreign workers? We might have to be foreign workers ourselves.

Malaysia signed the water contract with Singapore, not with PAP. Malaysia will continue to supply water to Singapore, with or without PAP. The governments of Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea are not as strong as that of Singapore’s. But they are no less stable, harmonious or prosperous. Democracy is not antagonistic to stability and prosperity.

(7) What are some of the knee jerk reactions if PAP is voted out of the government? Market will react, foreign funds will flee Singapore immediately, our currency will lose its value and our investments will drop. Do you think investors will risk their money and wait for the new government to prove itself? No investor like a politically unstable country. As soon as a whiff of a political unrest is detected, the ringgit went into a free fall.

All first world nations, including Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, experience political changes regularly without their countries collapsing. Thailand experienced coup after coup, yet investments continue to pour in and Thailand continues to be stable and prosperous. There is no reason why Singapore should be different.

(8) Why do you want to give your vote to a new and unknown candidate who did not even contribute to the community before and penalize the person who has been serving the community through grassroots work? Have he or she earned it? Some candidates only appear every 4-5 years when election comes.

Then we should not vote for the many new PAP candidates who are relatively unknowns until their recent unveiling. On the contrary, many opposition candidates have been serving the community in various ways prior to this contest so they definitely have earned it. PAP candidate Ong Ye Kung for example was last heard of 4-5 years ago in the last election, so this is definitely a problem for the PAP too.

(9) It’s very easy to be popular by saying what people want to hear and promise to give more, but it is even more courageous to implement the right policies for the nation long term and be unpopular short term. Nobody likes to be the one to give hard truths, but someone has to do it.

Isn’t this what the PAP is doing now? Giving handout after handout to increase popularity? By the same definition, the PAP is not courageous because it did not stick to its so called right policies but made many u-turns to unpopular policies after 2011. Hard truth is actually half truth or hardly truth, the PAP doesn’t give the whole truth.

(10) Is there a perfect government in this world? Why are countries sending their diplomats to study from a small little red dot if our government didn’t get most of it right?

PAP government is far from perfect and “no perfect government in this world” is no excuse for not striving to become better. Diplomats coming to study us are mostly from the Third World, First World countries hardly learn from us. It at best shows that we are better than Third World, it doesn’t show we are better than other First World countries.

(11) Do you want a paralyzed parliament which is bogged down with bickering over short term national issues to gain political points from voters? You need a government with foresight and do long term planning. Marina Bay, Changi Airport expansion, PSA ports etc cannot be built in a one election cycle. Do you think a weak government fighting for political survival will have time for these long term projects ?

Many European parliaments are multi-party but they do not get bogged down. Multi-party parliament doesn’t automatically translate to a bogged down parliament.

The PAP government can’t even foresee the immediate problems of sudden, massive population influx which PM Lee apologised for in 2011, what foresight is there to talk of? Marina Bay is just the continuation of land reclamation first done by the British colonial government. Changi Airport extension is a reminder of the stupendous waste of tax payers’ money in renovating the Budget Terminal only to tear it down 10 years later. The civil service is supposed to be non-partisan and the ballast with which to smoothly operate the nation over the long term. If answering opposition questions means not having time for long term projects, it means PAP politicians are not fit to lead the country.

(12) Why do we have to keep striving to be among the best in the world? Would other nations or MNCs or investors bother with a little red dot if we are just mediocre? There are so many big cities around the world with many natural and human resources, so how does Singapore stand out if we are just average? What captures the world’s attention on Singapore? As our PM said, the work is never done, there are still more peaks to scale. Can we afford to remain stagnant and be complacent as a little red dot?

China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia are drawing investors from all over the world even though they are not as renowned as us. There is no need to be the best to draw in investments.

Natural resources accounts for less than 2% of most First World GDPs’ value add. Being small is a blessing in disguise. The percentage of small nations that are prosperous is about twice that of large nations.

The Singapore Grand Prix is supposed to capture the world’s attention. Having captured the world’s attention for so many years, our continuation with the Grand Prix can only mean one of two things – global audiences have pea brain memories and must be constantly reminded of Singapore year after year or the Grand Prix doesn’t quite capture the world’s attention as it supposedly does.

We cannot afford to be stagnant or complacent doesn’t mean we can afford to be reckless.

Thank you

Ng Kok Lim

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