SDP on Cabinet reshuffle: PR exercise or genuine response to the people's needs?



The changes to the cabinet and the introduction of the new ministries by the Prime Minister (PM) are accompanied by little useful information but much public relations puff.

Statements like Singapore entering a "new phase of development", the need to "strengthen our families", and focusing on "building a cohesive and vibrant society" have been stock phrases that the PAP makes whenever it feels the need to assuage Singaporeans about its policies.

What Singaporeans want to hear are specifics on how the Government will reform its wrong-headed policy of allowing the sudden and massive increase of foreigners into this country. Making motherhood statements like promoting "harmonious communal relations" is meaningless and changes nothing in reality.

In fact, the setting up of the two ministries – Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the Ministry of Social and Family Development – seems suspiciously like an effort to manage Singaporeans' resentment to its foreign workers' policy rather than a genuine attempt to understand and resolve the hardships that the people are going through as a result of this policy.

The PM's statement that "social and community issues are increasingly important in our shared home" seems to be code for making Singaporeans accept the current immigration policy. Singaporeans are not looking for a new Government ministry to tell them to continue to tolerate the intolerable. Instead they want concrete steps taken to stop the immigration flow and only accept foreign talent that our country is in genuine need of.

The problems of the influx of foreign workers have been going on for years and the PM is only now making a show of paying attention to them. His latest statement seems like a reaction borne out of after-thought than a studied immigration policy plan that addresses the longer-term needs of our society.

The SDP will continue to stay on the matter and speak up for the people until the Government sees the light and acts in the interest of Singaporeans. Until then, no amount of reshuffling of the cabinet is going to fool anyone.

Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party