Open letter to Minister Lim Swee Say

By Philip Ang

Dear Minister Lim Swee Say

I refer to ST article dated 1 Feb, “White Paper all about ‘planning ahead”.

Minister Lim was quoted as saying “Just imagine if 10 years ago, we had a Singapore Conversation to talk about one day 10 years from then… population may reach 5.4 million, then start to put in place infrastructure, housing, MRT. Today, we will be much better off, isn’t it?”.

This is a rhetorical question. Anyway, if the government had really consulted Singaporeans, the answer would have been a resounding NO. Affordability and a very high stress level was already quite evident. Property prices in the previous decade had already more than doubled without a corresponding increase in wages. Why would Singaporeans have chosen to compound existing problems?

To most Singaporeans, the debate in Parliament next week is a foregone conclusion and as I have mentioned in previous feedback to PM Lee, Singaporeans are becoming more cynical by the minute. The year-long planning by civil servants will of course proceed, perhaps with tweaks here and there, as Parliament is dominated by PAP MPs, which at 90 per cent actually represents only 60 per cent of Singaporeans.

PAP MPs must consult their constituents. It is not up to politicians to dictate to us which foreigners will be our neighbours.

The PAP must take full ownership of today’s problems (stagnant wages, housing and transportation woes, etc) because Singaporeans were hardly/never consulted on major issues which impact our lives. An issue of this magnitude requires a referendum. The people should decide and not any political party.

The PAP’s ‘solutions’ are presently its intentions. The proposed solutions themselves will create more problems because of the haphazardness in planning. (towns are planned years/decades instead of months ahead ie. MND building 200,000 within 5 years. Quality will be sacrificed due to a huge manpower (skilled) shortage and there will be humongous bottlenecks.) These are the knowns, what about the unknowns? (external factors – US/Europe/China problems leading to another credit crisis/collapse?)

With an increasingly large number of Singaporeans buying property at current prices, isn’t the risk extremely high?

The PAP rammed its Grand Plan through to increase the population to the current level with a purely academic understanding of reality. Without having resolved a fraction of the problems created, it is presently suggesting to implement Grand Plan Part 2.

The PAP government cannot decide behind closed doors and assume what is good for Singaporeans. Ministers do not experience the daily issues faced by 83 per cent of heartlanders. A grassroots leader was disappointed and said the government’s plan to increase the population to 6.9 million was “logically and emotionally not acceptable ‘’. This reflects the views of all whom I have spoken to.

Please consult Singaporeans and let us collectively chart our future.