by Kwok Fangjie
Given that the last elections took place in September 2015 and a Parliamentary term has to be called once every 5 years, we have reached the midpoint between GE2015 and GE2019/20.
It would hence be a good time to take stock of the PAP’s performance for the current term of governence and reflect on some issues which will influence the next election.
Unemployment and underemployment of Singaporeans
As Calvin Cheng aptly put it, the Singaporean electorate “can close an eye to a lot, but not to bread and butter issues like housing and transport”. As far as the well-being of the electorate is concerned, the picture does not look pretty since the GE2015.
Not only has the unemployment rate increased with older workers finding it harder to secure employment, the number of ‘self-employed’ has increased by 11.7% from 200,100 the year before to 223,500. In contrast to then, fresh graduates are facing an uphill task in securing good employment.
While there is a global trend in the increase of freelance workers, the number of private hire cars stood at almost 47,000 – a shocking indicator of under-employment in tiny island with a literacyrate of 97%! Considering that youths are resorting to drive private hire cars, this could be an indication that such under-employment is involuntarily.
A beautiful Singapore but a deterioration of infrastructure
While Singapore’s skyline and glitzy Sentosa Cove bungalows have been featured prominently in international luxury and travel magazines alike, this standard of luxury rarely flows down to the average Singaporean who is struggling with the costs of living and deteriorating infrastructure.
While Singapore has a high number of tourists arrivals as tourists transit through it to visit the rest of ASEAN, there are questions as to why there is a need to build an additional terminal at great cost and passing the costs down to average Singaporeans. Such behaviour has been described as a “white elephant” by former NTUC Income CEO Tan Kin Lian.
Over the past 2 years, Sigma lifts in PAP-wards have seen a great number of malfunctions including the death of an elderly couple who were trapped in the lift for more than 2 hours and the death of an elderly man. This later prompted HDB to introduce measures to the increase safety. Despite this, a portion of the costs will be passed on to residents.
Despite the worst MRT breakdown after MRT tunnels were flooded due to a lack of maintenance and falsification of records , Minister Khaw remained deaf for calls of Desmond Kuek to resign and thanked the latter as a ‘volunteer’ — a role for which he is paid S$1.87 million (US$1.39 million) per year.
Doesn’t bode well for the LKY model of governance?
As Professor Michael D Barr - a specialist in Singapore politics and history at the Flinders University - concludes, developments in the recent years do not “bode well for the longevity of the Lee Kuan Yew model of governance.”
What do you think?