Chan Chun Sing, the millionaire Parrot Man?

“One day, two speeches, full of fluff and nothing original”.

Quite unfortunately – and even shockingly – we are not taking about some mid-level bureaucrat here but someone who could potentially be our next Prime Minister.

Yesterday, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing gave an interview with CNBC while also speaking at the Ecosperity conference organized by Temasek Holdings.

During the CNBC interview, Chan’s stance was this: Singapore remains an open economy that embraces globalization and would seek to redistribute the growth to those that have been left out. There are challenges presented by globalization, but Singapore will do its best to deepen the connection with all the markets around the world.

Singapore will seek to embrace technology and use the global market as our hinterland. Any country which embraces protectionist measures will eventually spark a global trade war that will have a negative impact on the global trade system.

Wait a minute… Isn’t’ this merely re-quoting what the Prime Minister has said?

Back in 2015 at the Labour Movement’s National Delegates’ Conference, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had also said that Singapore needs to ride the wave of globalization while helping to upgrade displaced workers and those who have lost their jobs.

As protectionist measures are increased between China and the USA earlier this year,  PM Lee had also said the same thing about protectionist measures that must be avoided,  otherwise a trade war could take place.

So what is new or innovative about Chan’s interview? Any JC kid would be able to do the same regurgitating!

Later at the Ecosperity conference, Chan said that Singapore must avoid the formation of any enclaves. To do so, the government will integrate rental flats together with BTO projects to enable “people from different backgrounds living and socializing together”.

Again, this was the exact thing that Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong had said at the President’s debate. Yet, Chan has failed to improve or add anything despite the suggestions or feedback that have been present from Wong’s speech.

One such criticism was the effectiveness of this scheme.

Family A living in a rental flat may have an income of $1200, while family B living in a 4-room BTO may have an income of $3200. Their lifestyles would not be drastically different, compared to, say, Family B and Family C, who is living in private housing and earning a combined $40,000 a month.

If the government cannot take radical measures, how then do they integrate the rich and the middle-class, which is the most pressing issue? This is better  than trying to integrate the middle-class and the poor when there is not much difference to begin with.

Back in 2013 when the government announced to shift the Tanjong Pagar Port to Tuas, it was Minister Wong who said that there should not be HDB flats in the core central region: “I think to do more (public) housing in the city… would not be plausible and we shouldn’t do it”

Again, Chan has shown that he is merely repeating what has cabinets have said earlier -copied wholescale – without adding anything new or innovative. So, are we having a million-dollar parrot as our new Minister?