Honestly, it is like the government does not have a clue of what it actually wants to achieve. Of course I am sure that that is not the intention but I am not altogether convinced that they understand the mixed and confused signals they are sending out. Either that or none of the government departments talk to each other and as the saying goes, the “right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.”
We have a number of high profile ministers showing up in Jurong for a walkabout to ostensibly get “a more holistic understanding of the issues that residents face.” While I applaud the gesture, I wonder if these are just going through the motions without any real change. In other words, is it just lip service and face time?
I am sure it is no secret that many average Singaporeans are facing the uphill challenges of rising costs and stagnant salaries. You don’t need a walkabout to realise this. Yet despite these concerns, the government has chosen to permit the increment of prices for necessities such as electricity and water, announce GST hikes and now you have this CPF withdrawal fudge that will affect the retirement livelihoods of many no matter which way you look at it. What’s the point of going for “face time” walkabouts if these basic bread and butter issues cannot be resolved? Put it another way, these are issues that can be resolved without going on walkabouts to understand. If they don’t understand, no amount of walkabouts will help them understand.
I also have a tongue in cheek question – who is paying for the parking in Jurong? Is it subsumed under the $365 per annum “baokaliao” parking?
Is it a case of “I come and visit you but you pay all the expenses hor”?
If you really want to understand your people, please start by addressing the basic bread and butter issues before planning walkabouts which can come across as nothing but a PR exercise.
Then you have Tharman praising France for investing in its young footballers while back on home ground, we have just rejected our first ever footballer to sign with an English Premier League (EPL) club a deferment from National Service (NS) over rigid, inflexible and counterproductive rules. Talk about irony. This kind of miscommunication and mixed signals are not problems that can be solved by walkabouts no matter how many!
Perhaps our bureaucracy has gotten so large that it is unwieldy and contradictory? Or maybe our government is not sure what message it wants to send out and ends up sending many differing messages? Let’s go back to basics before trying to plaster over cracks by organising walkabouts.