by Diana Sharma
This is an open letter to all People’s Action Party (PAP) cadres: Please, please, please rethink why you enter politics and look at the direction that the current PAP is going.
I sincerely believe that most Singaporeans who enter politics, regardless if they join the PAP or the opposition parties, do so with a pure heart to serve Singapore and her people.
In fact, that was the reason why PAP was very popular in the 1960’s. The pioneer batch of PAP politicians served Singapore with all their hearts and souls. They commanded the trust and respect of most Singaporeans.
Today, all Singaporeans, especially the older generation, are grateful to PAP for leading and transforming Singapore from a third-world country in the 1960’s to a modern city-state in the 1990’s.
Undeniably, PAP was not perfect and Lee Kuan Yew could be an absolute autocrat who inflicted extreme cruelty to any dissenting voices and political opponents. However, no matter how one looked at it, we have to agree that PAP had indeed done an excellent job in bringing Singapore to where it is today. We only need to look at our neighbouring countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, etc, and compare the progress made over the same timeframe from 1960s to 1990s.
Indeed, one of the reasons for the continued support for PAP during General Elections is the perception that they worked very hard to the interests of Singaporeans at the foremost and they are competent to bring about positive changes to lead the country forward.
Unfortunately, the same can no longer be said over the past 20 over years from 1990s to today. I personally feel that the hearts and souls of PAP are no longer with the common people to bring Singapore to new heights.
PAP MPs are so far detached from the average Singaporean that they live in a separate world by themselves.
The Current State of Affairs
Take, for example, of PAP ministers telling Singaporeans to buy into the Asset Enhancement Scheme for Housing Development Board (HDB) flats and promising that the value of HDB flats will never go down.
After tens of thousands of Singaporeans used up all their life savings and Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies to buy HDB flats, they announced that all HDB flats will be returned to the government at zero costs at the end of the 99-year leases.
In fact, some readers even commented that this is nothing more than an elaborate scheme to buy votes, since PAP had also openly stated that the HDB upgrading were prioritised by the PAP vote share.
Interestingly, most, if not all, PAP MPs do not live in HDB flats and they do not need to return their HDB flats to the government at the end of the 99-year leases.
PAP ministers pay themselves in excesses of $1 million while the entire economy is mis-managed with PMET unemployment hitting new highs.
Instead of standing together with Singaporeans and giving them solid support to tide over the difficult times, PAP made life even more difficult by increasing GST, electricity prices, water prices, town council fees, transportation costs, ERPs, airport taxes, university fees, property taxes, parking charges, carbon taxes, sugar taxes, etc.
As if to add insults to injury, PAP MPs pay $365 for one whole year of parking, while demanding our teachers to pay for school parking. CPF monies pay-outs are automatically deferred to 70 years of age, even though it was supposed to help provide financial support for the retired. And to top it off, they put the blame of economic mismanagement onto the common people and told them to pay more money to nurture skills in order to upgrade their skills so that graduates can become cooks and cab drivers.
Education has become an elitism breeding ground for the PAP families. While PAP ministers openly claimed that “All schools are good schools”, it is a doubt as to whether anyone of them ever sent their children to neighbourhood schools.
Finally, top school students are guaranteed places in Junior Colleges via the Integrated Programmes and Through-Trains Programmes, as well as concession points to enter affiliated Junior Colleges, whereas neighbourhood students are denied such opportunities.
Basically, children from PAP families no longer compete with children from the average Singaporean families on the level-playing fields. Our education system serves more to separate the elitist family children from the common Singaporean children, rather than to provide basic education for all Singapore children.
Accountabilities and transparencies are not even low – they are non-existent. PAP MP spouses and Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) paper generals are parachuted into high positions in governmental agencies whereby they will just move on to other high positions when they perform poorly.
The list of failures and wastage includes Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) being sold to a foreign entity, Keppel corruption scandal, multiple MRT breakdowns, building the non-functioning National Stadium, multiple confidential data breaches in SingHealth, numerous deaths in SAF, near collapse of SPH, paying millions to Uber for a system when Uber intending to sell the business to Grab, overspending millions for the Youth Olympics and building a non-existent High-Speed Railway, and overspending billions to build Airport Terminal 5 (and increasing airport taxes so much so that airlines divert to other airports), Tuas Mega-Port (with China building an even larger port in Malaysia).
The only exception to moving on for poor performance is Ho Ching in Temasek Holdings. Ho Ching continued to draw high pay package (estimated to be more than $100 million annually) even when Temasek Holdings lost billions from multiple investments, including Bayer shares, Hyflux shares, toxic credit-related products during the Lehman Brother crisis, Thaksin’s Shin Cooperation shares and the Suzhou Industrial Project, etc.
In fact, some readers speculated that this is the primary reason why CPF monies was withheld while taxes and utility fees rocketed sky high. The President is supposed to serve as a check on the National Reserves and, in order to ensure no independent candidate can ever be elected as a President, the entry bar is now set so high that even the remaining handful of qualified independent candidates will rather enjoy their personal wealth than to risk getting into potential fallout with the government.
In the meantime, an Indian is selected to be a Malay President in order to maintain racial harmony, whereas the issue of a Malay or Indian Prime Minister is conveniently brushed aside even though voiced by many Singaporeans. Look at our National Budget! There is no directionality or leadership to lead Singapore forward. Instead, it is almost like a bribery whereby tax monies are dispersed to Singaporeans once every four years, just prior to the General Elections.
Serve Singapore with Moral Integrity
As a true-blue daughter of Singapore, I now call upon all PAP cadres to do self-reflection. Search deep within yourself and ask yourself these questions. Is this how you want to serve Singapore? Is this the proper way to govern and lead the country?
Stand back and take a hard look at the current state of affairs. Is PAP really acting for the good of Singapore? What has PAP done for Singapore over the past 10 years that has benefited Singapore as a whole?
I think the answer is very obvious if you search within your heart. I beseech you to uphold your integrity and exercise moral courage.
Stop being part of the PAP system. Leave the PAP system and start anew. Join another political party. Or form a new political party to serve Singapore if you feel that all the opposition parties are not good enough to serve Singapore. Remember that history will eventually reflect the current state of affairs.
Do you seriously think that the Singapore Archives can be locked away forever? If the PAP is so above board as it tries to portray itself, then it should declare to the public how much exactly are the PAP ministers and Ho Ching are being paid and open the Singapore Archives. What is there to hide?
You do not want to be identified as part of the PAP system when that happens and you do not want your own descendants to scorn at you in contempt.
So leave this system now while you still can. Start afresh and really work to serve Singaporeans. Goh Chock Tong and Heng Swee Keat can take the lead. They can have some self-dignity and self-respect and they should stop working as seat warmers.
If you choose to stay behind because of the huge pay checks, then stop lying to Singaporeans that you are stepping forward to serve the people. You are nothing more than a selfish elitist!
*This is a letter from a member of public and does not reflect the opinion of the publication. Certain parts of the original letter has been removed.