The “inbreeding of ideas” within PAP has produced “defective policies” for Singapore in the last 15 years, resulting in “a malformed economy”, said Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan.
“The autocratic effort of keeping the political bloodline pure within the PAP has produced a society unable to respond to changes and begun the slow but certain undoing of this country,” he added.
Quoting an article by TODAY in 2015, in which Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reportedly said that Singapore will face three crucial challenges in the future: namely the economy, population growth, and national identity, Dr Chee argued that Singapore is already currently struggling with said challenges presently.
Analysts at Japanese financial group Nomura were quoted by The Business Times as saying that restructuring has failed to boost Singapore’s productivity, and that the Republic’s slow economic growth is predicted to last “until the end of this decade”.
This was even acknowledged by Mr Lee himself, according to Dr Chee. Mr Lee was quoted by CNA as saying in 2017 that “we are feeling the pains of restructuring”, and have yet to see the “dividends of our hard work”.
“After 15 years, and we’re still not seeing results,” said Dr Chee, adding that Lee “had formed seven sub-committees and consulted more than 1,000 individuals to help him draw up the plan”.
“In any private organisation, he would have been fired a long time ago,” he said. “If for the last 15 years, the PAP cannot figure out how to improve productivity and the economic situation, what makes you think that it can do so in the next five?”
While it is known that increased productivity equals economic growth, Dr Chee highlighted that even the mainstream media have reported that Singaporeans are generally under great pressure when it comes to working.
Business Insider, for example, reported as recently as in Mar this year that “92 per cent working Singaporeans are stressed”, while TODAY reported that Singaporean workers are “among the most stressed” worldwide. Singapore Business Review reported in 2014 that 6 in 10 Singaporeans surveyed were overworked and underpaid.
Citing an International Labour Organisation survey, which revealed that only 19 per cent of Singaporeans look forward to work daily, Dr Chee questioned: “How are you supposed to increase productivity when our workers are overworked, are the most stressed globally, and don’t look forward going to work?
“How does PAP [People’s Action Party] deal with this matter? It raises the cost of living, brings in even more foreigners to increase our population to 10 million … and Mr Lee pours gasoline on the fire by telling everyone to steal everyone else’s lunch,” charged Dr Chee.
Economics professor Linda Lim, in analysing the Committee for the Future Economy, said that what it doesn’t address is why all of the previous plans of the committees did not succeed, and why the government continues to make more of such plans under such committees.
“They’ve been saying the same thing in different words,” she said, as seen in the video posted by Dr Chee.
Citing Bloomberg’s report in may this year, Dr Chee said that at this rate, “Vietnam’s economy could soon overtake Singapore’s economy by 2029” based on DBS Bank Ltd.’s findings.
“That’s only 10 years from now. think about it,” he warned.
Singapore’s birth rates last year “lowest in the nation’s history”, patriotism weakening among young Singaporeans: Dr Chee
Just this month, even PAP’s Women’s Wing acknowledged that high cost of living deters Singaporeans from having children, Dr Chee noted. Singapore’s falling birthrates indicate that it is possible that the “proportion of older folks may be double than younger ones” in a decade from now. 2018 saw the lowest birthrate in Singapore’s history since independence, at 1.14 births per woman of childbearing age.
“Again, what does Mr Lee do? He raises prices and taxes on a slew of items in the last few years – including school fees – and will hike the GST to 9 per cent next year,” said Dr Chee.
Issues stemming from the government’s open-door policy towards foreign labour and scholars have also posed as a hindrance in building a solid national identity, he suggested.
Citing a CNA report in 2007 — in which it was revealed that 37 per cent of younger Singaporeans surveyed don’t feel patriotic, and more than half of them would emigrate, given the opportunity to do so — Dr Chee said, “Are you surprised that our people don’t feel loyal to Singapore when you flood this country with foreigners to unfairly compete with them for jobs?”
“Companies in Singapore are discriminating against Singaporeans, can you believe it? Even PAP MPs have admitted that locals are disadvantaged when it comes to finding jobs,” he added.
Dr Chee further said that given that the government is funding the studies of foreigners via scholarships “to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars” while raising the school fees of local students, it is absurd to “expect people to have a strong sense of national identity”.
Other arrangements made under the government’s open-door policy include the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) — under which Indian nationals are recruited to work in Singapore, and Certis Cisco being allowed to recruit graduates from Taiwan as auxiliary police officers — encourage more foreign PMETs to work in Singapore “even as our own PMETs cannot find jobs and are increasingly turning to driving taxis and Grab cars”, he added.
Injection of new ideas will expand S’pore’s “political gene pool”, ensure survival of S’pore society
Using the example of the Habsburg Monarchy in Europe some centuries ago, whose members married one another to keep their power within the family, Dr Chee pointed out that the inbreeding resulted in successive generations having congenital defects, such as in the case of Charles II of Spain, who had an unusually small heart and some intestinal problems, among other conditions.
“The royal line ended with his early death,” said Dr Chee.
“Science has shown that species with small gene pools don’t allow diversity and variety, and are prone to getting wiped out when an event favours one trait over the other,” he stressed.
Thus, said Dr Chee, “we must create a large and robust pool of ideas so that when circumstances change, we as a society don’t get wiped out”.
“This is why SDP has come up with alternative new ideas on how to raise productivity, rejuvenate our economy, lower the cost of living, provide affordable healthcare, educate our children, and so on,” he said, adding that “the only way that we can do this is for SDP to get into Parliament at the next round and stop PAP inbreeding”.
“The PAP is bankrupt of ideas, and I’m not exaggerating or indulging in PAP-bashing … I’m putting this all together and connecting the dots for you so that you can see the whole picture, not just bits and pieces here and there that may not make any sense.
“This is the job of the opposition — to help our people see what’s going on and understand where we are headed, to warn the people of the problems that lay ahead,” said Dr Chee.
Chee Soon Juan previously highlighted plight of elderly Singaporeans living in poverty
Citing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s election promise in 2015, in which Mr Lee said that elderly Singaporeans “deserve peace of mind in their golden years” and “to live out their years with dignity”, Dr Chee, in a video on 30 Jul, highlighted how after the last election until today, senior citizens “are having difficulty in making ends meet”.
This can be seen in the number of seniors working as cleaners, as Dr Chee had shown in his video, which he had attributed partially to the government’s policy of not allowing “retirees to take back their CPF savings at 55 years old”.
While the CPF Board retains Members’ money at 55 for the purpose of the CPF LIFE annuity scheme, Members will only be able to obtain monthly payouts after the “payout eligibility age” at 65 from CPF Life, and only after making an application to the CPF Board, as illustrated by a TOC reader earlier this year.
Drawing attention to the tragic plight of elderly Singaporeans who “live in poverty” as a result of not being able to withdraw their CPF savings at 55, Dr Chee observed that some of them “have to sleep on the streets and McDonalds because they are homeless”, and that many of them have also contemplated resorting to suicide as they could “find no way out” of their bleak financial situation.
The number of suicides among elderly Singaporeans reached “a record high” since 1991 in 2017, with 129 senior citizens aged 60 and above having taken their lives, as reported by the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) a year ago.
Younger generations are not spared from the negative effects of the PAP’s policies, according to Dr Chee, as many “are turning to driving taxis and Grab cars” due to retrenchments, which many have attributed to the PAP’s open-door “foreign talent” policy.
Dr Chee also reiterated the multiple rising costs of basic necessities such as the 30 per cent increase of the water tax, as well as increasing town council fees and public education fees as an example of how the PAP will “make you pay and pay”.
“Before elections, it [PAP] will lower the price of this and that, like giving you kopi for 50 cents and get your vote. But after the elections, it will increase prices again and more, then take back the money it “gave” you before,” he charged.
“Before elections, it will give you a chicken wing. After elections, it takes back a whole chicken,” added Dr Chee.