“You don’t get to lecture us on putting common good ahead of self-interest,” said Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan to the ruling government yesterday (8 March) on his Facebook page.
In a post, Dr Chee listed out the many instances that illustrate how the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) government says one thing but does another and how there is a difference in the standards they set for themselves compared to those for the people.
Starting with salaries, Dr Chee notes:
“When PAP tells us that its ministers – the highest paid politicians in the world – are still not paid enough and then refuse to implement minimum wage for workers.
When the PM pays himself $200k a month but tells the people to buy the cheapest brand of milk powder or eat $3-economic rice.”
In the same vein, he highlighted how ministers “make us” live in crammed housing while insisting on increasing the population to 6.9 or even 10 million while they themselves live in massive bungalows.
On bread and butter issues, Dr Chee noted:
“When PAP withholds CPF funds and makes our elderly toil for a living when retired ministers enjoy a Swiss standard of living.
When it promised us that HDB prices would never fall when there was absolutely no truth to it.
When PAP widens the divide between elite schools and neighbourhood schools while saying that every school is a good school and ministers attend or send their children to attend prestigious universities overseas.”
He also touched on financial matters, saying that the PAP “continues its profligacy and financial imprudence when it comes to spending public funds and then raises the GST” and noted that the country’s economy is ranked 4th on the Crony-Capitalism Index while the government refuses to reveal the amount in the country’s reserves.
On legislation and politics, Dr Chee said:
“When it introduces legislation that allows ministers to accuse the opposition of making false statements while the opposition cannot do the same to ministers.
When it reserves the presidency for a Malay and then allows its ethnically-Indian candidate to run.
When it appoints its losing candidate as chair and adviser to govt grassroots organisations instead of the duly elected opposition MP.”
He also added, “When it [the government] says that society would lose out without a natural aristocracy and that it would allow more billionaires to come in even if it worsens inequality in this country.”
Finally, on jobs, Dr Chee said that the PAP continues to import more and more foreign professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETS) while many Singaporeans have to resort to becoming Grab or taxi drivers to make a living.
Netizens call for a change; some disagree with the implementation of a minimum wage
Dr Chee’s post has garnered over 300 comments and been shared at least 600 times since it was published.
A majority of comments are netizens agreeing with Dr Chee’s sentiments, pointing out the “elitist” situation of the ruling government. One person noted the 69.9 percent of voters who voted in the PAP government in the last general election, and asked how they could be “oblivious” to the “hypocrisy” being exhibited.
Many pointed out that the leaders have fallen short of their responsibilities in caring for the well-being of the people, adding their own list of the government’s actions, and called for the ruling government to be voted out.
Richard Lim also suggested that the ruling party’s ministers should experience life as an average Singaporean by taking a 50 percent pay cut, living in Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats for five years, and taking public transport to the office – just to teach them how difficult life in Singapore is.
Despite the many calls for voting the PAP out, one person, Nelson Wong, noted that he agrees that the government does not “walk their own talk” but offered an explanation that the system allows them to stay in control even if they do lose a seat in parliament.
Another person, Tom Wang, simply said that it’s not possible to vote the PAP out because Singaporeans “have no guts” to do it.
Another person, Isman Rahman, opted for a gentler approach by emphasising that the message here is that Singaporeans just want a “fair government” who looks after its citizens.
There was also one person who turned the question around to Dr Chee, asking how much he would pay himself if he was a full minister.
There were also several netizens who disagreed with Dr Chee’s implication that a minimum wage should be implemented.