We have been told time and time again that this government cares deeply for Singaporeans, having their best interests at heart and always putting them first.
Let’s look at the reality.
In a recent leaked audio recording, people learned of how they were lambasted by Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing behind closed doors. He called Singaporeans names – including “idiots” and “sia suay” – for panic-buying and hoarding.
As it turned out, such behaviour is not unique to Singaporeans because people the world over also resort to emptying supermarket shelves in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.
But the larger point is that we have a classic example of a politician who has spoken often about caring for Singaporeans and putting them first, but then behind our backs, he heaps scorn and insults on us.
We have to ask ourselves: How often does this sort of thing happen behind closed doors?
In the weeks and months to come, Singaporeans will be told repeatedly of how important their interests are. This is in light of the fact that a general election could be called soon. The government will say that they need a fresh, strong mandate from the people so they can focus on keeping Singaporeans safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and help save jobs and cushion the economic fallout.
Instead of nodding our heads dutifully, Singaporeans need to ask these questions:
- Is the redrawing of electoral boundaries for the benefit of the people or the ruling party?
- The ruling party already has the mandate; why does it need a fresh mandate during a time of crisis?
- Is the ruling party really concerned for us, or is it concerned about getting the results it wants and staying in power?
- Is the ruling party taking the opportunity of putting the opposition at a disadvantage because they have to fight an election under very challenging circumstances?
- Is the ruling party not putting Singaporeans at risk at a time when people the world over are encouraged to give priority to their own well-being and keep a safe distance from each other?
- Is the ruling party worried that it is losing the fight over containing COVID-19 and the economic impact will be so great that the longer it waits to call an election, the more problematic it will be for them?
The final and most important (rhetorical) question we need to put to the government: Tell us honestly, are you putting yourselves first or putting Singaporeans first?
The only thing we can be sure of is that the government will only be honest behind closed doors. Just ask Chan Chun Sing.