by Jamaludin Adin
I applaud Workers’ Party Member of Parliament Pritam Singh’s boldness in pressing for answers from a clueless Deputy Prime Minister, on the state of our reserves and rightly pointed out that all elected MPs are equal custodians of the coffers.
I felt that DPM’s arguments and comparisons on not revealing the exact health of our reserves are not only fundamentally wrong but technically flawed as we are warring with a virus and not with another nation.
Each country’s reserves are not really confidential due to the fact it is common knowledge to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or they would have downgraded our credit ratings and strength of the S’pore dollar, had they sensed any suspicious transactions or depletion.
Even if we take DPM’s arguments at its highest, he should at the very least, reveal those figures to our elected MPs only on a non-disclosure basis and we, the electorate should then trust our representatives to approve or object tax increases and sustainable redistribution of wealth back to citizens as there is no such thing as government money but taxpayer money.
Surely the PAP can trust our lawmakers on this?
I sincerely hope the real rationale behind the People’s Action Party (PAP) government’s reluctance to reveal several facts truthfully, is not because they’re afraid to let the public and world know we are not actually as strong as we tout the world to perceive.
This virus has not only exposed the greed and exploitation in our political system but is also tugging at our collective conscience on how we treat the foreign workers and homeless S’poreans alike as Nominated Member Parliament Walter Theseira puts it: “We are only as strong as our weakest link!”
The crisis management has also laid bare, the 4G PAP’s incompetency as mere followers of World Health Organisation (WHO) and US Communicable Diseases Centre, in the blind adherence to advisories.
We could have stemmed the present uncontrolled community transmissions, had we taken firm steps:
- to ban Chinese travellers earlier on 23 January and international ones from the time of DORSCON Orange,
- closed schools and workplaces as suggested by the Singapore Democratic Party,
- secured and distributed masks in January when news of this virus first broke
- and quarantined returning S’poreans and Permanent Residents at dedicated facilities instead of allowing those infected to spread it to their family members who are not subjected to Stay-at-Home Notices (SHN).
We are now paying the price of greed and elitism.
Management of community aid has been haphazard at worst and disorganised at best. Throwing good monies at the virus and businesses will not help and corporations which did not manage their financials prudently during “peacetime”, must not expect taxpayer bailouts and should be weeded out of our system.
Ultimately, we must remember that the plague is blind to status, power, race and religion and it takes a whole of community approach to battle it.
Truth be told, we have not matured as a nation since 1965 and are still in the sieged mentality of the turbulent 60s.
We have suspended Civics & Moral education in schools in favour of the Sciences and Mathematics, despised those who are not as well-off, hoard essentials at the expense of others in a crisis and suppressed activists who blow the whistle on questionable government practices and abuses of power.