Tomorrow is Cooling off day where voters will have the chance to think about how they would like to cast their vote. As we reflect collectively as a nation, let’s think about what the Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) has done post their 2015 landslide victory.
Before polling day in 2015, the PAP had promised to engage more and to do more for its citizens. Did they live up to their promises?
After the 2015 general election, we have had these various changes imposed on us.
1. 30% increment of water prices (2017)
Water is an essential commodity for our lives. No matter how poor you are, you will have no choice but to pay for it. Yet, it is this basic need that the PAP chosen to increase the prices of.
Increasing it is bad enough, but increasing it by 30% over two years is reprehensible. One does not need to be a mathematician to realise that a 30% increase is a huge increase.
It is important to note that it was the very same man designated as the potential next prime minister, Heng Swee Keat (who was the Minister for Finance at that time) who announced these changes.
2. Changing the rules of the Elected Presidency (2017)
Who could forget the controversy generated when Halimah Yacob ascended the presidency? I use the word ascended because she didn’t get elected. She was selected.
Who could forget the changes made to criteria to be president shortly before Halimah “won” in a walkover?
In short, the PAP amended the Constitution so as to change the criteria for the presidency but yet they cannot postpone a general election at a time of global pandemic because of the Constitution. Head scratch anyone?
As someone quipped, was Tan Cheng Blocked?
3. Increment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) (Confirmed in 2018)
In 2018, the PAP confirmed that the GST was set to increase from 7% to 9% some time between 2021 to 2025. Given official statements issued by the government before the General Elections of 2015, the PAP had appeared to have unequivocally denied the possibility of a GST increase. In public statements before the 2015 general elections, the PAP government had stressed that it planned ahead and that there was enough from income tax not to have to increase GST.
After the 2015 general election however, the government who had professed to plan ahead now wanted to increase the GST. So much for planning ahead!
Election tactic or lack of planning ahead? Neither is reassuring.
After the PAP wins in 2020, what other increments lurk?
4. The passing of the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation (POFMA) Bill in 2019
The POFMA is a highly controversial piece of legislation that was strongly criticised for being a potential tool to clamp down on critics. While the government’s official stance is that the POFMA is needed to ensure that fake news is not propagated, the definition of what constitutes a falsehood is so wide that it could potentially encompass anything. There is also the issue of who deems something as a falsehood.
The 2020 general election is the first election with POFMA in place. It is noteworthy that at least 30 (or perhaps more) POFMA directives have been issued to alternative news sites and opposition parties. None so far have been issued to the PAP.
What new forms of legislation can we look forward to after the PAP wins in 2020?
5. The COVID-19 rampage in the migrant worker dormitories
Well let’s not forget this ongoing issue as COVID-19 continues to be active among us. The PAP has chosen this time to still go ahead with the general election. Despite alternative politicians calling for the general election to be postponed, the PAP insisted and even had the temerity to turn around and label the alternative parties for talking like there was no COVID-19!
How about Josephine Teo refusing to apologise and having the cheek to still campaign in Jalan Besar GRC?
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
That, dear readers is the problem of not having any checks and balances in Parliament.
That, my friends are the pitfalls of a PAP super majority.
In the words of Jamus Lim, Workers’ Party candidate for Sengkang GRC – this election is not about denying the PAP its mandate, it is about denying the PAP a blank cheque.