by Augustine Low
For General Election 2020, the People’s Action Party (PAP) resoundingly outspent the opposition, splashing out almost $7 million while opposition candidates spent close to $2.2 million in total.
That in a nutshell is the formula of the PAP – go on a spending spree to try and buy success.
In Aljunied GRC, the PAP spent $401,178 while the Workers’ Party doled out $200,940. In Sengkang GRC, the PAP spent $364,371 as opposed to the WP’s $132,406. The PAP also hugely outspent the WP in Hougang – $60,002 to $32,154.
If money buys success, the PAP would not have lost all those contests.
The obsession with foreign talents has to do with the same thing: splash out the cash in the hope of buying success and boosting the economy.
Fending off criticism on its huge pool of foreigners, sovereign wealth fund Temasek went on the offensive, saying it “will be foolish of us not to tap on the global pool of talent.” Perhaps the ones being made fools of are Singaporeans because taxpayers’ money is involved here.
The loving embrace of foreigners goes back to 1998, when Goh Chok Tong declared: “Maybe if we change our immigration criteria to bring in top football talent and make them citizens, then we too can get into the (World Cup) finals. In fact, we intend to do just this, to bring in sports talent.”
And so Goal 2010 was born that year – the Goh Chok Tong cum Mah Bow Tan grand vision of Singapore qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Mah called it “the first step in a journey of a thousand miles towards Goal 2010.”
Goal 2010 vanished without a trace. Today, Singapore is an embarrassing #157 on the global football rankings.
And what happened to all those foreign sports talents who were fast tracked to citizenship? Once their professional careers were over, especially the football and table tennis players, almost all them counted their cash, packed their bags, renounced their citizenship and returned to their countries of birth.
The grandest vision of all was paying our ministers the highest salaries in the world so that the very best, the cream of the crop, could be lured to serve and lead the country.
Does world’s highest paid equal unrivalled world-class performance?
That vision has turned out to be a dud and a fallacy. Sadly, the ones paying the price for it are the people of Singapore.