by Augustine Low
Although Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has been saying that the People’s Action Party won a clear mandate for GE2020, it is clear that he has been stung and shaken at the loss of 10 seats to the Workers’ Party.
In calling the WP and opposition voters “free riders” in Parliament yesterday, PM Lee showed his true colours.
Not many of us are familiar with the term “free riders.” PM Lee mentioned that economists use it – in that context, free riders are people who benefit from something without expending effort or paying for it.
PM Lee was referring to those who voted for the opposition while wanting the benefit of having the PAP as the ruling party.
The WP’s Pritam Singh took exception to the labelling of opposition voters as “free riders,” saying: “I don’t think the residents in Aljunied, in Hougang for 30 years now, and even Sengkang, as a result of the last election, will appreciate being called free riders. They are not free riders.”
Are the 39% of Singaporeans who voted for the opposition free riders?
How does PM Lee know the motivations of people who voted for the opposition? He gave the example of one middle-aged female voter but one swallow does not make a summer.
Now that PM Lee has alerted us to the term “free riders,” we start to look around us and realise that there are indeed free riders in the flesh.
Free riders are politicians whose performance fall far short of sky high expectations and their astronomical salaries.
Free riders are politicians who enter Parliament by the backdoor, through the GRC system, hanging onto the coattails of Ministers.
Free riders are losing election candidates who get appointed as grassroots advisers, at the expense of winning candidates who have to conduct their meet-the-people sessions out in the open at HDB void decks.
Free riders are the sons and daughters of the famous and the powerful, who are granted an easy passage in life.
Free riders are new citizens who enjoy all the perks and privileges of natural-born citizens without the sacrifices, without having to go through National Service.
These are some examples of free riders in our midst – opposition voters do not belong to the same league.