Netizens challenged DPM Wong to grant alternative parties access to data to present a “serious alternative agenda”

Netizens challenged DPM Wong to grant alternative parties access to data to present a “serious alternative agenda”

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong called on alternative party MPs in Parliament to present a “serious alternative agenda” rather than opportunistic or populist ideas.

However, Singaporean netizens have challenged DPM Wong and the PAP government to allow alternative parties access to relevant data and statistics, believing that they can propose better solutions for the country.

During the parliamentary debate on Monday (17 Apr) over President Halimah Yacob’s address at the opening of the second session, DPM Wong expressed dissatisfaction with the Workers’ Party’s lack of support for the entire goods and services tax (GST) and the latest increase from 7% to 9%.

DPM Wong who is also Finance Minister defended the increase, citing a huge funding gap that none of the alternatives suggested by the WP could make up for.

“In this debate and over the course of the remaining term of Government, I look forward to hearing concrete alternatives from the opposition,” DPM Wong said, “not just opportunistic or populist ideas to chip away bit by bit at trust in government but a serious alternative agenda for an alternative government.”

“That’s how politics in a first world parliament should work. ”

DPM Wong said he did not assume that the PAP would win the next GE

He emphasized that he did not assume that the PAP would win the next general election or that he would inevitably become the prime minister.

“Every general election from now on will be about who forms the Government not just what percentage of the votes the PAP receives and how many seats the opposition wins.”

“As we develop into a mature democracy, we must have not just a serious government but also a serious opposition that thinks carefully about what it will do as Government, ” DPM Wong added.

“Whether opposition have good ideas or where they can make a contribution to the ideas for improving our country. We welcome them. ”

“But we ask that you be upfront about the realities and trade-offs we face as a nation and be honest about your plans policies and intentions,” DPM Wong claimed.

Will PAP government provide the data when requested by alternative party MPs?

Several netizens have commented on mainstream media channels, such as CNA and The Strait Times, urging the government to provide relevant data when requested by alternative party MPs during parliamentary sessions.

They believe that access to data and statistics would enable alternative parties to propose better solutions for the country.

One netizen pointed out that it was unfair to ask alternative parties to provide better alternatives without providing them with the necessary data.

A comment suggested that in order for proper alternatives to be proposed, alternative parties must first have access to the full and current data needed.

Without this, they can only rely on declassified data, which may not be current or relevant to the current situation.

Another netizen commented that MPs and especially PAP Ministers should answer questions directly and clearly, without engaging in political doublespeak or fudging data.

Netizens skeptical about the PAP’s willingness to consider concrete alternatives proposed by alternative parties

Some comments also expressed scepticism about the PAP’s willingness to consider concrete alternatives proposed by alternative parties’ MPs.

They argued that the PAP has a history of rejecting opposition proposals outright and only adopting them after making some tweaks and taking credit for the ideas.

A netizen wrote: “Whenever concrete alternatives are put forth by others besides PAP it will be downright rejected especially when such suggestions come from the Opposition Elected Parliamentarians”.

A comment highlights the predicament of alternative parties’ MPs, who are challenged by PAP to propose ideas but are not given access to full data.

“Come out with ideas, they tell you it’s raiding the reserves. Come out with budget-neutral ideas, tell you it’s not feasible.”

Netizens called out PAP for ‘plagiarising’ WP’s proposal

Some comments also remind other netizens that the PAP government has a track record of adopting alternative parties’ ideas, particularly those proposed by the WP.

For example, a netizen highlighted that when WP suggested a minimum wage scheme to support the lower-income group, PAP ministers rejected it as unfeasible.

“After some time, your ministry modified their proposal and came up with a progressive wage model and make every employers increase salary over a period to hit a minimum wage.”

When a comment argued that why can’t the opposition party work together with the existing government for the good of Singapore instead of being competitive, the netizen explained that there is no way for the opposition to be involved in the formulation of policies or government.

“The ruling party is not welcoming any of their suggestions or proposals let alone allowing them to work together. Our politics is still a very selfish n protective style,” the netizen opined.

A netizen proposed that instead, DPM Wong and the PAP government should present their proposals for alternative parties MPs to scrutinize:

Netizens called out PAP’s populist idea

A comment from a pro-PAP account suggested that many of the ideas proposed by WP may be considered populist and not sustainable in the long run, “It sounds good for the majority of Singaporeans but it is never sustainable and detrimental to Singapore’s progress and survival.”

The comment was countered by a netizen who questioned whether various vouchers from the PAP were not populist:

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