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Broken social contract between the PAP and PAP voters

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Broken social contract between the PAP and PAP voters

Post by Darkmen on Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:49 pm

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Not too long ago, before Lee Hsien Loong came to power, his father and his predecessor kept good an unspoken social contract with the people trading freedom for economic progress. Singaporeans in the past had it good, the low income earners can feed their family and the majority command an income with purchasing power enough for a house, a car and a family. Inflation were high then in the upheaval times of the wars, oil crisis and communist threats, but the government bank and CPF placed people’s savings above global conditions by offering interest rates at a premium. Elderly Singaporeans then managed to retire younger and enjoy their twilight years, while the young have ample opportunities to education and employment.

Those were the perks that came with a price – freedom. Free speech was oppressed. Media was controlled. Jailing people without trials were common. Every male serve 2.5 years of free labor in the name of National Service. Nothing is allowed until the PAP gave permission. Despite these oppression, Singaporeans then were “happily oppressed”. They voted the PAP in elections after elections.

Fast forward to today’s Singapore under Lee Hsien Loong. Singaporeans no longer enjoy the premium salary they command as the influx of foreigners spoiled the labor market. The Singapore Brand was lost as productivity and quality of services and products nose-dive with the use of cheap foreign labor. Employment benefits and opportunities are non-existent today. Our local NUS and NTU are flooded with foreign students sponsored with free scholarships. The quality of life is also compromised with the foreigner epidemic causing overcrowding and breakdowns in public infrastructures. Singaporeans are priced out of education, employment, housing, vehicle ownership and healthcare as rich foreigners pay more for similar services. Singapore was “incorporated” to be an unofficial business organization, with citizens and foreigners being economic digits and their income judged on their productivity growth and not whether if they could afford a dignified life. From power to public transport, many nationalized infrastructures were privatized, monopolized and listed on the stock exchange. Every cents paid for from the drop of water to the bus ticket goes into the corporates and then given out as dividends to investors both foreign and local. Likewise for the PAP, they virtually tax everyone with a 7% blanket consumption tax on all items – necessity or luxury. Only in Singapore, are the low income, retirees and unemployed taxed, which further weaken what little purchasing power they already have. The rich of course gets away not having to pay a single tax when they derive income from capital gains [Source], dividends [Source] and inheritance [Source]. Heck, GST is even exempted for Gold and Silver [Source]. It is no surprise Singapore is one of the most unequal societies in the world [Source].

Despite the degrading standard of living, the PAP expects Singaporeans to continue offer their freedom in the name of progress, stability and National Service. Naturally, some of these Singaporeans can see the bad deal and decided to remove their support for the PAP resulting in the slew of electoral losses. Today’s Opposition voters are mostly former PAP voters who crossed sides.

Unfortunately, a good 60% of them and a steady inflow of new citizens are still faithful to the broken contract. Among them, there are many Singaporeans who understand that some policies are outdated and increasingly irrelevant, and they are actively calling for amendments to be effected. Catering to this group, the PAP pretended to listen to them by holding massive public relations exercises called Our Singapore Conversations. But like the issue of car ownership, the PAP ultimately shot down every single idea and declare their system “fundamentally sound” [Source]. Same goes to the issue of population where the PAP denied every call to reduce the number of foreigners and eventually arrive that Singapore will need a 6.9 million population. These PAP voters themselves are ignored by the PAP in the name of GDP growth – never mind the social costs, the inequality, the injustice and unfairness. Never mind that the GDP growth was exclusive only for the PAP members and the rich people – both foreign and local – in Singapore, the PAP could afford losing these votes.

As such, it is these reasonable PAP voters in 2011 that Singaporeans who want a better Singapore have to convince and appeal to. They are the swing voters in the PAP camp looking out for an alternative – obviously none other than the Workers’ Party. A regime change in 2016 is statistically unlikely, but we know it is only a matter of time. 10 years, 15 years perhaps. And hopefully, with the end of PAP dominance then, no more social contract would be written. Freedom, meritocracy and equality shall no longer be traded for GDP, and no Singaporean shall compromise their values for economic growth. We may then truly attain the first world status our forefathers had aspired this place to be.

The process is arduous but the direction must be right. If we do not want to see a Singapore with no Singaporeans yet full of Filipinos and other non-NS serving foreigners, we have better start working immediately. It is time we get our message out louder, and of course only through the online media where there is true free speech and independent reporting unlike the SPH gang. Contest every debate and flood every online post to reflect the true popularity of the PAP. They may hire online commentators, but if they ever harass you, go anonymous. These little battles must be won for the war to stand a chance. Pepper what creative sarcasm you have and most importantly: stay reasonable. The only reason why PAP is failing is because of its absurdity.

We have seen the GRC system, the increasing electoral deposits, the Cooling Off Day and the New Media Regulation. GE2016 is near, do something before the PAP enact more laws to make it impossible for them to be voted out.

Majulah Singapura,

Alex Tan

* This article first appeared on [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Darkmen
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