I have only just found the time to peruse the SDP's healthcare plan and while I do not necessarily agree with everything the SDP has to say, I must commend the SDP for gathering a team of experienced healthcare professionals, policy academics and other concerned Singaporeans to put together a credible proposal for the future of healthcare in Singapore.
It is indeed heartening to know that there are capable, qualified and experienced Singaporeans who are genuinely concerned about the future of this country and the direction in which it is headed. I am sure that in order to put together the proposal many hours of time and effort on the part of each of the SDP's healthcare panelists was required to put together this groundbreaking project.
As the SDP have noted themselves, this is the first time an opposition party has put together a serious alternative proposal for an important pillar of Singaporean public policy. This is in stark comparison to the Workers' Party and other opposition parties, which seem content to tinker and tailor the PAP's ideological framework rather than to contemplate substantive structural changes to Singapore's public policy. For too long, the opposition have been happy to position themselves as critics of the ruling party rather than credible alternatives with a constructive, alternative roadmap for the direction of this country.
There is no doubt that the SDP's plan will be heavily scrutinised and attacked from many quarters of Singaporean society, from the highest echelons of the PAP to conservative right-wing ideological hacks. But the attention being paid to the SDP's plan will only serve as a compliment to their efforts and a demonstration that the initiative in the discourse has shifted out of the hands of the PAP. In a debate, it is always wise to be the proposition because then it gives you the ability to set the agenda and the pace of the discussion, rather than responding reactively to the ideas of another party.
Another very important point of note is the composition of the team comprising the SDP advisory panel. These guys aren't a bunch of unemployed social misfits with too much time on their hands. Instead, they are very qualified, experienced and respected healthcare professionals who are well plugged into the workings of the Singaporean healthcare system and who understand the intricate details of how the system works. These guys have recognised that there are serious problems in the way that things work in Singapore and have made the sacrifice of their time and effort to help chart a betetr, alternative direction.
Clearly, the composition of the healthcare panel demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is indeed a substantial pool of Singaporean talent to form more than just one team to lead Singapore, unlike the myth that the PAP likes to perpetuate about how a two-party or multi-party system is unsustainable in this country. The PAP can no longer claim that Singapore does not have enough local talent, nor can it claim to have a monopoly over the best and brightest minds in Singapore.
My hope for Singapore is that more talented, capable and credible people will step forth to share their ideas and to engage in the policy discourse in this country to help formulate a better, stronger path for our society. For too long, the PAP's strong-arm authoritarian tactics have scared our would-be public intellectuals into the shadows of society and out of the realm of mainstream political discourse. Our country has suffered tremendously from the monopoly held by the PAP over the debate of public policy, and many people are suffering unnecessarily because of this.
If more individuals can find the courage to step forth out of the shadows to contribute their little bit to society, no matter how small, then Singaporeans can slowly wrest the reigns of their destiny into their own hands - rather than abdicating it to an elitist group of technocrats and bureaucrats who more often than not, put their personal interests above that of the common good. This is the best, if only, way that we can give ourselves a serious chance to undo the damage of past misguided policies, and ensure the survival and prosperity of our nation.