Thursday, March 22, 2012

PAP Finally Comes to its Senses

After 15 years of madness, the PAP has finally come to its senses.

Ever since the 1997 National Day Rally speech when Goh Chok Tong announced the PAP shift in economic policy to open Singapore's doors to foreign talent, the PAP has gone on an ideological and public relations offensive to market and defend the foreign talent policy. At all levels, the policy was dogmatically defended - from the PAP parliamentary backbenchers, right up to the Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew himself.

The policy has literally wreaked havoc on this country.

Businesses have been made addicted to the narcotic of cheap labour at the expense of genuine innovation and productivity improvements. Wages for many have stagnated incomparison to the cost of living that has skyrocketed. Others have been displaced from their jobs and forced into unemployment, underemployment and gross underutilisation of their skills. Meanwhile, income inequality is the highest in the world, a precursor to serious social problems on the horizon.

Transportation, housing and healthcare infrastructure has been overloaded. Trains are breaking down ever so regularly, buses are excessively crowded and traffic jams are clogging up our roads. Housing prices have skyrocketed, forcing many youngsters to rack up excessive debt loads that will come at the expense of their retirement funds and leaving others without a home to settle down in. Hospitals are packed, with patients having to lie in their beds in walkways while waiting for a vacant room.

The Singaporean people, suffering the consequences of the PAP's misguided economic policy, finally decided that something had to change. For many Singaporeans, the problems were a wake-up call after years of political apathy and self-centered fear. Many who thought all would be just fine and dandy simply by depending on the PAP and its 'intellectual class', finally realised that there was something seriously wrong with the political system and the economic outcomes it produced for them. They went to the polls in 2011 and handed the PAP a big wake-up call.

Today, the Government officially u-turned from its long held ideology, Tharman announced what many have been longing to hear.
Skilled Singaporeans core to companies' competitive advantage: Tharman

12:06 PM Mar 21, 2012

SINGAPORE - Companies must actively look out for and groom local talents, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said yesterday night.

He said companies can build lasting competitive advantage, an advantage that rests on a skilled and experienced core of Singaporeans even as expertise and skills are brought in from abroad.

Therefore, companies must provide locals the necessary exposure, training and career development opportunities, so that every Singaporean can maximise his potential, he added.


Building an inclusive society is not just about government redistributing resources to help those in need, Mr Thaman added.

He said Singapore can only be an inclusive society if employers treat their workers with respect, help them develop themselves, and reward them fairly. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
Is this too little, too late?

Many of the problems created by the wrong policies aren't going to go away quickly. Singapore is going to have to go through a long period of economic restructuring before it returns to the right track. Trains are still breaking down and buses are still overcrowded, as they will be for years to come. Many businesses which are used to have depending on cheap labour are going to suffer, if not fail. Many unskilled Singaporeans are going to lose their jobs as the low value-added industries they work for pack up and relocate. Many of those who bought property in the last couple of years are going to be saddled with oversized mortgages that will take them the better part of their lives to repay. Not to mention the retirement bombshell when they realise they do not have enough money in their CPF accounts when they finally leave the workforce.

The pain will last for many years to come. But Singaporeans have reason to be optimistic if they throw off the shackles of selfishness, egotism and fear. If Singaporeans take their political destinies into their own hands, rather than abdicating it into the hands of a totalitarian few, then there is reason to believe that we can look forward to a better tomorrow.

For there is no other choice. Our very survival depends on it.


Amused said...

I suggest that you put a question mark at the end of your blog title "PAP Finally Comes to its Senses."

There are still many areas that are far behind First World standards. To name a few -

1. Minimum wage
2. Freedom of speech ("light touch" - three lawsuit threats in a week?)
3. Freedom of Information Act / Transparency
4. Accountability
5. Reform electoral system to be unbiased

You still have a long ways to go. At this rate of change, PAP will come to its senses when it is voted out of power.

Alan Wong said...

Singtel is reported to retrench 500 of it's staff. Just wonder whether they are going to retrench locals in favor of FT like so many Fillipinos it is current employing ?

Just wait and observe their customer service officers, time will tell whether they mean what they say.

Anonymous said...

I think it is too early to say this is a turning point/policy change. We should wait and see what they do next rather than hear what they are saying. At the present moment, this sounds like a hollow exhortation.

There is no political gain for PAP from taking a U-turn from this damaging near-sighted policy. The opposition parties are likely to benefit from this, change or no change.

Thinking selfishly, it may be less costly to PAP to change than to continue with the FT platform. And/or maybe this minister is feathering his own position. I hope they are thinking selfishly.


Plato Chong said...

We are still awaiting the emergence of a Gorbachov like figure in the ruling pary. Till then nothing much will change.

Anonymous said...

tharman's exhortation - believe it only when u see it actually happening. the change requires a huge turnaround in attitude - by the govt n the pple.

also, spore needs thousands of pple just in construction. look at all the bldg going on. there're rivers, highways, hdb flats, sports stadiums, hawker centres, educational institutions, hospitals etc etc. how to cut back on imported labour?

this is esp so since spore has depended in the past on construction to see it thru economic downturns, and there's one possibly hovering quietly in the background.

Anonymous said...

The turning point WILL come when the founding father leaves permanently. His son would be ousted or would willingly relinquish to a better person. The rest in the cabinet would try their best how to act coherently and collectively without jeopardizing the party on which their fates depends. believe it or not it would not be difficult to achieve this as the resources are still there. Humanity in governance should return. But the masses would not likely be satisfied until the necessary purges are carried out to exorcise the inhumanity that has been ingrained in the Singaporean society for so long. Among the first to go must be the propaganda press, followed by the politicized civil service and next the many govt related 'private' enterprises, the components of the SWF.

Gintai_昇泰 said...

Pls read this brilliant article to understand the deep shit we are facing now! Really langgar! Pundek! Pochi!

Anonymous said...

still early days for the PAP to come to its senses....

not until 60% singaporeans come to their senses first, using their votes in 2016 to make PAP become the minority in parliament....

patriot said...

They have built an expressway with no u-turn.

A new route is needed, but.......damn, who to

build it?


Anonymous said...

"If Singaporeans take their political destinies into their own hands, rather than abdicating it into the hands of a totalitarian few, then there is reason to believe that we can look forward to a better tomorrow."

WELL SAID. But Will Singaporeans wake up to this. Or have they to wait until the MAN goes to the happy hunting ground before all will change.
Even the "STAITS" TIMES.. will have to change and not just be the mouthpiece of the gahmen.
We live in hope.