Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A Deadly Serious Election: Social Media

Partying into the next GE

So the People’s Action Party has started the election ball rolling. It’s framed the terms of the contest: First World Government, not First World Parliament. I wish though the MSM would make it clear that this is not the Prime Minister addressing the nation. Mr Lee Hsien Loong was speaking as the PAP secretary-general and he was speaking to the party faithful. A quibble you say? It isn’t. Because that is the line that MSM must maintain between the G and the party. Plus, it’s the truth.

I was a little flummoxed at how what he told party activists was suddenly elevated into a national issue. Perhaps it is, or even should be. But that’s the interpretation or analysis of the facts. And putting cart before horse. So what did the party chief say? Every media angled on how he said the GE would be a “deadly serious’’ fight. Deadly serious for who? Given that he was speaking to party activists, it would be deadly serious for them especially if the PAP loses. Extrapolate further, and you could say his message could also be directed to the population at large.

If the media treated it as a party message, then it could be interpreted thus: Wake up your ideas! You think we are going to sail through the next GE like we did the past? Better buck up and don’t get complacent or you may find that we’re not just out of some wards, but out of government!

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A DEADLY SERIOUS GE

Some has taken PM Lee's comments as yet another "wolf is coming", or "Fear Factor". Indeed the PAP has in recent modern times issued many warnings, but each time the real and painful sufferings did not cause too much discomfort to Singaporeans. Could this be the answer behind the "Fear Factor" notion that Singaporeans had quite got used to? Then this must be a damn big mistake for both PAP and Singaporeans at the same time.

The PAP had it in their culture that it is their duty to warn of any calamities, work the solutions, talk about it for a while and file closed. Many a times these fore-warnings that did invite some resentments among Singaporeans were dismissed as distractions and the work to avoid calamities continues.  Recent property price rise, unbridled car ownership supported by insensible loan availability, swelling debts even amidst the possibility of a return of higher interest in borrowing were all dutifully addressed and guided towards soft landing.  But Singaporeans are viewing measure to curb property prices, control loan quantum as obstructions created to better their lives.  They cannot upgrade to a better house now, nor buy a better car for the family.  Even the industry is accusing the PAP of stifling their business and causing them loses.

The PAP has always took it upon themselves to solve problems ahead and Singaporeans have little or no part in the problem solving equation.  What happens next is...Got problem? Ask government to solve.  Not happy, blame government.  Don't this sounds familiar?

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A Deadly Serious Election

PM Lee has said that the next General Election will be 'deadly serious' as each constituency would be fought on national issues, not local issues. Each constituency will fight a National Election and not a By-Election.


In my humble opinion, PM Lee is by and large correct. Singapore is so uniformly run that we cannot say that the residents of East Coast GRC have overwhelmingly distinct and different issues from the residents of West Coast GRC. Local issues will not win and lose elections in PAP wards - as Aljunied GRC found to their dismay in 2011. They fought a local election (laying down municipal plans for residents) whilst the WP fought on a national slogan ("First World Parliament").


The WP will do the same again in 2011 - telling residents of Aljunied GRC that if they lose, the PAP will again be in control of all GRCs and the historic gains of 2011 will be lost. They will emotionally appeal to the residents of Aljunied to keep the fires of democracy burning. They will repeat the same in other constituencies, again telling voters that they are not ready to be an alternative Government, but please give them another GRC so they have a stronger mandate to 'check' the PAP in Parliament.


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PAP pleads for blank cheque

In a time where trust in his party is on the wane, with distrust among Singaporeans perhaps at an all time high, the secretary general of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has called on Singaporeans to, effectively, give it a blank cheque, as far as political competition is concerned.

Speaking at his party’s 60th anniversary celebrations, Lee Hsien Loong derided the opposition, particularly the Workers’ Party (WP), which is seen as the leading political opposition party in Singapore.

Mr Lee, who has been the prime minister of Singapore since 2004, slammed the opposition for not having any visions for the country (which is not exactly true), and that its role as a checks and balances will lead Singapore down the rocky road.

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Will this be PM Lee's swan-song?

There seemed to be plenty of fight in PM Lee Hsien Loong's performance at the PAP 60th anniversary rally on 7 December. Now genuine pundits cannot help feeling that all his vociferous utterances of fictional inspiration to his followers could be a fig-leaf to hide his fear of a backlash to his party's chances at the next election before 2017. He could not be so myopic as not to be able or not wanting to see the winds of change that had swept the Congress Party in India from power and more recently the KMT from the mayoral and local elections in Taiwan. That the PAP will be the next target is not something that is so intangible. PM Lee can ignore the lessons of the PAP debacle in Aljunied GRC and Punggol East SMC at his peril.

Quite understandably there is now a feeling of euphoria among dreamy PAP leaders and their equally dreamy adherents which has unwittingly lulled them into a false sense of security. They think that now they have the electorate eating out of their hands with their ostensibly humanitarian handouts like the Pioneer Generation Package and the Medishield Life assistance.

The irony is that many, especially those of the lower rank of society, are still wondering what the schemes are about and how they could benefit them.The fact is that the rot of discontent has gone too deep, especially among the poor, for any pathetic half-hearted effort to remedy the situation. They dream that the ground is idyllic in their favour and that recapturing Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East is a foregone conclusion. But they will be in for a rude awakening.

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Next GE a deadly serious fight for S’pore’s future: PM
The Republic’s future and society are at stake in the next General Election (GE) because it will be about who forms the Government and not merely how many seats the Opposition captures, said People’s Action Party (PAP) chief Lee Hsien Loong to 6,000 party activists yesterday, as he characterised the coming contest as a “deadly serious fight” that his party must win convincingly

Speaking at the PAP60 Rally at Singapore Expo, Mr Lee hinted at the prospects of a freak result, saying the 12th GE of independent Singapore, which must be held by January 2017, “will be about whether we continue to have a First World Government”. It will not be about a “so-called First World Parliament”, he said, taking a dig at the opposition Workers’ Party’s (WP) campaign slogan of working towards a First World Parliament in the 2011 GE.

“The next GE is critical for Singapore and for us. It is not just about expressing approval or disapproval. It is not just about winning a seat in Parliament. It is not a by-election,” he said, adding that every seat will be a national contest. “The next GE is about choosing a clear vision for Singapore, choosing a capable leadership for Singapore, choosing a brighter future for Singapore.”

Mr Lee added: “A great deal is at stake, comrades. Our future is at stake because if we do not remain a nation of opportunity, our children will have no future. Our society is at stake because if we do not uphold a fair and just society, our society will be pulled apart. Our country is at stake. If the PAP fails, Singapore is in deep trouble. We shall not fail.”

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If PAP loses, Singapore will be in deep trouble?

This is what Hsien Loong said. If PAP loses in the next GE, Singapore will be in deep trouble. How could that be? Is Singapore a fragile 3rd world country run by tin pot dictator that once the dictator loses power the country would turn into a state of anarchy, everything collapses? What would happen to our top class civil service? What would happen to our armed forces? What would happen to our men in blue? All run away or all fighting to be the next dictator?

Come of it. We are 1st world remember? We are a rule by law country, with good systems and good civil servants and professional uniformed services to provide the continuity when a political party loses its power and a new party takes over. We are a 1st world democracy right? Or we are a fake democracy, a 3rd world country pretending to be 1st world and everything depending on a 3rd world dictator? Cannot be right?

The Philippines and Indonesia were less developed than us. What happened when Marcos fled? What happened when Suharto fell from power? Did both countries, still developing in status, fell into pieces, the end? No right? The countries continued as if nothing had happened. You mean Singapore is so fragile than the Philippines and Indonesia of yesteryears?

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Why PM Lee is worried about coming GE

PM is very worried about the coming GE. Why ? His new PAP team did not deliver as expected unlike the old PAP Guard. He mentioned that PAP is a First World Government and deliver results. Not true. The new team of PAP leaders failed miserably in their jobs. Here why ?
  • Cannot even manage the budget of the YOG.
  • Promise efficient transports system. Failed repeatedly and is still failing now.
  • Military Paper Generals do not know how to protect installation (Bishan Depot). Repeatedly attacked by graffiti artists. Terrorist how?
  • Promise affordable Housing. Salary now double that of 1980, but HDB prices more than twelve time that of 1980. Affordable ? (Ed: According to latest BTO launches in non-mature estates, only the prices of 3-room flats and below able to meet Khaw’s target of 4 times of median annual income of applicants)
  • Education. Use taxpayer monies to fund foreign children at our universities. How about local students. Unable to even enter local universities.
  • Unable to properly forecast number of patients. Have to build tents and put beds at corridor of hospitals.
  • Globalization put locals at disadvantage. Locals lose jobs to cheaper foreigners with no CPF and NS obligation. (Ed: Actually, it’s more to do with the govt’s liberal FT policy. Recently MOM’s data showed that tightening of FT influx in last couple of years has enabled salaries of lower income group to increase)
  • Increase their own salaries to millions to take care of inflation for themselves, How about the common people ? You die your business ?
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Amendment to Article II of the PAP Constitution; what does it mean?

Some have criticised the PAP for being a party living in the shadow of its past, and may even be out of touch with the ground.

Cadre members of the PAP had taken a vote last Sunday to an amendment to Article II of the PAP Constitution. Perhaps to most lay people it is a minor thing, but to a political party, the changing of a constitution is not trivial.

In contrast, the Worker’s Party Constitution is still unchanged about “merdeka” (in Article 2 of their Constitution) ever since the tumultuous days of Singapore. Their Article 4(2) remains unchanged about “To seek the elimination of colonial exploitation of Singapore and its people.” It is high time that the Worker’s Party refresh their Constitution to remind voters what they are voting for, given the strength of their support.

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THE OATH OF OFFICE (NEXT GE AND BEYOND)

Amongst other (shrewd) observations, former ISD director Yoong Siew Wahwrites that “GE 2016 is very much an epoch-making election to watch.”

So far I have read some very interesting blog posts and/or status updates on the matter, as curated by The Singapore Daily and whatever I happen to see on online media.

It led me to think about certain things on a basic, fundamental level, with regard to how actions speak louder than words.

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PM LEE 8 YRS AGO: PAP MAKES LIFE BETTER FOR ALL SINGAPOREANS

At the PAP rally on 8 Dec last Sunday, LHL was in a desperate and panicky state. He talks about the opposition “checking” on them. He mentioned the word ‘checkmate’, clearly indicating that he is clueless about the notion of modern democracy. So, how is he going to appease the citizens?

Well, if you read his speech carefully, you could really feel the desperation. Phrases like ‘If the PAP fails, Singapore is in deep trouble. We shall not fail’, ‘We don’t make empty promises’ and so on, certainly reflect his desperation.

Worse, for the first time, the PAP openly mentions about the possibility that it may not be able to form the govt (see TRE article – ‘First time PAP admits may not be able to form govt‘). Why? just to scare us to continue to vote for him and his party?

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VOTERS SHOULD BE THE JUDGE, NOT THE PAP

Do you agree that the PAP should set the standard and the opposition held accountable to it. Why should PAP be the player, the organizer who set the rules and standards as well as the referee or judge at the same time? Let the Voters be the judge and I believe they have their own standards set out for opposition parties as well as PAP. As the ruling party, whether it likes it or not, voters' expectation and standards will be set at very much higher level. Rightfully so because PAP has the power and resources to do what it is supposed to do as a ruling party.

Has the role of the opposition evolved post-2011? Is it perhaps too old to use the "check and balance" function as a platform to run a campaign on?

Whether the role of opposition has evolved in post-2011 depends very much on voters' expectation. But one interesting sign I have observed is the rising of civil activism which is non-partisan in nature. The non-partisan social-political activists have been leading the charge on social-political issues like the 6.9m Population White Paper issue as well the Return-Our-CPF protests. These activism may have unintentionally put pressure on political parties to step up to reclaim their rightful role as political opinion leader in articulating more coherent policy views rather than sitting on the sideline as passive political free-riders. If they fail to do so, they would be seen as ineffective even as an agent for effecting the "check and balance" function and it will be very unconvincing for them to sell this idea of "check and balance" function as their front running campaigning theme.

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Party News!

In the Workers’ Party - 
So no one wants the job of managing agent. The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East town council put out a tender and there are no takers. Actually, it’s no surprise. Brave is the firm which takes on a job that will be scrutinised left and right by nosey parkers and politicians. I wonder which firms now run the People’s Action Party town councils – only Bishan-Toa Payoh is self-run. Why won’t anyone do the job? Well, if everything in the town council’s finances have yet to be cleared up, you’d be wary of bidding for the contract too. (Again, what’s taking the Auditor-General so long?!)

In the People’s Action Party - There’s a lot of fuss in the ST about the election of its Central Executive Committee tomorrow although I am not sure why. A short list is put up and there will be a vote for 12 members, after which the rest or most of them will be co-opted. Political observers will be reading closely to see who got elected and who got co-opted, as an indication of the person’s standing in the party ranks. But beyond that, what else? There’s no way the PAP will say who got the most votes or the least. As for who becomes office-bearers, that’s all done within the CEC itself. All very hush-hush but then again, people will see who got what post 

In the Singapore Democratic Party - On Jan 10, the SDP will unveil its vision and direction for Singapore, its strategy and campaign activities. It’s starting early because it thinks the polls will be held by the end of next year or early 2016. Now…this is interesting! I’d love to see what it has to offer. Will it be a PAP-lite? Nah, that sounds like the WP. Will it want to overthrow the G or would it be happy to be a check and balance in Parliament? Is it think of forging an alliance with Singapore First party which is helmed by an ex-SDP member and erstwhile Presidential candidate? It has worked on several papers, on healthcare ecetera. I would love to see what it says about the coming changes to the CPF and Medishield Life as party of its strategy or vision 

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PAP losing power should not be the concern
In the past week, much has been discussed about how the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) could lose power

Ho Kwon Ping, former detainee and current chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings, laid out various scenarios at a public forum last week of how this could happen.


On Sunday, Straits Times opinion editor, Chua Mui Hoong, picked it up and went one step further – she said that the gap between the ruling elite and the masses “is [the] biggest political risk for the PAP.”

“I think the biggest and most dangerous political divide in Singapore that can arise is that between the political and socioeconomic elite, and the hoi polloi,” Ms Chua wrote.

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PM Lee’s speech a sign of desperation, tide has turned against PAP

On Sunday, PM Lee spoke at the PAP60 Rally and told 6,000 party cadres that “if PAP fails, Singapore is in deep trouble” plus lots of half truths.

PM Lee seems to be living during his daddy’s era, full of self praise, delusional and continues to assume citizens are daft.

Just before the 2011 election, Goh Chok Tong, ex PM, had said: “If….I’m out, I think Singapore will be in deep trouble, as simple as that.” But Singapore was already in deep trouble during Goh’s premiership. Goh laid out the red carpet for all sorts of foreign trash (a minority are talented) he termed as ‘talents’ and created a housing bubble shortly after he became PM in 1990.

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Ten tactics PAP may use to stay in power

Threats - as usual the ruling party will use a series of threats to coax the population into voting for them and forsake the opposition party. As Singaporeans are quite fearful people, threats do work in a certain way for a segment of the population unless the alternative provides a better option which allows them to overcome their fear.

Carrots - PAP will use alot of carrots to soften the ground before the call for general election especially with the 50th-year anniversary gala celebration next year. It may target the carrots on the middle ground which is suffering the brunt of rising cost of living and stagnanted wages. A minimum wage of some sort may even be introduced for the low-waged workers similar to those for cleaners working in the PAP town councils. As many as 200,000 low-waged Singaporean workers earn $1500 and below. Property taxes may be reduced and the current GST levy maintain to spread the goodwill around.

Character asassination - candidates standing for election may have their character assassinated especially if they have a case against them. Opposition parties need to vet their candidates carefully to prevent the ruling party from gaining the upper hand.

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PM LEE SAYS "WE DON'T MAKE EMPTY PROMISES" AMIDST STRING OF BROKEN PROMISES

On the first change of ensuring that Singapore becomes a nation of opportunity, Mr Lee said, “It means an open and compassionate meritocracy. Success, rewards will depend on ability and contributions, but everyone must have a chance to prove themselves.”

“This is a place where our children can dream big, achieve their aspirations and live well in Singapore,"
On the second point that the PAP would uphold a fair and just society, Mr Lee also said the PAP has been helping the low-income and improving healthcare by introducing the Pioneer Generation Package and revising the Medishield Life.

On the third point of nurturing a democracy of deeds, he said, "A democracy of deeds means you must act, you cannot just talk. We've got to come together, participate in community life together, solve problems together. So it means engagement is not NATO - no action, talk only.


related:

PM LEE – NEXT GE A DEADLY SERIOUS FIGHT FOR SINGAPORE’S FUTURE
PM LEE: THERE WILL BE NO MORE PAP TO CHECK IF THE PAP LOSES
PM LEE: ONLY THE PAP IS SOLVING PROBLEMS IN SINGAPORE
PAP HAS FAILED ITS PROMISE TO INCREASE THE WAGES OF SPOREANS
PAP HAS BROKEN PROMISE TO BUILD MORE CHEAPER FLATS FOR SPOREANS

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First World Government vs First World Parliament


Mr. Victor Lye, PAP member who is slated to contest in the next GE at Aljunied constituency takes a dig at Workers’ Party in his Facebook post.


“The PAP is not perfect, but it is the only party that keeps thinking of how to do better for Singaporeans. And it is the only party that does it. The next GE is about a First World Government, a First World Nation.


The First World Parliament had turned out to be what it was meant to be – to seduce Singaporeans with a political slogan. We are working hard. And we want to win the support of Aljunied residents, as all across Singapore. And we will. To build a better Singapore for the future.”


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PAP falls, would Singapore be in deep trouble?

I have been pondering over this statement for several days and trying to make a balance approach to this piece of rhetoric. Would Singapore be in deep trouble when PAP falls and the opposition parties take over as the new govt? A good way to look at this comment is the recent installation of Jokowi as the new President of Indonesia. Jokowi is in many senses like the opposition parties in Singapore. A man with no scintillating strings of As and MBAs. He rose from the ranks, made his fortune and became the governor of Jakarta.

Not the kind of experience at national level, but more relevant experience than our boys and girls who became ministers, and definitely more experienced than our opposition party leaders running their constituencies and town council.

And the best part, the out going President did all he could to ensure that the new President took power in an orderly manner, and no one, no rogue generals would be there to make things difficult, no rogue politicians would be allowed to disrupt the ceremony. Yudhoyono has proven to be a great president, a valiant and honourable gentlemen, and truly deserved to be the Asian of the Year instead of the 6 month old Modi who has done nothing except meeting foreign leaders and rhetoric of great power. The danger of Jokowi being deprived of his presidency and turning Indonesia into turmoil were extremely grave. 

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THE OPPOSITION HAS A 50% CHANCE OF FORMING GOVERNMENT AT THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION
The opposition has a 50-50 chance of forming government at the next general election. This also means that the PAP has a 50 percent chance of falling out of favour with Singaporeans

Prime minister Lee Hsien Loong is right when he said on Sunday that the next general election is a "deadly serious" fight and that it is about who forms government.


The three general elections since 2001 give Singaporeans a guide as to how the results at the next general election might be shaped.


From the 2001 to 2006 general election, the PAP saw its vote share dropped from 75.3 percent to 66.6 percent.


related:
LEE HSIEN LOONG: PAP MUST SET THE STANDARD!
BEWARE PAP’S OLD TRICKS TO CON MIDDLE-GROUND VOTERS
OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG

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IS THE GRC SYSTEM FAIR IN SINGAPORE?


As has been common in the last few general elections, the opposition is once again clamouring about how the Group Representation Constituencies (GRC) system of Singapore is flawed. GRC system is a unique system present in Singapore and has no direct counterpart in other Westminster style democracies like United Kingdom and India.


Some Background Information - GRCs were first introduced in 1988 Singapore in elections. GRCs are super constituencies which are larger than Single Member Constituencies and send 3 or more representatives to the Singapore parliament. In a GRC, political parties must field a team of candidates and the voters only have a choice of choosing the party slate that they prefer and cannot vote for the individual(s) like in a normal constituency. At least one member of each team contesting a GRC must be from a minority community.


Are special provisions for minorities necessary? - GRCs were first introduced as 3 member constituencies to ensure minority representation in the Singapore Parliament. However, I am sceptical about the fundamental assumption that minorities need special provisions for representation. If one takes a good look at the electoral history of Singapore, it is evident that many politicians from the minority communities were elected to political office even in the pre-GRC days. Some prominent examples would be S. Rajaratnam of the People's Action Party (PAP) who was Singapore's first foreign minister and the then Workers' Party candidate Joshua Benjamin Jeyaratnam who won a by-election in 1988 in the chinese majority Anson constituency. If these politicians from the Indian community and Singapore's first Chief Minister David Marshall (who was Jewish) could get elected on their own merit without any special provisions, why are special provisions required now when infact there now exists better racial harmony today. After further amendments to the rules, GRCs can now be either 3, 4, 5 or 6 member constituencies but all require only one minority candidate. Hence, it can be said that the minority community members' representation has now been diluted due to increase in GRC sizes.


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Beware PAP’s old tricks to con middle-ground voters

Threat / Framing the mind

During the PAP’s 60th anniversary rally held yesterday, PM Lee Hsien Loong said that the next general election would be “a deadly serious fight” as it would be about who formed the government, and not how many parliamentary seats the opposition would win.


While it might sound like the PM’s speech was meant to encourage his party members to work harder for the coming general election, seasoned politicians should have no problem identifying the PM was delivering a political message or threat to the middle-ground voters.


Some strategists called it “framing the mind”, i.e. before your audience have a chance to start thinking about an issue, you fix a border in their minds and lead them to think along your way, so that they will arrive at the conclusion which you want them to hold.


related:

First time PAP admits may not be able to form govt
PM: Opposition doesn’t articulate a vision for SG
PAP, do not be ungrateful
Ng Eng Hen voted out from 12-member PAP CEC

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New Vision, Same Bull


We should thank Lee Hsien Loong for succinctly summarising all that is wrong with the current regime:
"When we face problems, we acknowledge them publicly, and deal with them. We don't pretend there's no problem, no comments, studying the matter, thinking about it, will clarify one day. We settle now! You lie low hoping the public will forget the issue, and the issue will go away, the public will forget you, and might as well go away."
Lee, who is also the Secretary General of the People's Action Party, was addressing about 2,000 cadres at the party's 60th anniversary rally held at the Singapore Expo on Sunday, 7 December 2014.

Taking potshots at that paragraph alone is like the dilemma of a mosquito at a nudist beach - you just don't know where to start.

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PM takes up the gauntlet

Going on the offensive against opposition parties, Lee accused them of offering no vision for Singapore, even as he outlined the PAP’s updated objectives for an inclusive and fair nation with citizens who are hard-working and actively engaged.

These goals, adopted as a resolution during the party’s convention last year, were crystallised in the party’s Constitution. It was the first amendment to the Constitution in 32 years. The change cements the PAP’s shift in governance over the past decade towards more communication with the public and stronger social support, said Lee, the party’s secretary-general.

Noting that the PAP is the only party offering a national vision, he said: “Only the PAP is solving problems, planning for the future. Only the PAP is putting forth a vision, a road map for Singapore.”

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Opposition parties claim to have viable alternative policies for Singapore
They were reacting to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's speech on Sunday (Dec 7), at the People's Action Party Conference, where Mr Lee said "the Opposition does not see any duty to bring people together, solve problems and plan for the future"

Responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia, Singapore Democratic Party Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan said that the SDP has in fact laid out alternative policies in areas such as housing, health care, population, education and ministerial salaries. It will soon launch its economic strategy.

Secretary-General of Singaporeans First (SingFirst) Tan Jee Say said his party has stated its vision on its website. He said: "SingFirst sees the next GE as a last chance for Singaporeans to assert ourselves, our interests and well being in the face of PAP's relentless attempt to dilute the core of native Singaporeans by converting huge numbers of foreigners to citizenship. Yes the next GE is deadly serious for true blue Singaporeans." Mr Tan added: "SingFirst is gearing up to contest as many constituencies as we can to provide an alternative to the PAP in cooperation with other opposition parties."

Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam, who is also Chairman of the Singapore People's Party said she hopes Mr Lee's speech, in which he characterised the next GE as a 'deadly serious fight', is "also a serious wake up call for its own government, to fix its many wrong policies right, for affected Singaporeans".

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A New Vision for Singapore
Economic growth is not the only measure of a successful society. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Singapore has made great economic strides over the 50 years since independence. With a GDP per capita of $55,000, the island state is, by this measure at least, the most prosperous country in the world. Yet rather than being proud of their country’s achievement, measures of social harmony and happiness indicate that Singaporeans are far from pleased with the status quo.

Looking behind the numbers, it seems that Singapore’s economic success has wrought havoc on less measurable, but no less important, aspects of life: Freedom, compassion and equality. It is the degradation of these values that has contributed significantly to Singaporeans’ disenchantment with the current system.

Even before the Reagan-Thatcher era of neoliberal economics, Singapore adopted a market-driven approach in which even value systems and social life were commodified. When the government wanted fewer births in the 1970s, it paid women to undergo tubal ligation. When it changed its mind and wanted more births, it gave tax incentives to couples to have more babies. When it wanted the children to demonstrate strong character, it rewarded their desirable traits with cash.

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CSJ responds to PM Lee

PM Lee Hsien Loong said in his speech that the opposition have not articulated a vision for Singapore. This is untrue. The SDP published Dare To Change: An Alternative Vision for Singapore in 1994.

Dr Chee had also recently described a new vision for Singapore in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal. Mr Lee ignores these and claims that the opposition has not articulated one.

But more than just a vision, the SDP has laid out concrete and comprehensive alternative policies in key areas such as housing, healthcare, population, the Malay community, education, Ministerial salaries, and (soon-to-be launched) the economy. The SDP’s campaign for the next GE will focus on these alternative policies.

As announced we will be holding our GE2015 Campaign Kick-Off on 10 Jan and stepping up our effort in preparation for the elections which many expect will be held next year.

related:
A new vision for Singapore
GE2015 Campaign Kick-Off

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SDP tweets in response to PM Lee’s speech in PAP60


Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)’s Secretary General, Dr Chee Soon Juan sent a tweet directly to Secretary General of People’s Action Party (PAP) and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on twitter in response to his speech for the PAP60 rally

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SDP: WE NEED YOU TO BUILD THIS VISION WITH US

This is the vision that the SDP has been working towards. We have a chance to achieve it at the next elections

We want to build a thinking nation, one that shows compassion, one where the government listens to us, and where, even though things are not easy, we never give up trying to progress as a people.

We want to unfetter the minds of our fellow citizens, maximise opportunity for our younger people, and empower the poor among us.

We want to reclaim for our people the ability to question authority and to build a capacity for collective reasoning and debate.

related:
A MIDDLE WAY FOR SINGAPORE’S ECONOMY
PM LEE: ONLY IN PAP'S SPORE CAN PEOPLE RETIRE ON THEIR HDB FLAT

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Vote for a real government, not CEOs of Singapore Inc

It’s about time Singaporeans take control of our collective destiny and not be fearful, greedy or apathetic come GE 2016.

The majority have been voting blindly for politicians who act as though they are CEOs of Singapore Inc and screwing up for years! In the real corporate world, epic screw ups are unforgivable unlike Singapore Inc where citizens are required to provide feedback, politely pointing out our CEOs’ mistakes.

Singapore Inc’s directors have attempted to give a semblance of accountability when in reality, none exists. Any independent party to check on Singapore Inc? Right and left all own people right?

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Want to win big PM? Juz do the right things


Ah yah, why PM like to talk big and cock? Juz do the right, fair things by S’poreans and trust S’poreans to be fair-minded. After all, daddy, for all his bullying and intellectual thuggery, made sure public housing was really, really affordable. and the heartlanders willingly gave the PAP their votes.


Earlier, he made sure that the streets were kept clean, portholes mended, and clean water, electricity and sanitation provided at affordable prices.provided. And the votes followed. (and taz why I don’t begrudge him the office that many say he has in the Istana.)


An example comes to mind where PM can ensure that his administration does what’s fair and reasonable and that will benefit most S’poreans.


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PRO-PAP SITE MOTHERSHIP.SG THINKS SINGAPOREANS ARE STUPID


Dr Chee Soon Juan wrote a co-op piece on The Wall Street Journal on 27 November 2014 titled ‘A New Vision for Singapore‘. He repeated his call for PAP to conduct  free & fair elections and release the press from government control to allow true debates by Singaporeans at this crucial juncture in Singapore’s history.


Dr Chee is the secretary-general of Singapore Democratic Party which espouses liberalism principles and he has not deviated from those principles – he did a hungry strike in 1993 to protest his unfair dismissal from NUS; in 2002, he spoke up openly in Speakers Corner on behalf of Muslims parents who wants their daughters to wear religious head wear to school; the same year, he staged a rally near the Istana to raise awareness of the plight of workers; in 2006, he organised a march at Speakers corner to protest the rising income gap of Singaporeans.


He got into trouble with the law each time for his act of civil disobedience. He was bankrupted in 2006 when he was unable to pay damages after he lost a defamation suit to former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.


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Angry Aljunied Resident Confronts Chen Sao Mao


In the latest sign that the AHPETC could be on the verge of bankruptcy, Singapore General Elections 2016 received news that a frustrated Aljunied resident had confronted his Member of Parliament Chen Sao Mao during one of his walk-abouts.


The long time resident and supporter of the Worker's Party had become angry as many basic amenities in Aljunied were not functioning and had not been repaired or replaced for months. This was despite repeated calls to the Town Council office and promises that the repairs would be done.


Independent witnesses to the confrontation which Singapore General Elections 2016 spoke to confirmed that a resident known in the area as "Ah Tan" had confronted Mr Chen and that the confrontation got heated. At one point, Mr Chen was overheard telling Mr Tan "if you are not happy with the way the Worker's Party is  running your town council, you are free to move out. The Worker's Party is fighting for democracy in Singapore and if you cannot suffer some inconveniences for that, than we don't want you in our estate."


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An Open Letter to The WP


Dear Ms. Lim, I am a Singaporean.  I do not live in the districts that are run by yourself and your team. But I want to say that I am growing very concerned by the increased number of messes that the WP has been involved in of late.


I understand that despite your past electoral victories and success the party that you are a part of is still a small once.


Many Singaporeans, myself included,  understand that this is the first time that the WP is running a GRC. And most of us know that it is running a municipality's day to day operations is no easy feat.


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Thoughts on PM Lee's Speech at PAP60 Rally


If you want my honest opinion, I think our government has failed us. Why do I feel this way? First, they signed treaty with India government and thousands of Indian pmets come to Singapore to compete with Singaporeans, resulting in many Singaporeans pmets being retrenched. You can view the India - Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) here.

They increase the cpf minimum sum without consulting us and even though less than 50% meet the CPF minimum sum, and increasing the withdrawal age. They ignore the fact that many want to retire early but brush off the issue by featuring elderly who want to work until they die. There is no accountability on the money by town councils due to Lehman brothers and they like to criticize workers' party. If you were to ask me, losing million of dollars by the  town council due to bad investment is far worse than not collecting arrears as some residents cannot pay the bills.

They take citizens for granted and has no qualms in increasing public transport fares. Transport minister already hinted that next year there is a review of transport fare. Normally review is increase fare one lah. Cost of living always increase. So what do I think of their performance? I think they did not put Singaporeans especially the middle-class into consideration. Always expecting them to pay and pay. 

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SDP TO LAUNCH GE2015 CAMPAIGN


There are indications that PM Lee Hsien Loong will call for elections in 2015. As such, the SDP will get underway our preparations for the electoral campaign.

The GE, widely anticipated to be held at the end of next year, is crucial as it will determine the future direction of our country. Depending on circumstances, Mr Lee may call for one as early as the second quarter of 2015.

It is, therefore, not early at all for the SDP to step up our campaign and prepare ourselves for the much anticipated contest.

SDP to launch polls campaign in Jan

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SDP: "LEE HSIEN LOONG LIKE VERY SCARED LIKE THAT," RESIDENT SAYS

"I thought Lee Kuan Yew said nothing is free?" an elderly resident pointed out when we visited the Sembawang GRC on Sunday. "Then why Lee Hsien Loong giving out this and that? Like he's very scared like that."

He was referring to the recent announcements of goodies that the Government made.

"Yes," we agreed, "the Government is obviously feeling the pressure. But it's important to remember that it is the opposition that is constantly speaking up that the PAP feels it has to react."

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NEW POLITICAL PARTY SINGFIRST'S WALKABOUT AT ANG MO KIO GRC

There are two key reasons why we chose Ang Mo Kio GRC for our next walkabout.

Firstly, it is the Prime Minister’s ward. The PM decides on national issues. His election or non-election determines the fate of the nation. Voters in the constituency are electing a national leader, not just an MP.

Secondly, after having had our first walkabout in Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s Tanjong Pagar GRC, a visit to the son’s ward will highlight the dominant role of one family on the life of our nation. For 41 out of  the past 55 years, Singapore has been ruled by a dominant family; the PM has come from the same family in three-quarters of this period of rule; father 31 years and son 10 years.

related: ALJUNIED HAS 5 YEARS TO 'REPENT' IF IT CHOOSES WORKERS' PARTY

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Next GE to be a deadly serious fight: PM Lee


Lee Kuan Yew points way forward for PAP


The People's Action Party (PAP) has stayed in power for more than 50 years because it has continually adapted itself to changes in Singapore's society and around the world, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew has said.


"We must keep the party dynamic, relevant and in sync with the times"


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The Singapore Daily


A Vote for Change

– TOC: PAP pleads for blank cheque
– Food Fuels Me To Talk: Prepare yourselves, GE is nearer than you think?
– Tots of Cynical Investor: Bright side: No wonder PM thinks govt doing a great job
– My Singapore News: If PAP loses, Singapore will be in deep trouble?
– Sg GE2016: Why Sporeans Shld Be Concerned with AHPETC Town Council Saga
– 2econdsight: Unforeseen Outcomes of Land, Housing & CPF policies
– Ariffin Sha: Filling up Forms – Double standards within Double Standards?
– Anyhow Hantam: J B Jeyaretnam’s Anthem for Singapore
– Sg Alternatives: My Responses to Media on PM Lee’s Criticisms of Opposition
– Musings From the Lion City: PM Lee’s Rallying Cry
– My Sg News: Hsien Loong – next GE a deadly serious fight for Singapore’s future
– Ariffin Sha: “A lot of anti-opposition rhetoric and generalisation in this speech…”
– Tots of Cynical Investor: Big Data, the PM and the Oppo
– Sg GE2016: Campaign of Half-Truths by Andrew Loh, WP Lackey & Spinmeister
– Jess C Scott: The Oath of Office (Next GE and Beyond)
– 5 Stars and a Moon: Amend to Article II of PAP Constitution; what does it mean?
– Bertha Harian: Partying into the next GE
– Evergreen Bamboo: A Deadly Serious GE
– Singapore Recalcitrant: Will this be PM Lee’s swan-song?
– Singapore Notes: New Vision, Same Bull
– Zhun Bo, Singapore?!: WP may have missed the Elections memo
– Beyond The Emotive: A Deadly Serious Election
– Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Want to win big PM? Juz do the right things
– Bertha Harian: Party news!
– Taming The Crowd: Pro-PAP site Mothership.sg thinks Singaporeans are stupid
– Jess C Scott: Book Review: Democratically Speaking
– Fresh Grads: An Open Letter to The WP
– Sg GE2016: Angry Aljunied Resident Confronts Chen Sao Mao
– Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Coming GE: Real problem for the PAP
– Likedatosocanmeh: GE 2016 – vote for a real government, not CEOs of Spore Inc
– The Wall Street Journal: A New Vision for Singapore
– Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: SatuSingapura, a new oppo party in the making?
– Singapore Notes: Another Bites The Dust
– My Singapore News: Hsien Loong’s son should join the opposition
– Bertha Harian: Oh! The unFAIRness of it all…..!
– SG Hard Truth: How come WP can't do what they want with the ward they have won?
– Zhun Bo, Singapore?!: My unanswered questions from the AHPETC trial
– Sg GE2016: AHPETC Fined: Even PAP Trade Fairs Fined for Non-Compliance
– Yauming: Opposition Ward guilty of holding trade fair without permit… oh please
– TOC: Which “online campaign” was that again, MOS Lee?
– Five Stars and a Moon: A milestone in the Worker’s Party report card
– My Singapore News: Headlines: PAP trounced!!!
– Headlines SG: Low Thia Kiang has no comment: Chairman Showbiz Mao is better!
– Anyhow Hantam: Leslie Chew’s Criticism of Worker’s Party Unfair
– Sg GE2016: Demon-cratic Singapore Quits on the Worker’s Party
– Likedatosocanmeh: Risk-averse PAP shld'nt lecture Spore quickly learn frm failure
– The Establishment Post: Is the Singapore Political Opposition Becoming Passe?
– The Heart Truths: Nation in Limbo & a Divide that Drives through the Heart of Spore
– Leslie Chew: “I started out making a comic regarding the blue party’s latest battle…” 
– Sg GE2016: Breaking News! Singapore Worker’s Party Set to Split
– Dollars and Sense: Did Singaporeans vote for diminishing growth in GE2011?

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Prepare yourselves, GE is nearer than you think?

OK, I’m no political pundit. Nor an academic in political science who should be better able to read the political tea leaves than your average auntie. I also don’t move in the circles of great thinkers and insiders in Singapore’s elite political circles.

But to parody the Wet Wet Wet song, I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes. GE’s all around me, and so the feeling grows; it’s written in the wind; it’s everywhere I go..

.. that the next General Election for Singapore, IMHO, is a lot nearer than all the august big brains — Eugene Tan, Bertha Henson, Kit Wei Ching, Song Seng Wun to name a few — in our midst have been predicting. So shall I bet my Pioneer Generation Card against your SICC card that the January 19 2015 sitting for this Parliament will be its last.

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Elections will be called when the timing is right: PM


PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday that he would consider a range of factors in deciding when to call the next General Election (GE).

These include local issues, the state of preparation of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP), and global developments.

"If a major crisis is coming up then we have to clear that... It also depends on other agenda (items) which we are busy with," he said.

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related:
Snap General Elections in 2015?
Snap General Elections in 2014/2015?
Snap General Election in Sep 2015?
Fourth generation political leadership taking shape
Order of Succession And Baton Passing
PM Lee in Focus
PM Lee In The Limelight