Stop trotting on the treadmill, get onto the road
By Leong Mun Wai
After listening to SM Tharman’s speech last night, a picture of our government running on the treadmill with a screen showing the early achievements of our country in the 1960s to 1990s, slowly conjured up in my mind. I suspect he was not the only cause of my apparition but the cumulative effect of listening to all the four ministerial speeches previously.
They continue to reiterate their glorious past, or even up the speed of the treadmill. The reality is they are getting nowhere. Get real man, you need to get on the road and run!
Why do they keep mentioning about fast-forwarding current plans? Why do they keep bringing up the glory days from the 1960s to 1990s? Aren’t there pressing issues to deliberate and act on right now? What we need are innovative and concrete plans to rebuild our economy and society after Covid from Ground Zero.
SM Tharman was a colleague of mine in 1986 when he was an Economist at Monetary Authority of Singapore and I, an Investment Officer at the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.
We credit him for implementing many policies after the 2011 General Election, as the then Finance Minister, that slowed the widening gap of social inequality. Unfortunately that initiative and good work was truncated by the results of the 2015 General Election.
Just as in 2011, retrospection and genuine change can only come about by admission of misplaced policies in the past years.
1. To provide good jobs for Singaporeans, the government will have to tackle the issue of foreign PMETs head-on. Without the prospect of jobs, the re-skilling and up-skilling programs will have limited results.
2. There is a very urgent need to fast-track the digitalisation of the economy. But it must also be accompanied by a new emphasis on technical skills apart from academic research in our tertiary institutions so that we train enough graduates for the digital economy.
3. The ultimate way to increase jobs in the long run is to build an integrated ecosystem or support system to groom our local start-ups and SMEs. The current system is not yielding the expected results despite spending billions of dollars every year. The approach has to change.
4. Our education is a social divider and not social leveler. There is a need to relook at the whole approach to education in a digital information age. A few changes here and there is not going to help.
5. Our culture of national solidarity which used to be strong in the 1990s will continue to weaken as long as social inequality is not reduced and the foreigner population not controlled effectively.
If the government keeps on putting up aspirational motherhood statements without concrete follow up plans and execution, then Singaporeans will soon realise the hollowness of much talk and no action.
However as loyal Singaporeans we will wait again patiently for a fresh, bold and coherent plan for the way forward from DPM Heng on Saturday.
In the meantime, get off the treadmill and start pounding the road!
他们为什么一直谈论加快当前计划？他们为什么继续谈论1960年代至1990年代的美好时光？ 2000年代没有什么可谈的吗？ 冠状病毒大流行给了我们一个从零基础开始重建我们的经济和社会的机会，需要的是新想法和一个完整的蓝图。
3. 从长远来看，增加就业机会的最终途径是拥有一大批我们自己的初创企业和中小型企业。而这需要先建立一个综合的政策系统支持它们的发展 。尽管每年花费数十亿新元，当前的政策仍未产生所需的结果。
The author of the above article writes in his own capacity with his views and opinion only to himself and are in no way a representation of the Party.