Stronger Citizens, Not Stronger Mandate
By Leong Mun Wai
The PM’s speech at 730pm today sounded like one that was asking for a stronger mandate. PSP is confident that Singapore will overcome the Covid crisis eventually given our strengths built up over the years since independence. The issue is how well the government can lead and manage the situation given its lackluster performance in the handling of the Covid crisis so far.
This crisis is different from any of the crises that we have experienced in the past because it requires not only financial resources to support the economy but also Singaporeans to adjust their lifestyles and the economy to transform. Unfortunately, our government has not been good on both of these. Other than instilling anxiety and fear, the government has never help Singaporeans to plan long term financially with a good work-life balance. It has also spent billions of dollars in R&D and capability-building but still unable to transform the economy.
We have actually entered the crisis after two decades of economic mismanagement when the living standards of average Singaporeans were strained by loss of PMET jobs, mismatch of jobs and skills of new graduates, persistently high rentals and other costs of living. The lower half of the Singaporeans, especially, were ill-prepared financially when the crisis hit, many whom have little savings to tide them over. Taken in that context, the government’s $100bn rescue has not been enough in terms of quantum and timing.
We need more decisive actions to build stronger citizens together with a stronger economy. The government’s conduct of the past economic policies and the handling of the Covid over the past few months have shown that it needs help to come out with better solutions to overcome the challenges that are to come in the next decade.
A stronger mandate for the government will not help, it has enjoyed a super-majority in Parliament for the past sixty years, but a National Resurgence Government (NRG) with the PAP still leading but assisted by a significant number of credible alternative MPs is a better way forward.
The NRG is urgently required for the following reasons:
1. We have to build a consensus to recoup some of the PMET jobs from foreigners to tide our unemployed PMET over this crisis.
2. We need to check on the use of reserves because big disbursements will continue to be required in the next few years. Besides the President, the alternative MPs will be an effective check. In particular, in the recent rescue budgets, we are concerned about the use of our reserves to prop up commercial property owners and payment to non-Singaporeans.
3. We want to draw up long term polices on the use of these reserves for Singaporeans and the economy to allow Singaporeans to plan for their future better. When millions of Singaporeans react proactively rather than waiting for goodies to be handed out each time, the combined positive economic effect will be huge. For example, JSS could be announced as a permanent policy for SME to develop skilled labour, Comcare could be doubled followed by a minimum living wage, public services should be changed to non-profit making and so on. This long term commitment will also require a national consensus.
4. When we reinstate our budget balance in the future, we have to be careful that we do not take the easy way out by increasing taxes including GST and income taxes.
5. We need to change our approach towards our economic transformation. A government-led approach has proven to be not be a workable solution.
All in all, other than asking for a stronger mandate, the PM’s speech did not contain any policy details on how are we going to emerge from the Covid crisis stronger but we look forward to more details from the speeches of the other ministers in due course.
You deserve better.
For Country, For People.
总理在今天下午730点的讲话听起来像是在要求人民给予政府更大的授权。 PSP坚信，以我们自独立以来多年积累下来的实力，新加坡将最终能克服冠状危机。 但是鉴于迄今为止政府应对冠状危机的表现不佳，能够多快控制局面，度过难关是一个疑问。
加强政府的授权将无济于事，因为它在过去的60年中在议会中一直占有超级大多数。 让一个由人民行动党领导和相当人数的非行动党议员组成的国家振兴政府 （National Resurgence Government， NRG）将是一个更好的选择。理由如下：
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.