The Only Direction Lee Hsien Loong Will Take Singapore is Backwards
As Lee Hsien Loong today introduced his new candidates for Ang Mo Kio with the words, “We’re looking for a new team to take Singapore forward”, my first thought was I had heard that before-not just once but at every election.
It also brought to mind that old and racist joke about how many gears an Italian tank had. The answer was five-one forward and four reverse. The PAP Government today is like that tank and the only place they are likely to take Singapore is not forward but backwards.
Every election the PAP says the same thing. Then they introduce the same crop of ex-civil servants, GLC and statutory board executives, new citizens and generals with the occasional doctor thrown in. All yes-men and women. Even those who come from the private sector usually have a GLC and scholar background.
Lee Hsien Loong may talk the usual cliches about renewal and young blood but we are not going to find a new team to take Singapore forward from these people. Their candidates may get younger but they are like clones of the MPs they replace. They have no new ideas and are in any case so scared of jeopardising their million-dollar and multi-million dollar pay packages that they will not speak up if they did.
With the replacement of Inderjit Singh at the relatively young age of 55 the PAP have if anything become even more conformist. They have lost one of the few backbench MPs who was prepared to criticise PAP policies, though only mildly and within strict limits.
The truth is that despite all the talk about a new team to take Singapore forward, Lee Hsien Loong is floundering. He does not know what to do now the global economic environment has turned against him. He is calling an election early because he knows that the economy is going to get a lot worse. Of course when economic growth was high it was due to his government’s clever economic management. Now that the economy is teetering on the brink of recession it is the adverse external environment that is to blame.
As I wrote in my previous blog, “Beware of This Man! LHL Will Boost Singapore’s Population to 10 Million Once Global Growth Recovers“, Lee Hsien Loong admits he has “maxed out” the easy growth. It is no longer possible to play the confidence trick that he is improving your lives by using foreign workers and immigration to boost economic growth. It no longer works not because the PAP have decided to recalibrate their policies because of public pressure as they claim, but because the economy is weak because Singapore exports have fallen off a cliff due to weak global demand. If the economy picks up so will the demand for foreign workers and the rate of population growth.
Meanwhile your wages stagnate or decline in real terms while the competition for jobs from foreign PMETs intensifies. Even more in a low-growth environment the pressure is on Singaporeans whom under the current system employers find all too easy to replace with cheaper PMETs who do not have the burden of NS or CPF. Never mind that their qualifications are often inferior to the Singaporeans they displace. The Government pays lip service to supposedly protecting the welfare of Singaporeans but has a huge conflict of interest as the bigger employer and owner of businesses.
Productivity has been negative for three years which looks like being extended to a fourth year.
Why would you trust the PAP team and Lee Hsien Loong to lead the country out of the mess they have got us into? They are certainly not worth the millions they are being paid, and the hundreds of millions their spouses and relatives are earning as managers at Temasek and GIC and the many other unaccountable and opaque entities that control the wealth that Singaporeans work so hard to create.
Unfortunately it looks extremely unlikely that the impending election will produce the change of Government that Singapore needs and an end to the PAP’s failed economic policies. That is why the Reform Party has chosen to challenge Lee Hsien Loong directly in Ang Mo Kio. Our aim is to achieve accountability and transparency over the nation’s reserves and a fairer share for Singaporeans in that wealth. Even if the Government does not change, if we win in Ang Mo Kio we will get a new Prime Minister and hopefully the adoption of new policies that achieve this.
The only direction the PAP will take Singapore is back to the past.