It’s May 8th 2011 and it is a Brand New Singapore!

Good morning Singapore. Together we broke the back of the PAP with them being routed in the polls, with the Worker’s Party retaining Hougang and now winning the Aljunied GRC.

As the sun emerges, we are being blessed with the dawn of a Singapore awaken from a long drawn siesta and political apathy.

What we need to do now is to close ranks, both the victors and the losers and work for an even better tomorrow.

All this while, I’ve chosen not to get involved with my municipal and local community stuff – largely leaving it to the MPs to do the work.  I intend to change that. I live in the West Coast GRC and I want to know exactly what happens in this GRC and the best way forward is to get involved. I think there is plenty of room for local residents to engage and play a role in the community.

We have to build on the momentum of these elections. I am sure that these results will perhaps spur many a Singaporean who gave up on their country and moved overseas to consider returning. To return and help build this into a nation that we can all be extremely proud of. A nation that welcomes one and all from around the world. Although I am second generation Singapore, my parents were the immigrants of their time and we need to make sure that we continue to build up a managed and well thought out immigration policy to help build our population. Should we have 5 million people on this 600-sq-km island? Or should we have 6.5million? Whatever the number, the basis of how we should be building Singapore is by consensus, consultation, transparency and collaboration. Not by the now discredited PAP heavy-handed “I know best, if you disagree, you’ll repent” style.

Hence I would like to call out to any and all to help me build on the idea of The Open Party. Yes, it is different. Yes it is radical. But to me the ideas around how open collaboration and consensus building using all the technology is crucial.  Of course, engaging with the population in person is paramount, but so is the need to work with them cleverly. Serving the people and being in government cannot be a win-lose proposition. It has to be an all around win-win process. The Open Party will be built along those lines.

Looking at this map of the results, it looks like the heart of Singapore is where Hougang and Aljunied is. The colour scheme has the US Red vs Blue states aura, but to me it looks more like the heart is alive, red and beating and the blue areas are deprived of oxygen and are suffocating and anemic.

Quick take on what the PAP reactions would be

It is the case that the PAP’s GRC gambit has failed after over twenty years of milking it. It is also the case that MM Lee’s threats, which harp from an ancient time of fear mongering, did not go down well at all. Why the PAP continues to let MM Lee continue with his style of politics is beyond me. I am sure that no one in the PAP dares to stand up to and challenge him.  MM Lee has done his work for this country. If he truly means what he says that he is concerned with this country, he should do the Right Thing and stand down. This country will survive and flourish. No need for Parental Guidance (unless MM Lee sincerely believes that his son is still needing PG).

The PAP has done stuff that they have never done before. They actually attempted at an apology, even if it was half-hearted. PM Lee’s lunch time rally at Boat Quay last week, where he sorta-kinda said sorry, was way too little, too late. The PAP continues to ignore feedback and objections raised by the population and when they finally realized that they’ve been sleeping at the wheel (and hence the appropriateness of WP’s second driver analogy to slap the main driver awake) it was too late. The PAP thinks that their mistakes were only since 2006.  If that’s how they look at it, then they are missing out on a far bigger problem.  The concerns have been around from probably 1991 – that’s 20 years ago. The fancy formulae in computing ministers’ salaries to the prices of public housing are just two of many. When my parents bought their first HDB property in 1964 in Queenstown, it cost them S$6,200 in 1964 dollars. When they moved into a new HDB home in Bukit Purmei in 1984, it cost about S$120k or so. Twenty times more over twenty years. Did the cost of land really go up that much given that the government acquires land cheaper than what it should be at? Public housing should be made available NOT at a profit margin that puts monies into the public coffers at the expense of the buyer. The fact that Mah Bow Tan has been returned to office (and possibly back as Minister of National Development) does not augur well. Why is it that all discussions about HDB is not answered by the CEO of HDB but by the minister? Does the CEO have nothing to say? No accountability at all? There has to be clear separation of accountability and  responsibility which can only come with transparency which is what I am proposing with The Open Party.

Just as the HDB CEO maintains radio silence, so does the CEOs of SMRT, SBS Transit, ComfortDelgro when it comes to public transport.  We have to take to task all of them – and the CEO of LTA – when it comes to being accountable.

The victory of the PAP in Potong Pasir is really shallow – both figuratively and metaphorically. SPP’s Mrs Chiam lost the seat to the PAP by a mere 114 votes (7973 vs 7859). 114 votes. There were more spoilt votes cast. I am sure the PAP will now move mountains and pump newly available cash into Potong Pasir. Will that be good for the people of Potong Pasir – probably in the short-term. But for the long-term, I am sure that they’ll take the money thrown at them by the PAP and come 2016 revert to Mr Chiam’s party.

Final thoughts

I think Singapore and Singaporeans need to evolve the culture of “compete we must, but by cooperating we make greater progress”. I hope the 40+% of Singaporeans who voted for  ABP (Anyone But PAP) will not be pushed aside and ignored. The people who stood for election and lost should be welcome by the winners to work together to progress further and faster. It cannot be winner take it all. Let’s close rank and help steer the good ship Temasek forward.

Much work needs to be done for a better Singapore. 2016, here we come!

Majulah Singapura.


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