Wednesday, May 11, 2011

PAP reform: Start with the "No upgrading for Opposition Ward" policy

Dear Friends,
I have written the following to the Forum page.
Is PAP capable of real internal reform?
If so, start with this truly awful policy.
Dismantle it first, then let's see how sincere it is.
Words are cheap.

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

The Letter:

Dear Editor,

Much has been said by Minister George Yeo about reform ( or as he called it- transformation) of the PAP in the aftermath of its monumental defeat at Aljunied.

But is PAP capable of internal reform?

Sadly, its records of reform in the past had at best been patchy and I am personally skeptical having seen how they responded after suffering setbacks at past elections. When it lost 4 seats to the nascent SDP (3 seats) and WP's Low Thia Khiang in 1991, then PM Goh Chok Tong blamed the loss to his being too soft and responded by making the playing field more unequal by *increasing the number of seats from three to four in each GRC and implementing the "lowest upgrading priority for opposition wards" policy! So much for listening to the people!

(*amended 21.5.2011)

Even if our PM Lee Hsien Loong is sincere about genuine reform, it is likely that conservatives in the PAP will not stomach this. Change will come only when forced upon it from the outside especially if it will help it win back lost votes and prevent further erosion of support in 2016.

One such policy that should be first to go is the "lowest upgrading priority for opposition wards" policy for the following reasons,

1. It does not work anymore ( and I doubt it had ever worked)

2. It is divisive and to many neutrals it was so morally reprehensible that in pre-election interviews, many opposition candidates stated that this was the single most important factor that made them join the opposition cause. To them, it was a fight for good against evil.

3. The electorate also frequently cite this policy together with other hot-button issues such as high cost of living, immigration policy, lack of accountability (including high ministerial pay), and Group Representation Constituency and perceived “gerrymandering” as reasons why they rejected the PAP.

In the hustings,when cajoled by NSP's Nicole Seah, "Do you want a fresh coat of paint at your void deck or a fresh voice in parliament?" the answer to the people seemed so obvious!

So if the PAP wants to soul-search and decide what to throw out, this one comes first. Why do something that plainly does not work, cause many to join the other side and makes you look like the bad guy? Seriously.

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan


aliendoc said...

Unfortunately, this spiteful & vindictive attitude seems to have trickled down to the lower echelons of the civil service as well...speaking from personally experience

aliendoc said...

Sorry - *personal

workawhorlic said...

Thank you for writing to the forum. I hope the PAP will heed good advice. This for me, along with ministerial salaries, is a sore point. However, I hope there will not be lawsuits this year - so far so good. This lack of sue-ing chalks up points for the PAP in my mind... but for me as a voter, the damage has already been done. My strong memories of injustice (against JBJ, Tang Liang Hong, Chee Soon Juan, etc) will make it hard for me to ever vote for the men in white again

nofearSingapore said...

Rumours are that lawsuits are not totally out of the picture yet. This remains pure rumour and speculation. Hope the young and prevent the old from going back to old ways of doing things.

nofearSingapore said...

Testing comments. The new blogger setting really screws up my blog. I am not moderating but comments by readers get lost! really stupid!

nofearSingapore said...
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nofearSingapore said...
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handsomecat said...

"My strong memories of injustice (against JBJ, Tang Liang Hong, Chee Soon Juan, etc) will make it hard for me to ever vote for the men in white again"

Exactly how I feel too!

nobullying said...

Me included. I cant forget how these harmless high-level professionals (Francis Seow, Tang LH, ISA detainees, etc) are forced to flee the country or jail indefinitely or made penniless thro' lawsuits - just bcos they do not agree with the one who liked all people to fear him, even though he's not God.

The Pariah said...

I hope I will be proven wrong.

PAP lost resonance not because of operational kop-outs but because of the rot in its core values that resulted in PAP (initially under Goh Chok Tong and even more brazenly under Lee Hsien Loong) calibrating laws, regulations and policies that:

(1) APPEAL TO THE SELF-SERVING INSTINCTS of "kaisuism" and "kiaseeism" of The Ugly Singaporean psyche (eg, using national funds for HDB public housing Lift Upgrading program by linking priority to votes for ruling PAP party);

(2) EXPLOIT THE WEAK (eg, en bloc law that taps on the tyranny of the majority without tempering the dire consequences on owner-occupiers with only one residential property who lose their family home bought with CPF retirement/private savings); and

(3) DEFER TO THE STRONG (eg, road traffic management is designed for smooth vehicular flow at the expense of pedestrain convenience who have to brave the equatorial heat or tropical storms as we are forced to make U-shape crossings at 3 sets of traffic lights just to cross from one side of the road to the opposite side).

The dissonance is wider and deeper than conventional wisdom that conveniently attributes it to, say, PAP losing touch with the ground or the masses getting dissed in overcrowded trains or property market bubbles or the post-1965 first-time voters which is not even supported by the Dept of Statistics demographic breakdown of age bands of 20-29 and 30-39 versus 40-49 and 50-59.

When PAP is already so MALFORMED at core, I reckon PAP will remain TRANSFIXED rather than TRANSFORM (much less REFORM).

A leopard cannot change its spots - Can it?

The Pariah,

Solar Panels said...

yeahh thts true....