20130830 PAP’s erratic policies cause for concern

Singaporeans should sit up and be really worried about our erratic policies implemented by the PAP government. Flawed policies continued to be tweaked and the government has clearly succumbed to populist pressure instead of addressing fundamental issues.

The longer the PAP refuses to acknowledge the dinosaur-age software used to run our country, the worse it will be for Singaporeans.

Take for example high property prices which the PAP proposes to address with more grants costing taxpayers $150,000,000 annually. link In a desperate move to gain popularity, housing grants given to 2/3 room flat buyers have been extended to buyers of 4-room HDB flats.

That even Singaporean median income earners require some form of grant is acknowledgement and confirmation of the high cost of public housing. Perhaps the HDB will be considering giving grants to 5 roomers before the next general election?

The U-turn on allowing singles to apply for public housing is another populist policy. But one in the right direction because HDB rental flats in the open market are simply out of reach for most Singaporeans.

Governments around the world do not allow public housing for foreign employees in the private sector and PRs except ours. Public housing is strictly for citizens only and units should not be even allowed to be rented out to foreigners. The PAP had not even planned for housing the increasing number of foreign workers and simply expected to abuse public housing at the expense of HDB residents.

The PAP should not make a ‘U-turn on policies based on popular demand’. One moment it allowed 7-year car loans to be extended to 10 years which were recently reduced to 5 years overnight, HDB loans from 30 years to 25 etc.

Sudden policy change have recently caused millions of losses to car traders with some having to close shop. The recent change in HDB policy has also affected about 150 PRs and their Singaporean sellers, possibly more, with the buyers having to forfeit their down payment and sellers having to look for buyers in a buyer’s market. Businesses are also affected because their costs are uncertain. The PAP has created a lose-lose situation for everyone.

The stability of public policies is necessary for the long term good of a country. The frequent changes in CPF and HDB policies, population projection numbers, number of foreign workers, the conditions for the different types of employment passes, etc are testament to the instability of the system.

The PAP has also been running Singapore Inc with the just-in-time (JIT) production model where its objective is to squeeze maximum profit out of every citizen and every square inch of land. This is clearly not right.

URA’s 2001 planning scenario for a population of 5.5 million between 2041 and 2051 will now be achieved in 2014. Yes, next year! http://www.ura.gov.sg/conceptplan2001/index.html Super productivity or just suka-suka-anyhow-plan?

Can any sane Singaporean trust the PAP not to have a population of more than 6.9 million in by 2030? The answer is clearly NO.

URA’s 40 to 50 year Concept Plans are beneficial for Singapore if not for the frequent changes and interference. Long term plans must not change according to the whims of the PAP, based solely on business interests and not citizens’ well being.

In conclusion, public policies must be stable for the long term good of citizens. This is absent in Singapore.
When policies are tweaked to attain any objective secondary to the welfare of citizens, there is cause for concern.

Phillip Ang

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