PM Lee says the article is “thoughtful” and it “explains clearly the issues and trade-offs Singapore faces in building our ideal society”. “If we just pretend that everything can be better, and no hard choices are necessary, we will get into trouble”.
These are simply motherhood statements which insult our intelligence. PM Lee should not make sweeping statements and expect citizens will regurgitate them. Was a poll conducted to determine the number of Singaporeans who will pretend “everything can be better” or does “we” refer to only PAP and its supporters?
The article cited is written by an ex Straits Times journalist who was a senior Straits Times writer before joining Thomson Reuters.
(It is an open secret that the ST is a government mouthpiece. Since 1986, there has been a government-appointed “monitor” at the newspaper. “The disapproval of the “monitor” could cost a reporter or editor their job”. This is according to former editor-in-chief Cheong Yip Seng in is memoir “OB Markers: My Straits Times Story”. Cheong identified the first monitor as S R Nathan.)
ST articles have always been biased and Andy’s piece is no different. It certainly does not resonate with ordinary Singaporeans and Andy’s half-truths and factual inaccuracies need to be corrected.
1 Andy says “ageing citizens are pushing the government for bigger nest eggs and more subsidised health care and housing”. This statement misleads readers into thinking that Singapore citizens are unreasonable.
Truth: Andy appears not to know our CPF system has been mismanaged to cater for every need and that is the real reason for our insufficient “nest egg”. The nest egg belongs to citizens but was put away into the government’s investment arm without any consensus.
Healthcare for ageing citizens is the responsibility of the government. When the government prices healthcare out of reach for the masses, or “better die than be sick”, it is not unreasonable to push for lower healthcare cost.
As a financial journalist, Andy would also have known our government spends the least percentage of our GDP on healthcare among developed countries. Money has never been the issue as our revenue has increased by some $31 billion since a decade ago.
2 “Another way to pay for everything people want is to tax companies more heavily”. Again, he is missing the forest for the trees. Healthcare is a need, not a want. Andy should not portray Singaporeans as a people asking for the moon.
3 Andy suggests alternatives such as “buying riskier assets” and “skimping on investments”. He then answers them himself and acknowledges their trade-offs may be too costly.
Just like the PAP, Andy attempts to instill fear in Singaporeans by stating that “Still, please-all economics is scratching at the door. If it finds a way in, prosperity could be in jeopardy”.
So where does the PAP government figure in the whole messy equation? There was no question on PAP’s failed policies, PAP’s abdication of responsibility, shortsightedness (compressing URA’s long term 50-year plans into 10 to 20 years) and the frequent policy tweaks to keep afloat the Singapore Inc cruise ship. In short, Andy has wrongly assumed the PAP government to be perfect.
Andy seems to be unaware of the difference between “need” and “want”. As an experienced journalist, this piece is a disgrace to Thomson Reuters. Flaws in other articles by Andy have also been highlighted.
Andy’s article contains half-truths, is an attempt at fear mongering as well as an assault on the intelligence of Singaporeans. It is strange for PM Lee to have considered such a misleading article “thoughtful”.
The fact is the PAP has total control over the direction of our economy. The dangers of ‘please-PAP economics’ is not only “scratching at the door” but have already found their way in and caused untold suffering to Singaporeans.