Ho Kwon Ping’s take on Singapore politics has distracted Singaporeans from real issues such as our CPF retirement shortfall (lowest pension rate in the world), transport woes, incompetence of our statutory boards, etc.
Ho Kwon Ping is the Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings Limited. Ho is a businessman who was invited to speak at the partisan IPS-Nathan Lecture. Why should his views even matter?
Ho was being politically correct by saying “PAP could lose dominance in Parliament in 15 years, or lose power completely in the second half of the next 50 years ”. Did anyone expect Ho to say the PAP will likely lose power at the next election?
When Ho’s views get splashed across the mainstream media, they achieve the same effects of propaganda where the gullible may start to believe the PAP will unlikely lose the next election.
Ho cited historical trends such as Mexico’s Institutional Party, and India’s Indian National Congress, which lasted 71 years and 49 years respectively. Why did Ho cite a country 16,000 km away instead of neighbouring countries like… Malaysia?
Singapore and Malaysia possess a lot of historical, political and cultural similarities. The Barisan National (BN) and the PAP were ruled by ‘strongman’ Mahathir and Lee Kuan Yew respectively. The PAP has ruled Singapore for decades and so did the BN which ruled Malaysia for 51 years from 1957 to 2008. In 2008, the BN lost more than one third of parliamentary seats.
Similarly, the PAP has been the ruling party for 55 years since 1959. If history is any guide, the PAP has already overstayed and should lose its dominance in parliament at the next election.
The PAP has overextended its stay by:
– implementing the GRC system and gerrymandering
– restricting citizens’ rights and freedoms
– politicising and controlling the civil service and grassroots
– controlling the mainstream media
Ho could not have been unaware of the similarities between Singapore and Malaysia but of course he has to speak the ‘right’ things at the partisan IPS-Nathan lecture.
The three possible causes for the PAP to completely lose power, according to Ho, are a freak election, split in the PAP and a massive loss of legitimacy.
Ho somehow came to the conclusion that PAP’s loss of power could only happen in 25 to 50 years time. At the rate PAP’s failure, it looks more like anytime soon.
A ‘freak’ event is one which is “unexpected or very unusual”. Losing a GRC in the 2011 election was a freak event since very few had believed it could happen. So ‘freak’ is no longer freak but is actually the new normal. Does Ho then mean losing a few GRCs is a possibility?
A split in the PAP is also not an unexpected event. Many PAP grassroots are disenchanted with the elites who continue to listen with ear mufflers. Without the support of grassroots who are PAP MPs’ free labour, MPs will be at a loss. Has Ho been observing PAP’s performance since 2011?
Original image @ imageenvision
Not only has the PAP been scraping the bottom of the barrel for new candidates, its current crop of MPs such as Alvin Yeo and Intan have become a huge liability to the PAP. Even the PAP feels that whatever little left of its reputation to salvage is not worth the effort and does nothing about Alvin and Intan. For sure there is a split in the PAP – between those who are a liability and those who perceive themselves otherwise. Anyone wants to take a wefie with Alvin or Intan?
Ho says “there is no evidence that corruption has increased in Singapore’s public life despite a few scandals involving mid-level bureaucrats,..”. This may be true but then again how can there be evidence without transparency? Why are we ranked 5th by the Economist on its crony-capitalism index?
There may be few cases of political corruption (dishonest, immoral conduct) but what is actually more insidious – our entire system is corrupted by greed. Everything that an individual does, be it in the public or private sector, is driven by greed. Before joining the ‘grassroots’ movement, civil service or becoming a politician, the most important question is “what’s in it for ME?”.
Don’t believe? Just ask Tin Pei Ling, Baey Yam Keng or any PAP MPs whether they would ‘serve’ if their $15,000 ‘allowance’ is reduced to $5,000. When the underlying motive is greed on a scale encompassing almost the entire country, the system has to fail. Job satisfaction is almost non-existent in Singapore.
The PAP’s privatisation of public housing, healthcare and transportation has created a lot of unnecessary suffering for citizens. It is only a matter of time before the people stand up against an abusive government. The people’s breaking point is not in the distant future.
Instead of speedily addressing the CPF issue, the PAP continues to assume elderly citizens will be stupid enough to fall for its frills like giving them priority queues at NTUC supermarkets. Every year that the PAP delays resolving the CPF issue, the number of anti-PAP voters increases. Currently there are about 50,000 CPF retirees in each cohort.
Perhaps the PAP has yet to realise that CPF members are already a force to be reckoned with at the next election. It will prove to be a near-fatal mistake for the PAP to assume that retirees can be bought over with the Pioneer Generation Package.
Citizens want their tens of thousands of dollars in their CPF accounts returned and future CPF returns to be pegged above the inflation rate. If it means booting out the PAP, so be it.
A number of governments in the Middle East have fallen like dominoes during the ‘Arab Spring’. The factors leading to their fall may one day also hold true for the PAP.
With the PAP in total control of public resources, civil service, grassroots, a large number of businesses and the mainstream media, Singapore is run like a dictatorship. The country with a system closest to ours is North Korea. For decades, our rights and freedoms have been trampled on by the PAP. Our economic decline is only a matter of time because our artificially-inflated GDP is based on government-controlled real estate prices. Unemployment of citizens has been increasing due to a pro-foreigner policy. The cost of living has been increasing at a faster rate than wages. Poverty has also been increasing as fast as our GDP and most of our youth totally reject PAP’s control and condescending manner.
PAP has been scraping the barrel and its potential candidates are as disconnected from the ground as the party. With one defective candidate after another, Ho must be kidding to assume the PAP will not lose power within 25 years.
When citizens have been suppressed for decades, the government WILL get booted out. History has also shown this could happen sooner Ho’s crystal ball has predicted.
At the rate the PAP has been failing citizens, why shouldn’t the PAP fall at the next election?