I have set up an online petition to voice out my displeasure that the LTA intends to install CCTV cameras on all buses in the near future. For anyone who wants to have a say in this issue, do visit the URL listed below:NO TO CCTV ON BUSES
Extracted from the petition:
"This very initiative infringes on our privacy and our personal freedom. This is as good as telling all Singaporeans that the moment you stepped out of your house, the government is watching you and knows what you are doing and how you are behaving."The issue of intergrity with regard to online petitions:Despite the success of online petitions, they do tend to lack credibility. The ease with which a person can apply for multiple e-mail addresses under fake names gives an online signature less weight than an ink-and-paper one.
I'm aware that not every signature might be genuine.But it ust be noted that false signatures would be a problem with a traditional petition as well. There's no stopping anyone from signing multiple times.
In the instance of The Families Against the Casino Threat in Singapore, (Facts) was cautious about not taking the signatures on its petition at face value. Unlike the NKF's, its petition required the signatory to put down the number of his identity card as well.
Before they sent the petition to President S.R. Nathan, they deleted names without proper identification numbers and contact details. The final petition consisted of more than 19,500 names.
Indeed, it is easy for someone with computer programming knowledge to generate multiple entries on a petition, said Mr Bok Hai Suan of NCS Pte Ltd.
Explained the director of corporate information systems: 'It is easy to write a computer program to mimic the data entry sequence in online petitions as the screen is usually quite simple and straightforward, and it is meant to be that way. The program can generate as many entries as it wants.'
However, creators of petitions who want to maintain the inte-grity of petitions could try various means of thwarting hackers, such as asking for additional information.
'If the site asks for additional information, such as the identity card number and postal code, it will make it a bit more difficult to fake signatories,' said Mr Bok.
'But it is still possible to do it,'' he cautioned.
Ultimately, it's 'the rough numbers that count.I don't think the exact number is important. The important thing is that it gives an idea of the interest. A certain percentage of a petition will be true: A petition doesn't just get a lot of votes if no one is interested.
Associate Professor Randolph Kluver, executive director of the Singapore Internet Research Centre said: 'You can't make an insignificant issue significant by using technology. In the case of the NKF online petition, it was the importance of the issue that got people's attention.'People are drawn into action when they see their own values being undermined.'
The author would like the reader to close his/her eyes for a minute and think of the following question?
What will come to your mind when someone mentions the opposition in Singapore to you?
1. Potong Pasir and Hougang
2. The different opposition political parties (WP, SDA, SDP, SPP) and the various opposition politicians namely Chiam See Tong, Chee Soon Juan, Low Thia Khiang. Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam
3. Defeats at every General Election
4. A bunch of troublemakers and a group of less than qualified Singaporeans running for a seat in Parliament.
I guess the above are some of the impression that Singaporeans have when the word “opposition” is mentioned to them.
Are these some of your sentiments? Maybe? Maybe not?
However, I believed many people will agree with the author that the word “opposition” in Singapore seems to go hands-in-hands (intrinsically-linked) with libel suits, Fines (not excluding jail terms), bankruptcy and even exiles.
Thus, Singaporeans, especially the young, should stay away from the opposition or even not have anything to do them. (This is what the author was taught to do growing up in a pro-PAP family). If you want to join politics, there’s always the PAP around.
However, the author at the tender age of 20 decides to throw all these things aside, enter the fray and allowed himself to be subjected to the baptism of fire in what most deemed as the continued and constant losing battle of the opposition with the ruling party. Why is this so?
The common reaction from people who comes to know the author will tend to ask him this, Why are you so silly? Do you have nothing better to do?
The author will now gives his reason behind this decision of his.
1. The author is disappointed and saddened by the political apathy of most Singaporeans and seeks to address this pressing issue.
2. The author yearns to do something for his people in order improve their lives in Singapore.
3. The opposition provides the author with a platform to volunteer his services to help the people and serve them within his capacity.
4. The author loves to interact with people.
One may argue that the author should join the PAP in order to fulfill such aspirations of his. The PAP has the money and resources for the author to address pressing issues of the people. Why still join the opposition?
However, only the opposition will, for the benefit of the people initiate and purpose changes from the outside in accordance to the wishes, demands and situations of the populace. Changes coming from within the PAP are not in tandem in addressing the problems and sentiments of Singaporeans. (Picture an hourglass and how slowly the sand is flowing and the point will present itself much more clearer)
Basically, the PAP is too slow with the pace for pressing changes which will alleviate the sufferings of the people.
When called upon, the opposition will always be there to “whip the PAP’s backside and tone down their ego” to make sure that they are constantly moving in accordance to the needs of the people; the very ones that voted them to power in the first place.
On top of that, the author believed and respected the democratic process and the author hopes for the emergence of a two-party system in Singapore. Only under such a political system can Singapore be assured of a truly democratic society as well as more checks and balances for an accountable and transparent government.Thus, to conclude, every Singaporean should cast their perceived mindsets of the opposition in Singapore aside and make themselves available to cater to the needs of the people. There is no room for only a dominant party in Singapore. The need for opposition in Singapore is valid, relevant and important to Singapore and its budding democratic process. Before one even discredit the opposition, the author urges everyone to look at things in perspective and examine the works and contributions of the opposition, ever since Singapore’s independence in 1965, to Singapore, its people and her democratic process.
P.S. If you are still thinking of doing something worthwhile and valuable to Singapore, why wait; approach any opposition parties in Singapore!
It was announced on 19 March by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and subsequently confirmed by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong that he is appointed by the Prime Minister to help win back the two opposition wards of Hougang and Potong Pasir in the next General Election. SM Goh to help PAP candidates win back Hougang, Potong Pasir seats SM Goh's hoofbeats on opposition turf Mr. Goh says his role will be to advise, coach and help the PAP candidates in Hougang and Potong Pasir refine their fighting strategies in the elections.
In his speech to the media, Mr. Goh says: "I am not too concerned over the candidates. I am concerned over the interest of the residents. So I want to find out from Eric Low and Sitoh Yih Pin, and of course through the visits down to Hougang and Potong Pasir, what are the needs of the residents, what problems do they have, what are their hopes, what facilities do they need, what amenities can we give them? "Then having size up their interests above all else, I shall work out some strategies with Sitoh Yih Pin and Eric Low to see how we can win back the two wards."
Ever since then, it has been hailed a smart tactical move by the Prime Minister by political observers. However, one has to question the intentions and underlying motivations of PM Lee. The author will now examine the likely reasons behind the Prime Minister’s tactical move.
Firstly, opposition’s rule in Hougang and Potong Pasir is entrenched.
Hougang has been under the stewardship of Workers’ Party secretary-general Low Thia Khiang ever since 1991 and Chiam See Tong has been an MP of Potong Pasir since 1984; a staggering 22 years.
The PAP requires a heavyweight to wrest the wards of Hougang and Potong Pasir away from the opposition. Thus, the task ahead is huge.Seetoh Yih Pin: All out for Potong Pasir
However, after a relatively good showing by the PAP in Hougang and especially in Potong Pasir, where the PAP candidate, Sitoh Yih Pin lost by a mere 751 votes to the incumbent in 2001, the current PAP leadership helmed by PM Lee, believed that the “chikus” are now right for the picking. Plans for Hougang SMCThus, by sending SM Goh into the fray, the PAP feels that they have someone with the reputation and calibre and the quality to re-claim the 2 opposition wards.
This issue could be looked at in another perspective.PM Lee is frustrated at the continued stranglehold of Hougang and Potong Pasir by the opposition.
In the aftermath of the 2001 election, the then Deputy Prime Minister, spoke of the opposition as being lucky in their win in Hougang and Potong Pasir. He stated that Eric Low and Sitoh Yih Pin had given Low Thia Khiang and Chiam See Tong respectively a real run of the money.
Thus, this time round, the move by the PM Lee to appoint to spearhead the challenge to re-claim the opposition wards is a final throw of the dice by the Prime Minister. This move can also be interpreted as throwing the ball into the opposition’s court and seeing how the opposition would react to such a move by the Prime Minister.Chiam See Tong dismisses PAP's plan to recapture opposition wards Workers' Party chief confident of retaining his seat
The Prime Minister intend to use the influence of SM Goh to divert the Workers’ Party attention away from Aljunied GRC. 2006: WP Vs PAP ? Will it be like Cheng San in 1997?
It is widely known that The Workers' Party is interested in contesting Aljunied GRC in the coming election. Political insiders likened the impending battle in Aljunied to the battle in Cheng San GRC in 1997, Eunos in 1991 and Braddell-Heights in 1984. Impending battle @ Cheng San after Nomination Day in 1997
The opposition posed a credible and big threat to PAP’s rule in Aljunied and things could very well against the ruling party come polling day. Furthermore, The Workers' Party have been working the ground ever since the last elections and some believed that they stand a good chance in Aljunied in the coming elections.
Thus, SM Goh(whose own Marine Parade GRC is not likely to be contested) plays the role of diverting the resources and focus of The Workers' Party from Aljunied GRC to protecting and retaining the single member seat of Hougang which the Prime Minister believed is dear and precious to The Workers' Party and will be defended at all costs. Under such circumstances, The Workers' Party will inevitably change their game-plan and give Hougang much more attention than before.However, it must be noted that Hougang has always been a keenly-contested ward in recent elections. And the opposition have coped well in the face of challenging on many fronts in the past. Thus, the introduction of SM Goh will not add undue pressure onto The Workers' Party into changing its tactics in favour of Hougang.However, the author believed that the underlying reason behind this tactical move by PM Lee is to deflect the possible loss of Hougang and Potong Pasir to the Senior Minister.
As this is PM Lee first election since being appointed Prime Minister, the results are especially crucial to him and the party. Do note that this is the first time that he is seeking a mandate from the people for him to carry the country forward. And any winning margin of less than 70% could mean a less than acceptable result for the PAP.
Thus, if the PAP were to lose again in Hougang and Potong Pasir in this election, in turn affecting the overall winning margin, the normal accusatory finger will be pointed at SM Goh and not PM Lee.
The purpose of the SM is clear. The SM is to advise, coach and refine the fighting strategies of the PAP’s candidates. A gigantic responsibility indeed and greater the blame no doubt.
Moreover, PM Lee has stated clearly he wants a clean sweep of all the seats contested."We want to win. This is not masak-masak" Thus, in the case of not being able to achieve this election target of his, SM Goh will thus be seen as the primary reason behind the PM’s loss.As shown in the above discussion, it is clearly evident that there’s no doubt the tactical soundness of PM Lee move to appoint the Senior Minister to spearhead the ruling party’s charge into the opposition’s territories. However, doubts do lingered as to the real intention of the Prime Minister. As is shown, the author believed the underlying motivation is to create a subtle screen to deflect a possible loss again to the opposition, thus protecting the credibility and integrity of the Prime Minister’s new government. Do note the dynamics and unique circumstances behind the coming elections, calling for such a tactical move by the Prime Minister.
Here are some of the many promises that the PAP broke upon coming to power.
Caution: Viewed them according to your own discretion.Shared prosperity a cornerstone of the PAP's economic policy?During elections:
"Shared prosperity will remain a cornerstone of our New Singapore."
- PM Goh Chok Tong, Straits Times, Oct 20, 2001 After elections:
"A Department of Statistics (DOS) report last year showed income inequality has crept up over the years. Overall, average monthly incomes have risen: from $3,076 in 1990 to $4,943 in 2000. But incomes at the top rose, while incomes at the bottom declined. In 2000, incomes for the top 10 per cent of resident households grew 8.8 per cent, while incomes for the bottom 10 per cent of wage-earning households shrank 13.6 per cent. This shrinkage would have been even greater - 54.1 per cent - if households with no wage earners had been included. The Gini coefficient - which measures income disparity in a society - hovered around 0.44 in the 1990s, but expanded to 0.481 in 2000, showing a rising income gap."
- Chua Mui Hoong, political columnist, Straits Times, Aug 4, 2003
"If we want to have successful entrepreneurs, Singaporeans have to accept a greater income disparity between the successful and the not so successful."
- SM Lee Kuan Yew, Ho Rih Hwa public lecture, Feb 5, 2002 Choose PAP and Singapore will grow, prosper and becomes stronger?During elections:
"Choose wrongly, and Singapore will be weaker. People will start writing new reports about us, about how, after all, we are just a flash in the pan."
- DPM Lee Hsien Loong, Straits Times, Oct 22, 2001After elections:
"Singapore is Asia's weakest economy: Barclays." - AFP, Jun 18, 2002
"Singapore among Asia's laggards as recession deepens." - Bloomberg, Jan 2 ,2002
"Glory of Singapore fades into the past." - Age, Melbourne, Jan 24 ,2002
"Singapore is trying to halt slippage." - New York Times, Apr 30, 2002
"In Singapore: Government squanders savings." - New Zealand Herald, May 18, 2002
"Economic doubts dog Singapore." - Financial Times, Aug 27, 2002
"Singapore faces jobless surge." - BBC, Sept 13, 2002
"Singapore concedes economy weakening, delays pension repairs." - AFP, Nov 17, 2002
"Whither Singapore Inc?" - Economist, Nov 28, 2002
"Singapore economy to remain sluggish" - Financial Times, Jan 3, 2003
"Singapore economy stagnates, recession risks loom." - Reuters, Apr 10, 2003
"Bad debts up as Singapore falters." - Reuters, Jul 31, 2003The PAP is a government that leads?During elections:
"You look at all the countries around us...Currencies collapsed, property prices ces collapsed, unemployment, economies slowing down, riots, clashes between people. Singapore did not go through that mangle. Why? Because in Singapore, we had a competent government in charge, anticipating events."
- SM Lee Kuan Yew on the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, Straits Times, Nov 1 2003 After elections:
"In a global economy, we are not trendsetters. We follow what others do."
- Minister and labour chief Lim Boon Heng, Straits Times, Jul 2003
"Data released by the Ministry of Manpower last week was by far the bleakest to date. Eight straight quarters of job losses and a staggering 24,800 jobs wiped out over the April to June period - more in a single quarter than in all of 1998, the peak of Asia's infamous financial crisis."
- The Edge, Aug 4, 2003
"Singaporeans are also the most pessimistic about their future income. In the Asia-Pacific region, only the Japanese are less confident than Singaporeans about the outlook for regular income. These are among the findings of MasterCard International's latest biannual survey of consumer confidence in 13 markets around the region."
- The Edge, Aug 4, 2003Unite behind PAP for a secure future and a better life?During elections:
"A people united - Secure Future, Better Life."
- PAP election manifesto
"Vote for my PAP team. a people united behind a good government is your best guarantee of a secure future and a better life."
- PM Goh Chok Tong, Straits Times, Oct 28, 2001After elections:
"Bankruptcy cases at 17 year high."
- Straits Times, Jan 8, 2003
"Family violence on the rise, and counselors attribute it to the stress of job losses due to the economic downturn."
- Straits Times, Jan 28, 2002
"During the Asian Financial Crisis, 27,000 jobs were lost. That year the number of marital splits jumped by 16 per cent to 5,651. Last year a record number of 5,825 marriages ended in divorces and annulments - up sharply from 2,111 cases in 1982."
- Straits Times, Jun 8, 2003
"Hit by slowdown, young working adults are vulnerable to suicidal thoughts. More are calling SOS hotline for help...there were 361 suicides last year, nearly 17% more than 1999."
- Straits Times, June 15, 2003PM Goh shows more understanding towards our concerns?During elections:
"Will you keep your job? Can your families cope with school expenses, medical bills, rent and utilities charges? I understand your worries."
- PM Goh Chok Tong, Straits Times, Oct 28, 2001 (A week earlier, Goh had said he understood our “concerns.” See posting on 19 Jul 2005 below. Concerns and worries come thick and fast before elections to the PAP; what happens after elections is another matter.)After elections:
"A growing number of Singapore children are not being sent to school because their cash-strapped parents claim they cannot afford to pay for education. Ministry figures show 1921 children did not register for Primary 1 classes in 1999, up 244 on 1997 figures. "
- Reuters, Mar 3, 2002
"More parents seeking help to pay school fees."
- Straits Times Jun 17, 2002
"About 10,000 students received financial help from the Ministry of Education in the first six months of this year, almost three times that for the whole of 1999. The Starits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which gives students $30 or $50 a month, is also helping 2,000 more students this year, nearly 40 per cent more than last year's 5,500."
- Straits Times, Aug 11, 2003
"Thousands can't pay utility bills, many face power cut."
- Straits Times, Apr 12, 2003
"Desperation is forcing some people to ask for personal loans on the internet ... they are asking strangers for anything between $500 and $30,000."
- Straits Times, Apr 14, 2002Jobs, Jobs, Jobs?During elections:
"SDP's plan 'causes higher unemployment.'"
- George Yeo in Straits Times, Oct 29, 2001
"Top task for PM - to save and create jobs. There is one thing on Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong's mind these days : jobs, jobs, jobs."
- Straits Times, Oct 26, 2001After elections:
"Numbers for the first three months indicate that unemployment - now at a 15 year high - will get worse before it improves."
- Straits Times, May 1 2002
"Gone forever: 42,000 jobs in Singapore. Why: high costs here; the recession; business restructuring."
- Straits Times, June 17 2002
"The proportion of Singaporeans who are unemployed for at least 6 months is the worst in 10 years."
- Straits Times, Sept 15 2002
"Fewer jobs as gloom hits economy. 84,300 people could not find jobs last month."
- Straits Times, Nov 1 2002
"By year end, unemployment should rise to 5.5 per cent ... a recent MOM survey says that three in 10 of the jobless are sole breadwinners which means more than 30,000 families could be living off retrenchment benefits, savings and any odd jobs they can snag."
- Straits Times, Nov 23, 2002Compassion government?During elections:
"Build compassionate meritocracy : PM"
- Straits Times, Oct 27 2001After elections:
"CDCs are not welfare agencies: PM"
- Straits Times, Jan 6, 2002
"If these patients want to treat hospitals like a hotel, then they'll have to be charged hotel rates."
- Minister Lim Hng Kiang, Straits Times, March 1,2002, on cutting off subsidies for hospital overstayers who "are likely to be older than 60, with no income, or are from families with incomes below $1000."
"I regret making the decision because, in the end, the baby continued to be in intensive care, and KKH now runs a bill of more than $300,000."
- Lim Hng Kiang on how he regretted intervening to admit a premature baby into KKH, Straits Times, May 21, 2002
"Family bathes in public toilet because the water supply has been reduced to a trickle and the electricity disconnected. 'I have no money even to buy candles.'"
- Retrenched worker Mdm Dilaram, Straits Times, Apr 12, 2003
"Power supply is not a welfare organisation."
- DPM Lee Hsien Loong, Straits Times, Mar 13, 2003
"More than 3000 Singaporeans have applied for a government assistance scheme in the first two weeks of the year ...but no one has qualified."
- Straits Times, Jan 26, 2003PM Goh understands our concerns?During elections:
"I know you are worried about your job and your family's future. I understand your concerns.”
- PM Goh Chok Tong, Straits Times, Oct 20, 2001After Elections:
“Layoffs not all bad. If there are no retrenchments at all, then I worry for Singapore.”
- PM Goh Chok Tong, Mar 22, 2003 PAP=Pay and Pay?During elections:
"What it means is that government will have to tax and tax and you will have to pay and pay. If you don't want a Pay and Pay government, better don't vote for the opposition. Vote for the PAP."
- DPM Lee Hsien Loong rebutting opposition's economic proposals, Straits Times, Oct 29 2001After elections:
"This is the medicine, take it."
- DPM Lee Hsien Loong on the GST hike, CNA, May 15, 2002 PM Goh wanted alternatives?During elections:
“I would want to form an alternative policies group in Parliament, comprising 20 PAP MPs. These 20 PAP MPs will be free to vote in accordance with what they think of a particular policy. After elections:
In other words, the whip for them will be lifted. This is not playing politics, this is something which I think is worthwhile doing."
- PM Goh Chok Tong, Straits Times, Nov 3, 2001
"If you sing Jailhouse Rock with your electric guitar when others are playing Beethoven, you are out of order. The whip must be used on you."
- PM Goh Chok Tong in report "Not in people's interest to lift whip", Straits Times, Apr 6, 2002As it can be seen from the various broke promises above, it is clearly evident that the PAP is not as credible as they say they are. Contrary to media reports in the Straits Times, where the PAP is being potrayed as the most effective, efficient and accountable government, the broken promises that you have just read only serves to illustrate the point that the Singapore system desperately needs someone to check on the government. Furthermore, one should read the Straits Times with a certain skepticism with regard to political reporting and analysis. The best alternative to solve the above predicament is to vote in opposition parties into parliament so as to serve as checks and balances to the ruling party and to expose the faults of the government to the people who voted them into office in the first place, so as to enable these voters to make an informed decision in the next elections.