This event is special because it has included a live band singing of songs which inspires political struggles. All thanks to Gilbert Louis, Tina Mercury de Costa along with her long lost cousin, Daniel de Costa. They have uplifted the spirit of the protest with their inspiring songs.
We have impressive young speaker like 17 year old Ariffin Sha to 72 year old elderly layman like Sulaiman to share their views. Of course, not to mention the "agent provocateur" who spoke in support of PM Lee Hsien Loong but was met with unexpected reactions from the crowd who just booed him out of stage half way through his speech.
I have learned something from Mr. Sulaiman. The PAP government has not spent enough money to help Singaporeans and we should not be a "Beggar State" whereby citizens have to beg the government for help. This may sound too simple to many people but it means something very profound to me. It simply sums up how stingy PAP government is when it comes to helping our citizens in need.
There are a few songs sang by Gilbert Louis group. The songs include my all time favourite John Lenon's "Imagine", the infamous song from Les Miserables "Do You Hear the People Sing", "Wind of Change", "Voices That Care", "From a Distance", "Shout" (by Tears for Fears) etc. I personally feel that these songs are great songs which could become a group of Theme Songs for any protests held in Hong Lim Park. These songs are not just any other songs but come with meaningful background and lyrics.
I have seen how the protest organizers in Hong Kong utilize various songs effectively for their events. They even have their own written songs for their own events. The annual 4th June Vigil is one good example.
Music and songs are powerful medium and tools to create the appropriate atmosphere for such events. These are so powerful and influential that PAP has to ban them altogether for any political rallies held during General Elections. But I believe we need to change all that.
Next, I will come to my own speech, which is in fact, "incomplete" as we were running out of time then. I am going to run through the rationale of my speech here.
The whole theme of my speech is, what are the reasons which will justify an urgent need to ask Mr. Lee Hsien Loong to resign as Prime Minister? I have somehow missed out some important points during the rally as there was a time constrain but the following are my thoughts:
1) Leadership Quality
The role of the government and thus, Prime Minister, is to take care of Singaporeans' welfare and interests. What does a Prime Minister needs, beside eyes, ears and a brain? It is the HEART. If you do not have the HEART to take care of the citizens' welfare and interests when you are making every decisions, then you are not fit to be our political leaders, least Prime Minister.
PAP has always been OVERLY GENEROUS towards themselves while being EXTREMELY STINGY towards Singaporeans in need. As the other speaker Mr. Sulaiman has mentioned, we have become a "Beggar State" under PAP rule. The Singapore Government hardly spent any money extensively on the welfare of Singaporeans. Even hospitals are no longer "Government Hospitals" but business oriented "Restructured Hospital".
There is little help available for Singaporeans who have, for whatever reasons, fallen into temporary hardship. We have to BEG PAP government for that miserable help they squeeze out of their tiny little pocket hole. That's what "Beggar State" is all about.
I am going to talk about the problem of having Ho Ching even though none of other speakers have spoken on this. I am not interested to DEFAME Lee Hsien Loong but the truth is, when he agreed to put his wife Ho Ching as the CEO of Temasek Holdings, he has set a VERY BAD EXAMPLE for such an important leadership position.
There are numerous corruption cases being investigated and charged in court. High level, well paid civil servants are deemed to give special favours or special treatments to their mistresses, students turned girlfriend or simply friends, are charged for corruptions. What is the fundamental problem of all these? Conflicts of interests! (the crowd responded as well) Yes, it is all about conflicts of interests. But in two cases, the accused have been acquitted of corruptions even though there is such a glaring conflicts of interests! Why? Conflicts of interests may not necessarily be considered as "corruptions" even though it might have created doubts or speculations. However, what is considered as "legally acceptable" may not be "politically" acceptable.
When the Prime Minister agreed to put his wife in such a high prominent position which runs the government owned Temasek Holdings, no matter what due diligence has been made whatsoever, it is inevitable that such arrangement will be seen as a problem of Conflicts of Interests! How can the Prime Minister have the moral authority to lead when such conflicts of interests has been displayed? Can the Prime Minister tell the civil servants off if they did the same thing?
The Prime Minister, as the TOP LEADER of the government, should lead by examples. The proper thing for the Prime Minister to do, is to practice AVOIDANCE of Conflicts of Interests! It means that no matter who want to "por" (flatter or attempt to show favor) the Prime Minister by suggesting to put his wife or sister or whoever in his family members at top positions in the civil service or government owned entities, he should DECLINE as a good practice of "Avoidance of Conflicts of Interests"!
Else, he will lose the critical moral authority to lead politically.
2) Really BAD Diplomatic Gaffes
We can't fault Mr. Lee for some of the embarrassing gaffes that he has made over the years, from "Mee Siam Mai Hum" to labeling Singaporeans as "Kao Peh Kao Bu" (Cry Father Cry Mother which implicitly cursing one of making noise as if their parents are dead. ) when we made too much noise in the internet. This is basically because he was born in with a Golden Spoon, has never eve stayed in a Condominium or Terrace House before, least a HDB flat like most of us. But when he made a gaffe that would affect International Diplomatic Relationship with one of the most important country in the world, that will no longer be just "funny" but actually DEAD SERIOUS.
During his visit to Washington and after meeting President Obama, PM Lee recounted a sick joke about Beijing's air pollution, alleging that you just need to open the window to get a "free smoke"! This was speculated to be one of the main reasons why China's President Xi has deliberately give Singapore a by-pass while he was shuttling between Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur while he was attending the APEC meetings in Bali, Indonesia.
If we allow Mr. Lee Hsien Loong to continue to lead us as Prime Minister, I do not know how many such embarrassing and damaging gaffes we would have to suffer in future.
3) Vision? Mission? Core Values? What is Mr. Lee Hsien Loong's Principles?
Does anyone know exactly what is Mr. Lee Hsien Loong's Vision? Mission? Core Values? Principles? The only come to our mind is MONEY $$$ ! (In fact, the crowd responded with the same answer as well.)
We got used with the "Pay and Pay" notion of the ruling party PAP way back from 1980s till now. It is ok for most Singaporeans to tolerate such "Pay and Pay" situation as long as they can have a good job and earn more than enough money to cope with such culture.
However, after Mr. Lee Hsien Loong took over as Prime Minister, the situation is really worse than Pay and Pay. The Core Principle of Money-Minded government has evolved into a bigger monster. We, Singaporeans, have been sold out for whatever money they can get from the deals they made.
For example, when there was a huge protest against the White Paper on 6.9 million, PAP announced that they might have to slow down the intake of foreign workers. Which was the first country to make noise about this? India. India government claimed that by doing so, Singapore would have breached the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that we have signed with India! I did a little research on this FTA which PAP has signed with India. This is what I have found:
The India-Singapore FTA is called CECA which stands for Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement. It was signed on 29 June 2005, just about a year after Mr. Lee Hsien Loong became our Prime Minister.
If you read carefully through the CECA, the main benefits for us is for our mostly banks and companies owned by Temasek Holdings to have the right and access to invest in India, mostly in their financial, telecommunication and real estate industries. (Read Trade in Services):
The sectors which Singapore gets preferential access include business services, construction and related engineering services, financial services, telecommunication services, tourism and travel related services and transport services.For Financial Services, Singapore owned or controlled financial institutions have been given greater privileges to access the Indian market. In banking, DBS, UOB and OCBC can each set up a wholly owned subsidiary (WOS) in India to enjoy treatment on par with Indian banks in branching, places of operations and prudential requirements. Alternatively, should they choose to set up as branches, they have been allocated a separate quota of 15 branches (for all 3 banks) over 4 years, over and above the quota for all foreign banks.For asset management, Singapore owned or controlled fund managers have the additional privilege of offering Indian investors mutual funds and collective investment schemes (CIS) listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) as well as exchange traded funds (ETF). These instruments offered by our asset managers are free from the restriction that they must only invest in entities which have a stake in Indian companies.
It is all good but at whose expense? We must first remember that although our CPF money is mixed into the Main Reserves and allocated for GIC or Temasek Holdings to invest, we do not benefit FULLY on the actual returns made from their investments. In spite of the inherent risk resulting from the investment made from GIC or Temasek, we are only given a fixed return of 2.5% to 5% on our CPF accounts.For asset management, Singapore owned or controlled fund managers have the additional privilege of offering Indian investors mutual funds and collective investment schemes (CIS) listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) as well as exchange traded funds (ETF). These instruments offered by our asset managers are free from the restriction that they must only invest in entities which have a stake in Indian companies.India has similarly lifted this limitation for India owned or controlled fund managers. Both Singapore and India owned or controlled fund managers can also invest an additional US$250m in equities and instruments listed on the SGX, including mutual funds, CIS and ETFs. This is in addition to the US$1 billion cap that all asset managers can invest abroad.For Telecommunication Services, India will bind its foreign equity limit from 25% to 49% for most services including basic, cellular and long distance services and 74% for internet and infrastructure services. India will also ensure that telecommunication providers from Singapore are treated fairly, transparently, and allowed to obtain access to the necessary public infrastructure in order to offer their services, thereby creating a more level playing field in India for our Singapore's telecom providers.
In order to let Temasek and GIC made in-route into India's emerging market, our jobs have been totally sold out to India by PAP government led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. This is clearly stated under Chapter 9 Movement of Natural Persons. It comes with an attached list of 40 professional fields of jobs which Singapore should allow Indian Nationals to access for employment! Furthermore, not only should Singapore be obliged to allow Indian Nationals to gain employment in Singapore for these 40 professions, but we are also obliged to allow the spouses and "dependents" to gain access to our Singapore job market in ANY OTHER FIELDS!!!
This is clearly stated under Article 9.6:
ARTICLE 9.6: EMPLOYMENT OF SPOUSES AND DEPENDANTS
For natural persons of a Party who have been granted the right to long term temporary entry and have been allowed to bring in their spouses or dependants, a Party shall, upon application, grant the accompanying spouses or dependants of the other Party the right to work as managers, executives or specialists (as defined in paragraphs 2(f)(i) to (iii) of Article 9.2), subject to its relevant licensing, administrative and registration
requirements. Such spouses or dependants can apply independently in their own capacity (and not necessarily as accompanying spouses or dependants) and shall not be barred by the Party granting them the right to work from taking up employment in a category other than that of managers, executives, or specialists solely on the ground that
they as the accompanying spouses or dependants are already employed in its territory as managers, executives or specialists.
Now, let's get this straight. Even for Singaporeans with foreign spouses, Permanent Residencies are not easily granted to their foreign spouses. For the first numerous years, they will only be granted some long term visit passes that do not grant them any rights to work in Singapore at all. Here, we have PAP government under PM Lee's leadership, promising to provide jobs not only to Indian professionals listed in the list of 40, but also to provide jobs to their spouses in any jobs in other fields with absolutely no restrictions at all!
India is a huge country with a huge population of almost 1.3 BILLION people, about 370 times of our population size of 3.5 million! Is it logical for us to provide UNLIMITED jobs to India which has a population so much bigger than us? Got logic or not?
Thus, it is obvious that this India-Singapore CECA is basically a blatant TOTAL sell out of our Singaporeans' jobs to India in exchange for the benefits of Temasek Holdings and GIC! We Singaporeans' welfare and interests can be sold out for their benefits!
Did PM Lee and PAP give any thought to our Singaporeans' interests, welfare and jobs when they sign this FTA with India? Apparently not. They are only concerned of how much money they can make from the opportunities of investing in India and the number of CHEAP LABOUR from India to help their GLCs and MNCs to save more labour costs! And obviously, that is at the expense of Singaporeans' wages and jobs! Our wages will definitely be suppressed by such influx of Indian workers!
Furthermore, did they care about the impact of such move upon our infrastructure? When we complain about the THIRD WORLD conditions in our "Restructured Hospitals" all over Singapore, PAP Doctor MP has the cheek to declare "Don't Politicise Healthcare issues". I have to reiterate again, ANYTHING that affects Singaporeans' lives, interests, welfare and benefits, IS POLITICAL. More so for the CRITICAL situation we have in our hospitals' A&E departments! PAP MPs and Ministers may not have the opportunity to experience first hand how bad the situation is due to their privileged background but I still want to get this message straight to PM Lee, his RECKLESS, ILL PLANNED and IRRESPONSIBLE action in increasing our population size by importing FTs rapidly, is ENDANGERING our Singaporeans' lives!
I speak from my personal encounters when my mother was admitted to KTPH. I believe the other hospitals around Singapore is as bad as, if not worse, than the situation in KTPH. And this is EVERYDAY PROBLEM we are facing in hospitals, not just an outlier happening.
I shall not elaborate here as I have written a separate article on this issue. But my point is, has PM Lee thought about such deadly consequences when he decided to sign this FTA with India? Absolutely no.
Thus, PM Lee has basically led us into some very dangerous situation whereby the concept of Pay and Pay no longer satisfy his vision of $$$. Singaporeans' jobs and interests can be and have been sold off for the benefits of Temasek and GICs!
4) What is Lee Hsien Loong's Economic Policy direction?
Do we know exactly what is Lee Hsien Loong's Economic Policy Direction? There are two. One is Casino. Two, increase labour and MNC investment.
The Casinos, under the guise of "Integrated Resorts" have been introduced after Lee Hsien Loong took over as Prime Minister. Up till now, we are still unsure how many jobs have these casinos created for Singaporeans but we definitely know how these Casinos are killing Singaporeans with so many suicides due to debts, problem gambling incidents and affecting our economy adversely when not only aunties and uncles got hook on casino gambling but wealthy businessmen who should be spending more time to enhancing their businesses, ended up hooked or even bankrupted by casino gambling!
The second madness of PAP's economic policy under Lee Hsien Loong is GDP growth at ALL COST. Why does he need that? To justify his and his ministers' multi-million dollar annual pay!
Basic Economics state that GDP= Labour + Capital Investment + Land.
If you want to grow GDP, just increase labour and capital investment. This is why PAP is so engrossed in opening up the floodgate to CHEAP foreign workers as well as MNCs, even though sometimes, these MNCs are only employing overwhelmingly CHEAP foreign workers instead of Singaporeans!
But did Lee Hsien Loong plan properly? Has he considered the impact on the various infrastructure in Singapore? The impact on inadequate Public Transport system? Housing? Hospital care?
During last elections, MBT kept saying that HDB is "affordable" but when I challenged him to a live open debate on this housing issue, he just siam ah! Who pay for PAP's mistake? Our younger generation Singaporeans! When I suggested the Cost-plus pricing mechanism for our young Singaporeans to lower prices of new HDB flats drastically, MBT proclaimed that this would effect a "raid on our reserves"! Well, my simple retort is, when PAP keep increasing their million dollar pay, isn't that also "raid on our reserves"?
Lee Hsien Loong's administration has gone so far to come up with that infamous "6.9 population White Paper" without first solving the immediate mess that his past screwed up economic policy has created! What is he really thinking in his brain?
5 Clear and Present IMMEDIATE Danger of PM Lee's recent Decision...
I am not so sure whether PM Lee has studied physics or not but he should know that for nuclear substance, there is something called "half life". For nuclear substances, half lives can range from over 60 years to almost 100 years. What does this mean? It means that it will take more than 60 years before the nuclear substance is being half, thus, radiation also being halved.
It means that it will not just take a few couple of years for the nuclear leaks in Fukushima to be solved but it will take tens and maybe hundreds of years before nuclear contamination could be minimized in Fukushima!
How can PM Lee decide to lift the ban on food imports from Fukushima right now when even farmers in Fukushima don't even dare to consume their own produce? Is Lee Hsien Loong putting Singaporeans' health is utter danger of nuclear contaminated food?
Why would PM Lee do that? Now, most probably, it is encourage Japan to get into the Trans-Pacific Partnership TPP agreement!
Do we still want a Prime Minister that would put our immediate health in danger just for some economic benefits from a broad free trade agreement which most likely, benefiting mostly Temasek and GIC again?
Apparently Mr. Lee Hsien Loong has completely lost the moral authority to lead Singapore and he has to be removed immediately because his totally bizarre decisions which will not only compromise Singaporeans' jobs but also endanger our lives. If we were to wait until next GE before we could remove him by voting him out, it might be too late as these irreparable and irreversible harm would be entirely instituted into our system.
Goh Meng Seng