Monday, February 29, 2016

Writting Off the Contributions of Opposition?

Someone said that none of the opposition parties should take credits for the changes that PAP has made since GE 2011.

I would disagree. I am not afraid nor shameful to take credit for the change in the HDB policies as the one who initiated a hard hitting campaign on Over priced HDB flats, not merely on pricing alone but the intellectual philosophy and discourse against it. Starting from HDB is NOT an INVESTMENT but a HOME to the debunk of PAP's argument of selling off or monetizing HDB for retirement. On top of that, highlighting the social injustice of PAP breaking its social contract when we allowed it to have the power to acquire land from our forefathers at dirt cheap price in return for cheap housing for generations of Singaporeans.

The activists who stood up against 6.9m Population White Paper and CPF's forever low return and increasing minimum sum should be credited for adjustments done to these policies.

SDP has persevered over freedom of speech and eventually PAP relented to put up Speaker's Corner. SDP has also touched extensively on universal healthcare policy and PAP came up with Medishield Life. Even though Medishield Life has lots of flaws but at least it is a first step of response to SDP's initiative.

Maybe he can only speak for his party and yes, WP should not claim any credits for all these policies because it has never led or initiated any public discourse or opinion on any important public policies so far, despite of the fact they have Numerous MPs in parliament and have put up a comprehensive manifesto.

WP MPs have not followed their own policy manifesto closely while debating in parliament. They have not uttered a word on abolishing ISA in parliament while they have written that in their manifesto. They even change their stance on ministerial salary using strange calculations which ended up as million dollar salaries.

So please, if you must comment, speak for your party's ineffectiveness and not robbing away due credits to other parties and activists.

Besides, this person who spoke about "no opposition party should take any credit" of the changes or improvement made was not even involved in the political arena for the past decade. Obviously, he cannot claim any credit to any of the happening, including the awakening in 2006 and the forward march of opposition in 2011 etc. But for him to write off all the combined efforts, sacrifices and contribution in this past decade in one full stroke, I guess that is really arrogant to start with.

Among opposition members and activists, we may have our differences and views but I respect their little contributions in their own ways. Yes, even the mere presence of WP MPs in parliament, though not fully effective (not even as "watch dogs" or "co-drivers"), is a little contribution in itself. This is despite the fact that we would like to see them more vocal and effective in their debates in parliament.

Many people, beside the opposition candidates in GE, have contributed tremendously to the opposition cause. This is especially so for the grassroot activists, spending time, effort and even money without remunerations, definitely without those million dollar deals. (Of course there are some bad apples who are more interested in making money out of opposition politics but let's put that aside). But to make it more effective and worthwhile, those on the frontline will have to put up a good fight, lead the public opinions and discourses on various public policies. Else, the disappointment of these grassroot activists in making such sacrifices will be irreparable.

The worst case scenario is to have a rookie to step up and write off all the efforts and contributions of many others before him. I am quite utterly disappointed.

Goh Meng Seng

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