Tuesday, February 2, 2010

SDP to launch alternative economic programme

Singapore Democrats

Egalitarianism. It's a big word. But it's also an important one.

It is the key word in the SDP's economic programme for Singapore which we will be launching this week through a series of posts on this website. We will put forward an alternative economic model that is fundamentally different from that practiced by the PAP.

It is a programme that, as mentioned, emphasizes on egalitarianism, a philosophical concept that promotes equality and equal opportunity.

Above all, it is an alternative that is both realistic and workable for our economy.

Why is it even important to mention this? Because for too long Singaporeans have believed that all the brains and talent in Singapore have been vacuumed up by the PAP, leaving only the mediocre and insipid to the opposition parties.

Which is also to say that it is a veritable lie that there can be no viable alternative to the current system.

After all the years of propaganda by the media, Singaporeans have been led to believe that anything else other than PAP's policies is rubbish and written for its own sake.

Nothing could be further from the truth. There have been many policies proposed by the SDP that the PAP has used and called them its own.

For example, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said last week that: "Our own population is growing slowly, and we cannot indefinitely expand our workforce by importing more and more workers from abroad. We have to extract maximum value from the resources that we have; every piece of land must be put to optimum use, activities which are no longer competitive or productive have to be gradually phased out."

A full 5 years ago, however, Dr Chee Soon Juan wrote in his book A Nation Cheated: "Singapore’s labour productivity...is notoriously mediocre." He went on to cite the influx of foreign workers which "expeditiously and artificially inflate[d] GDP figures." This, he added, was problematic especially in the absence of "a concomitant increase in labour productivity."

Lately, economists have echoed what Dr Chee has been saying all these years. In 2009, Citigroup economist Kit Wei Zheng pointed out that Singapore's rapid growth has, over the recent past, been mostly driven by a massive increase in the workforce and warned that it is clear that "growth powered by importing foreign labour is simply not sustainable."

This is also true for another of the SDP's proposals - Minimum Wage. The Singapore Democrats campaigned on this issue as early as the 2001 general elections. Shortly thereafter, economist and NTU vice-dean Professor Hui Weng Tat repeated the call for the introduction of Minimum Wage.

The problem with the SDP's economic ideas is that Singaporeans are not hearing or reading about them because of the media's censorship of our news. Hopefully, however, this will change with the growth of the internet.

Singaporeans must break out of the mindset that only the PAP has the ideas that work for Singapore. We must believe that opposition parties like the SDP have solutions and alternative programmes that are not just workable for Singapore but crucial for our future economic well-being - solutions that, as we have stated, even the PAP has adopted.

This coming collection of articles on the economy and the alternatives that we will be putting forth will demonstrate once and for all that the PAP does not have a monopoly of ideas for Singapore, including economic ones.

Let it never again be said that the opposition only knows how to complain and throw stones at the PAP without coming up with proposals to better Singapore. With this claim, the Singapore Democrats firmly establish our credentials as a party that not only boldly speaks up for Singaporeans, but also a constructive one.

6 comments:

soojenn said...

"Singaporeans must break out of the mindset that only the PAP has the ideas that work for Singapore. We must believe that opposition parties like the SDP have solutions and alternative programmes that are not just workable for Singapore but crucial for our future economic well-being - solutions that, as we have stated, even the PAP has adopted"

I have some questions for you Seelan. Are the key people in SDP able to manage their own backyard? This question is stemming from observations that some of your key people are unable to manage their finances or business well, and is getting into scrapes without being able to find solutions for themselves for years. How then would these people be able to manage Singapore's ecomony for one, if they are elected, and provide the solutions you are indicating will be laid out by the SDP. Presumably some of your solutions "to promotes equality and equal opportunity" will include spending the reserves in order to do this. It will be interesting then to see if your solutions will also include methods on the improvement and increase of our reserves.

Singapore has lost billions in the past year. The reserves have been built up over the past 50 years mostly by the old guards, and you can say a significant portion lost by their successors. However, how can Singaporeans be confident that the SDP can manage whatever is left of this large reserve, if you have key people within the SDP who are unable to manage even their own finances.

Anonymous said...

No offence Seelan Palay. But many of us educated SIngaporeans who are keen for alternatives would not cast a vote for SDP. The main problem is apart from Dr Chee's calibre, most of the other memebers of the SDP's team are not impressive at all. I grew up admiring Lee Kuan Yew a lot. But when I had the opportunity to vote in the last election, I voted for SDP. Currently, the elections are upcoming and I'm not impressed by SDP's line-up. I'm impress by the its recent spate of campaigns for democracy and human rights for Singaporeans. But you guys need to have more credible line-up. Passion alone does not help. A degree makes a little difference for me as it reflects at least some level of critical thinking. An economic degree makes more relevance to me now as I consider who to vote soon. I am currently debating between PAP and the Reform Party. Worker's Party is out as I can't relate to the Low Thia Kiang, who appeals more to the more chinese-minded among us. If the Reform's Party does not put up an impressive line-up, I will cast my vote to PAP which I didn't previously. Best regard, Seelan.

Seelan Palay said...

Hi soojenn, from what I know all the key people in SDP are managing their finances and businesses quite well, its one of the reasons why the party is still around and able to organise.

If you're talking about Dr Chee Soon Juan and Ms Chee Siok Chin being bankrupted by LKY and the PAP, that does not affect the party's resources as far as I can see over the years I've been helping them out.

I'm glad that you're interested to hear what their economic plans are, you will be reading about them in detail very soon, so stay tuned :)

Seelan Palay said...

Dear Anonymous, the SDP will be putting up a new lineup for the coming election and more to come in the coming elections.

Thank you for your support for the opposition so far.

soojenn said...

Seelan, CSJ and CSC are obvious cases, but not the people I was refering to.

I am also not talking about their inadequacy affecting the party's resources. My point was to actually highlight this weakness in some of these people who are not able to manage on their own, let alone be able to manage on a national scale. How they manage on their own magnified many times on a national scale will probably be a disaster. These people should not be in the lineup irrepsective of whether they are veterens in the political scene.

However, I have a different view with regards to "A degree makes a little difference for me as it reflects at least some level of critical thinking. An economic degree makes more relevance to me now as I consider who to vote soon."

Look at all the PAP ministers/MPs who have economic degrees, some from Ivy League schools. Did it help. I don't think so. It will be useful if such scholars? have a crticial mind of their own, not that of their masters. Most of them, according to LKY couldn't even provide him the advise that was necessary to avoid implementating fallacious policies which after decades have totally negative impact, like the "Stop at 2".. You don't need a degree in economics to be a critical thinker... look at some of the bloggers in the blogosphere who articulate well and fluidly. Are they all with degrees?

Who needs technocrats and bureaucrats who only know how to take risks and lose billions?

Seelan Palay said...

Dear soojenn, I do hope the next generation of SDP leaders will be more appealing to you.

And your comment, "Who needs technocrats and bureaucrats who only know how to take risks and lose billions?" is spot-on.