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Shackling Symptoms, Sidestepping the Cause.

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Two bills tabled in the current parliamentary sitting, Liquor Control (Supply & Consumption) Bill and changes to the Industrial Relations Act, are sold by the government as proactive. Both are actually a demonstration of reactive, regressive leadership and unconcern for citizens’ true welfare.

In essential, the twin bills show the government to be Shackling the Symptoms while Sidestepping their Causes.

The Liquor Control Bill
On the surface, the Bill is ostentatiously in response to “concerns raised…by some MPs over alcohol-induced disamenities in their constituencies.” The aim is to ‘curb alcohol sales and consumption in areas with “significant risk of public disorder associated with excessive consumption of alcohol.”

TODAY has helpfully listed countries with existing Public Drinking Rules, I guess, to help ‘educate’ Singaporeans how progressive and responsive the government is. Let’s look closer.

The Police’s prerogative to issue DPPO (Designated Public Places Orders) was borne out of a UK government Jan 2005 proposal on Drinking Responsibly in order to address “alcohol misuse, in the form of binge drinking (BD)…prevalent among young people and seems to be a distinctive characteristic of the British drinking culture”. Concerns listed include alcohol and hooliganism amongst football spectators. http://www.parliament.uk/documents/post/postpn244.pdf

Sustained economic losses from alcohol-induced crimes were very high. ‘In 2002/03, 1.2 million violent crimes were alcohol related and 44% of all violent crime was fuelled by alcohol. 35% of all attendances at hospital accident and emergency departments are related to alcohol as were 70% of those which occur between midnight and 5 am. One in five violent incidents took place around pubs …All…costs alone estimated to amount to £7.3 billion a year.’ http://alcoholresearchuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/odpm-drinking-responsibly-january-2005.pdf

Alcohol-Free Zones regulations first appeared under the Local Government Act 1993. Special consultation has to be made in an area that ‘has a recognized Aboriginal community’ if AFZ is to be declared. As recent as 2010, when Sydney declared more AFZs, it was observed that “some of these areas are residential areas where Aboriginal people live”. Aborigines were not specifically targetted y the Act but was highlighted.

The laws are aimed primarily at Danes. “From 1991, municipal authorities can prohibit the drinking of alcohol beverages in public places like streets and parks.” Pg 126, Denmark Country Report – Alcohol Policy Profile
The 2 common features of the 3 territories with Public Drinking Rules are;

  1. The legislation originated out of a concern to curb excessive drinking of their own citizens in order to minimize instances of social disorder or crime.
  2. All legislation can be traced to the days long before the higher presence of foreigners in the country became an issue if, in fact, it is.

Industrial Relations Act (Amendment) Bill – allowing PMETs representation by rank & file unions
It aims to provide PMETs an “additional and lower-cost alternative to settle their employment disputes through union and management negotiations.” Given their increased numbers (now >30% of workforce), the amendment will help them to be “better represented…and better embrace(d)…into the tripartite process.”

Disputes in re-employment contract (i.e. pending retirees) were repeatedly given as examples that the amendment serves. But MP Yeo Guat Kwang, who famously holds the most directorship of any MPs past or present, should know a thing or two when he tellingly spoke of “more accounts by PMEs about how their colleagues were retrenched because it was less costly for employers to hire a younger or foreign PME.”

What PMEs need are laws that will be punitive against unfair retrenchment, that such disputes need not even arise. Otherwise, employers can rest assured that, like Prime Gold had done, Singaporeans can be illegally replaced with foreigners without concern that the Ministry of Manpower will demand that those unfairly replaced need to be reinstated.

PMEs need bread, PAP government gives them stones.

What The 2 Bills Says About PAP’s Leadership & Governance
Singapore has laws in place that had served us well for 50 years; laws on the sale and consumption of alcohol; laws that PMETs found adequate to protect them while earning a livelihood for themselves and loved ones.

So, why does Singapore suddenly need new or amended existing laws – that have proven adequate for 5 decades?

Does it make sense that a sovereign nation has to adapt its laws to accommodate the ‘sins’ of the foreigners who come in their numbers and at Singaporeans’ pleasure? Should it not be the other way around since we live peaceably enough with just the old set of laws?

Why have Singaporeans got to change our behaviour (more restrictive drinking terms) or seek out more legal protection (via unions) just because of the changes brought on by excessive foreigners in our midst?

The foreigners who came in their numbers and the employers (local or foreign) prior to 2010 or earlier had to adapt themselves to our existing laws. Their behaviour did not force new laws on us, our lives.

Are we really in control here? Or is the tail of foreigners over-presence wagging the dog of legislation? Isn’t that the case here with their drinking ways and their impact on employers’ hiring practices? Are we acting like a sovereign country when our sovereignty means adapting our laws to cater to guests and commercial organizations’ behaviour instead of telling them, these have been our laws, take it or get out of here!

Does this not prove that this government has been derelict in their leadership? And their governance have been shown to be without any true concern for the lives and interests of citizens because they choose to shackle the symptoms, while sidestepping the root cause of irresponsible drinking and unfair employment practices – i.e. foreigner numbers have exceeded their critical mass to behave as they do back home and employers can exert illegal dismissals of Singaporeans with impunity.

I wish to categorically state that I have worked practically my whole adult life with foreigners as principals, colleagues or clients. No issue with them whatsoever at every personal level. They are entitled to their own pursuit of life and happiness for themselves and theirs…as much as I am and my fellow Singaporeans are.
More so on our home turf and not at our expense – and surely not with the tacit and overt concurrence of our elected government



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