An overwhelming majority of commentaries focus on components of the budget and, for pundits featured in mainstream media, the bigger picture of where the budget aims or hopes to take Singapore ‘to the next stage’.
One of the few discussing the true political as opposed to the governance motivations is Budget 2015: The Colour of Money. In essence, the said writer cuts thro’ the bull to point out that ‘except for those citizens who are well off and most likely PAP voters, the rest will become increasingly dependent on PAP’s largesse as they grow old. Hence the focus on such things as the Pioneer Generation Package and the Silver Support Scheme but nothing to improve CPF rates of returns and as importantly to provide non-discriminatory social entitlements for citizens despite having their household finances depleted by government policies of extracting revenues and returns.’
To me, the twist of the knife in the above salient observation is that ‘PAP’s largesse’ is not done with PAP’s money. Be not mistaken, neither is the money rich taxpayers’ or corporations’. The legal contract is that everyone agreeing to operate and pay taxes in Singapore means that all tax revenues belong to all the citizens of Singapore. Most definitely, the S$60 bil revenue and NIRC amount do not belong to the People’s Action Party or, for that matter, any other party.
So, why should we leave it to PAP’s say-so how the money is to be deployed? Are Singaporeans helplessly resigned to PAP teasing us into addiction to ‘PAP’s largesse as (we) grow old’? Will PAP succeed to update Marx’s observation to show that ‘budget money is the opium of us ordinary Singaporeans’?
If daft Singaporeans are still unconvinced of PAP’s insidious and covert motives in every move they make and every step they take, let me point to what they also do off-Budget time. Our parents could with non-Herculean efforts afford to pay for our 2-, 3- & 4- room HDB flats right up to the 80’s on their own steam. But, the PAP Sec-gen proudly announced during his 2013 National Day Rally (off-Budget, right?) new Special Housing Grants (SHG) for more HDB buyers. SHG (fr Jul 2013 sales launch) is itself an enhancement to the Additional Housing Grant (since 6 Feb 2009).
It means that, for all the razzmatazz of dizzying GDP growths during Goh CT’s & Lee HL’s leadership, our public housing prices went from broadly affordable to unaffordable for our mid and low income fellow citizens.
When I first heard the clueless PM saying, ‘I will make sure every Singaporean family who is working can afford their home’, I shook my head in sad wonder at his proud posture. The irony of his claim is just lost on him. Hello, if you have done a great job as Lim Kim San did for my parents who bought a 3-room HDB flat at Beach Road WITHOUT A SINGLE CENT OF GRANT, you should go hang your head in shame at your abject failure. Or is that your astonishing success in making the current and future generations more dependent on ‘PAP’s largesse’ such that your sole objective to perpetuate PAP’s reign is, well, enhanced?
If the current PAP leadership is hellbent on making addicts of us to their manipulative use of our national revenues, we must surely put a stop to the process instead of leaving our children to suffer or to undo their wrong against us/them. Whilst we cannot directly influence the Budget design, we can surely sack them as ministers.
My own analysis of Budget 2015 surfaces another reason why we should vote PAP out of power and not just deny them a simple, let alone a 2/3 majority. Beyond manipulation, I look for clues of who they really are. The evidence suggests a current leadership completely lacking in empathy with Ali, Anil and Ang.
The $0.20/litre petrol duty increase effective immediately shows PAP’s IQ in top form. The numbers add up neatly, the reasons appear reasonable. State-owned radio DJs were even roped in to help nudge call-in listeners towards agreeing with the move.
To me, the estimated $177mil to be raked in simply shows a government that has little or no EQ. For Ali, Anil and Ang, the recent spectacular fall in crude oil prices, even if translated into only miserable instead of the pronounced discounts we see in Malaysia, is like an unexpected if short rain shower to cool, cleanse our sweat-drenched faces, dust-sticky bodies and grime-caked feet. We are the ones who cannot afford the exclusive spas or jet-streamed tubs after another easy day in the aircon company-paid cars and gleaning offices. So, some little bits of relief are a welcome diversion to be grateful of and for. Crumbs for us little people.
But, no. Million$ ministers and policy wonks have to take away that light drizzle of cool relief.
To confirm that this is not a one-off, Budget day anomaly, let me point to how the PAP Sec-gen himself view the unaffordable HDB flat that he has created and given you grants for. Our HDB flat is not a possession that we Asians naturally like to think of and view as to bequeath to ours when we depart. Nope. It’s an asset with value that we should ‘unlock to fund our non-productive years’. So, over the years, starting from 2009, PAP has ‘helpfully’, right up to another off-Budget occasion NDR in 2014, enhanced the Lease-&-Buyback-Scheme.
For those not born talented, we only have ourselves to blame being born in this Casino Nation.
Concluding, do not the evidence here presented show us a PAP leadership that takes our money (far too much), manipulates its use to perpetuate their Party’s hold on power (primarily to benefit themselves and their own)? Not only that, are they not a bunch of leaders who are totally out-of-touch with how the average Singaporean lives and feels day-in-day-out?
Vote Them Out – Singaporeans, please!