GPCs – Ownself check Ownself

Government Parliamentary Committees (GPCs) have been announced today, here’s a short graphic from the PAP’s facebook page, introducing the new Chairpersons of the various GPCs:

Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) Chairpersons

Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) Chairpersons

The one question on everyone’s mind: Simi GPC?

In short, GPCs were created to ‘ownself check ownself’.

GPCs consist of backbenchers (aka MPs) who are grouped into different ministries to provide an alternative voice to Parliament sittings. This was created in a time before the NMP scheme came out and there was close to no opposition representation in Parliament. The role of the GPCs was to be the “shadow opposition” in a Parliament with little opposition voices, and look critically at policies. Looking at the lineup, most of the Chairmen or Chairwomen seem to be newer and younger MPs, who can maybe provide a more fresh perspective on policies and how these can be improved, maybe even a step closer to becoming future office holders.

GPCs not only critique various policies, but also come up with structured recommendations on how to improve policies or even operations. Here’s an example of the recommendations by the Health GPC with regards to healthcare affordability. They reflected the ground sentiments of “it is better to die than to fall sick” (可以死不可以病) and provided suggestions to improve the healthcare system to have better safety nets for those who are unable to afford the growing cost of healthcare.

Actually hor, “ownself check ownself” not so easy hor, cannot say everything is nice and rosy, also cannot oppose for the sake of opposing. Still must write recommendations… hmm…

AIM-ing to give you the facts

The troubles in AHPETC have nothing to do with AIM. It is dishonest to link the two.

The PAP TCs consolidated ownership of the system under AIM as the start of the process to tender for a new system. By this time, the system was obsolete and worth very little.

“We entered into the transaction with Aim with the objective of benefitting the TCs. Over the last two years, the intended benefits have been realised. There is thus no basis to suggest that the AIM transaction did not serve the public interest, or was disadvantageous to residents in the TCs.” – Dr Teo Ho Pin 

AIM and its directors did not make any money from this consolidation and transfer of ownership.

The MND conducted an official inquiry and concluded that nothing wrong was done and this was discussed in Parliament.

When the WP took over AHPETC, it gave notice to AIM to terminate the contract for the system as it wanted to develop its own system. When it needed more time to do so, AIM granted extensions of time. AHPETC thanked AIM in writing for its assistance.

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With AHPETC’s accounts being flagged red and submitted late, the WP only raised the AIM issue 2 years later. But those had nothing to do with AIM.

Tan Jee Say style Coalition Government

Immediately after losing his bid to become president, Tan Jee Say set up his own Singaporeans First Party, and announced that he would focus on forming a coalition of opposition parties to contest the next general election in spite of the failed horse trading talks among the opposition parties.

He did an interview with foreign press, and in an article, they quoted him saying:

If the PAP failed to win a parliamentary majority in the next election, one possible scenario was a coalition of opposition parties forming a new government, he said. “The opposition today is more ready than the PAP in 1959 to form a government.” 

Really? Is the opposition of today more than ready to form a government?

Just take a look at their talks prior to the GE when they were deciding who should contest in which constituency. They could not agree with each other.

RP chief Kenneth Jeyaratnam left about half an hour into the meeting, after he said SingFirst insisted on contesting West Coast GRC. “We will try to resolve that with bilateral discussions,” he told reporters. “We contested there in 2011, we’ve been walking the ground.”“SingFirst hasn’t walked the ground there. They have approached a candidate to join them which shows they don’t have enough candidates,” he added.

NSP’s former secretary general Tan Lam Siong was seen outside NSP’s headquarters on Thursday evening. He said he was not present at the talks. “Unless there is a conclusion from tonight’s meeting that gives me a good enough reason to not contest (Potong Pasir SMC), there could be a three-cornered fight. As of now, I insist on contesting in Potong Pasir,” he told reporters.

It could be an issue of ego, no one willing to put their ego aside and come to a compromise.

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It is a surprise that of all opposition politicians, it is Tan Jee Say who comes out to say that the opposition is ready to work together to form a coalition government. He previously exited the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) to run for presidential elections and when he lost, subsequently formed his own Singaporeans First Party.

Here is what Low Thia Kiang thinks of Tan Jee Say’s great idea.

That belief still stands today, said Mr Low. “I have made it very clear at the Punggol East by-election (in 2013) in my speech … that we have different objectives, different leadership,” he said.

This definitely calls to question his belief that the opposition can work together, and that the opposition has a common belief. Evidently, opposition parties do not see eye to eye. If they can’t even come to a compromise on simple things like where to contest, how are they going to take a common stance when it comes to national issues?

You can have 3 cornered fights over a constituency, but you should not have 3 cornered fights in parliament, within the “coalition government”. 

Internet Brigades – Constructive or Destructive?

Today, when you go to Mainstream Media on Facebook, click on any post and find the number of negative comments on their posts. It is no secret that the opposition has an internet brigade which goes online spreading hate.

At first it was fine when they were not making personal attacks on people who did not agree with them. Freedom of speech right? Everyone is entitled to their opinion on an issue.

But what is NOT okay is when they go around and make personal attacks on well meaning Singaporeans who have voiced constructive comments or speak up in favour of the Government.

Channel News Asia released an article about steering away from negative campaign practices. Unfortunately, this only applies to candidates and agents but not their supporters.

Take a look at some of their comments. They are obviously unfair and are a form of cyber bullying.

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Their favorite term for anyone supportive of the government is “dog”. It is derogatory and disrespectful. Just because someone does not agree with you, it does not warrant name calling and mud-slinging.

I think Ms Tin has summed it up nicely.

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“As politicians, all of us have encountered our fair share of online vitriol; some perhaps more than a fair share. It is not pleasant to be on the receiving end of such online attacks, but many of us have cultivated a certain equanimity and learnt to focus on the important issues for Singapore. I went through a “baptism of fire” in 2011 and I can fully empathize with how my political colleagues and peers from other political parties feel. But online vitriol does not help our political development. Politics should be a contest of ideas, about how Singapore can tackle its challenges and improve the lives of its citizens. It should also be about who can best run a constituency and come up with the best programmes to serve residents. I may not agree with my political “competitors” on many issues, but I believe in their right to stand in front of voters, and put forth their views and positions too. Online attacks that use lies and innuendos to insinuate that a potential candidate is not fit to serve, or that use vulgar language and threats to push a potential candidate to withdraw, do not serve our democracy. It is important that Singaporeans are able to express their thoughts on issues freely. However, we can do this without personal attacks and harassment, resorting to lies or threats, hiding behind anonymity and false identities. We should be fair to others if we want our views to be heard too. Freedom of expression must be coupled with respect. I hope we can all work towards building a free yet responsible online space where constructive debates can take place.”

We should learn to respect other’s views even online and not resort to childish and rude name calling and personal attacks.

September 11, 2015. Who will you choose, to protect Singapore’s Future?

Parliament is dissolved.

The Election Writ has been issued.

Nomination day will be on 1 September 2015.

Polling day is said to be on 11 September 2015.

September 11, 14 years ago, on September 11, something tragic happened in the US. Terrorists shocked the world with destruction and left fear in all of us. We all have vulnerabilities which can be easily exploited by external and internal forces if we are not on our toes.

14 years later, we will decide our future for the next 5 years and beyond, on September 11.

Who can you trust, to protect Singapore’s Future?

Who do you think is capable, to protect Singapore’s Future? 

Who will you choose, to protect Singapore’s Future?

Remember AIM … Remember FMSS

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Remember AIM issue?

It was explained countless times and again it resurfaced.

1. Yes, the software was sanctioned by 14 Town Councils.
2. Yes, they paid the software by using the S&CC fees collected from residents.
3. Yes it was sold to AIM thru an open tender.
4. Yes, the software was later leased back to the Town Councils for a subscription fee.

But here are some facts.

1. The directors of AIM were not paid a director fee.
2. The software was getting outdated.
3. The cost for an upgrade would have meant a substantial initial outlay of the residents’ money.
4. Although there were several companies which took the tender documents but only AIM came back with a bid.
5. AIM did not profit from the purchase of the TC software nor from the lease back. Industry experts also mentioned that it was loss-making bid. (Maybe that is why no other companies bid for the tender)
6. Prime Minister Lee ordered a review of the AIM transaction and the fundamental nature of town councils, to ensure high standards of corporate governance.
7. The review reported that there NO wrong-doings and saying the AIM sale complied with regulations and there was no conflict of interest.

So how did this saga came about? hint* FMSS…. Overspent … WP…. Friends… (got it?)

Source: http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest+News/Singapore/Story/A1Story20130504-420308.html
Source: http://lkyspp.nus.edu.sg/ips/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/04/TD_Ministry-review-clears-AIM-deal_040513.pdf

Opposition parties whine over changes, say they were expected.

Oh no, now that number of SMCs have gone up and the size of the GRCs have gone down, what will the oppies have to accuse the PAP of now? 

That was my first thought when the ERBC released their report yesterday. And then Today released this Article.

Various Opposition MPs or parties have also released statements on their facebook pages.

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Response from Worker’s Party NCMP Yee Jenn Jong

He’s highly disappointed because he can’t walk around for 9 days and hope to win the election? Haha…
Show the people what you’ve been doing on the ground all these while! SMC or GRC they should be supportive of you if you have been doing good work. 

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Response from The Reform Party

Wow, they talk big but for the past 4 years what have they brought to the table or what have they done for their residents? Being in Government is more than big talk.

Unfortunately, that’s all they have shown us.

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Response by Singapore Democratic Alliance

They are literally asking PM to hand them the SMC on a silver platter. Hearts have to be won, not handed to you.

Through their responses, evidently they just want an easy win without hard work. Do they really deserve our votes?