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…

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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”. 

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?

Steve Chia fallen to the hordes of Online Trolls.

Steve Chia fallen to the hordes of Online Trolls.
National Solidatary Party
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Today is a sad for democracy in Singapore. How could a decent man trying to make a difference to Singapore could make a statement like this?

So I went on a little investigation on who exactly are these online trolls starting with the link provided by Steve Chia.

This page was filled with embarassing information of his past.

Wait a minute. Hammer away?
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Next I back track when the attacks started by going through the time line of NSP’s facebook page. Everything was normal with each posting garnering about 100-200 likes and 20-30 comments.

But this particular post garnered 225 comments on the 19th August 2015.
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What is going on?

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How sad the comments.

One of the strongest comment which stiked us was

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So who is Firdaus?

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Even goh meng seng is pissed with the WP’s supporters attack.
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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? 

Announcement that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee has been formed, too late?

Following the answer by PM Lee regarding the formation of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee, netizens have taken to social media to express their excitement over the signal that elections could be happening soon.

However, one particularly interesting comment stood out from the Singapore Democratic Party(SDP).

“It is shocking that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong chose not to announce the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee when he appointed it two months ago. He revealed the formation of the EBRC only in Parliament today. Such a non-transparent approach to elections continues to tilt the playing field heavily in the PAP’s favour.” 

Note that, they were upset that they were not notified that the Committee was formed, which is also a signal that elections are coming, based on past track record.

The question is: Would the opposition parties have done any differently, having known that elections are fast approaching? 

If the opposition parties had been doing good work on the ground for a long time, they would not be scrambling to build up good will now that elections are near…

But hasn’t this always been the trend? Contest for an election, lose and then disappear until the next election is nearing.

How do they expect to win this way?

How free should Free Speech be?

All the drama with Roy Ngerng, Amos Yee and TRS has got me thinking about ‘Free Speech’…

What is it really?

Is the idea of ‘free speech’ as free as we really think it is?

All of us have a varying tolerance when it comes to the views of others; and how much they should be allowed to say as part of the idea of ‘free speech’. Some questions that we should be asking even before we start debating whether or not some people should be sued, or websites shut down.

Does ‘free’ absolve one of the responsibilities of his/her words?
Does ‘free’ give people the right to spread untruths?
Does ‘free’ mean ignoring the consequences of our words on others?

Some say ‘free speech’ is a right; it is embedded in our constitution. I agree, it is a right, but which definition of ‘free’ does this right follow? As we exercise our ‘right’ to ‘free speech’ are we infringing on other rights of others?

All of us have varying definitions of the word ‘free’, but what should society’s definition of ‘free’ be?