Letter: Singaporeans urged to vote for life with meaning and dignity

By Think Centre (Singapore)

Think Centre (TC), Singapore’s leading political civil society advocacy group, calls on Singaporeans to vote for a more meaningful life with dignity, joy and happiness, as the city-state enters its 11th General Elections since independence. Indicators show as many as 84 of the 87 seats will be contested.

The time for change has come. Now the PAP must fight for the mandate to form the new government. The 2.35 million voters will determine whether PAP will have the mandate to rule Singapore on May 7 polling day. Will they vote to reject the PAP offer, or will they vote to live a more meaningful life with dignity, joy and happiness, for themselves and their families? Will they rock the foundation of the ruling party’s grip on Singapore?

Most of the 200,000 new and young voters are expected to cast their vote in favour of change for a more meaningful life with dignity, joy and happiness.

The PAP may have ‘lost the confidence’ of many voters by refusing to listen carefully and fine tune their policies in favour of better living and working conditions. The cost of living is increasing with no minimum wage policies or unemployment insurance.

The voters wounds are then sprinkled with more salt as the only workers union here is closely linked to the ruling PAP government and sings the same tune of “bad policies”. The union has ignored proposals for international labour standards for minimum wage, decent working and living standards, to better protect the rights of workers and their families. The people are frustrated with empty promises of First World “living standards” while suffering Third World working condition.

Given the multi-parties contest of almost all the constituencies in this general election, Singaporeans are given real choices to vote for real representatives who will uphold and protect their rights and socioeconomic needs. This election also provides Singaporeans the choice to vote for parties that promote a more meaningful life with dignity, joy and happiness, for themselves and their families.

On Labour Day, the PAP Government is distributing “Growth & Share bonus” to citizens to off-set high GST and other costs of living. This is the sweetener before the polls. The re-distributing of economic gains contributed by each and every Singaporean regardless of race, language or religion. It is our rightful share of the national income generated by all of us who call Singapore home.

But real income is going down, the consumer price index (CPI) for February and March moves to 5% from the same period last year, due to higher prices of transportation, housing, fuel and food. Our salary is going down in purchasing power with inflation remaining at around 5%, so now more money is needed to pay for the same amount of goods and services. The high cost of living remains with much suffering for all families despite the offer of the pre-election sweetener.

As our opposition parties face off with the PAP, TC urges all Singaporeans to take the exhortations of PAP with more than pinch of salt. We should be asking the following questions to PAP this election:

Why no narrowing of the income gap and reduction of cost of living? Why no affordable public housing and universal health care benefits?

Why no unemployment insurances and no minimum wage?

Why no public accountability for budgetary excesses and national
security lapses?

Why no political freedoms and revocation of mandatory death penalty?

Why gamble with “casinos” after 40 years of ban?

Why do citizens remain merely as economic digits?

Why the condescending and cavalier attitudes towards opposition candidates when all are equals?

In the spirit of one united people, TC calls on fellow Singaporeans to reclaim our rights to decent work and living conditions, minimum wages for all, and right to sanctity of life. Grow a real economy that respects the rights of all workers and their families. It’s in our hands to re-think the Singapore system and vote to secure a first-world living standards for us and our families.

Come Polling Day, let’s vote for genuine political checks and balances (against one-party rule), vote for heartlanders’ representatives (not political elites parachuted) into government, and vote in a first-world parliament to secure a democratic society based on justice and equality.

Only then can we live a more meaningful life with dignity, joy and happiness, for all. Let’s secure our future together.

Mari la kita bersatu! Majulah Parliamen! Majulah Singapura!