In his Facebook post, DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam called on Singaporeans to “have confidence” in the present system of governance, adding, “You can count on PM Lee Hsien Loong and all of us in his team for that.”
To have confidence in the government, Singaporeans need transparency. So before the DPM asks for trust in Mr Lee Hsien Loong’s team, the PAP must first account for and explain:
1. Price hikes
Why the Government announced a slew of price hikes, including a drastic 30% increase in water fees, only after the 2015 general elections and at a time of economic uncertainty for the people.
2. Asset enhancement
Then PM Goh Chok Tong’s assurance in 1992 that HDB prices will “continue to rise” only to be told in 2017 by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong that prices will “come down” until the flats are eventually returned to HDB.
3. AGO report
The Auditor-General’s 2016 report that PAP Government lacked “principles of good governance and financial controls” which resulted in a large number of instances where there was a “breakdown in the controls.” This included the construction of a rubbish centre for $880,000.
4. GIC losses in UBS
The GIC’s loss of nearly $6 billion this year in its investment in UBS despite the SDP’s repeated warnings about the problems with the Swiss bank, and the subsequent refusal of the Government to account for the loss.
5. Elected Presidency
The sudden decision to change the rules – and the contorted reasoning for the change – to restrict candidacy for the EP after Dr Tony Tan nearly lost the election in 2015.
6. Hep-C outbreak
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong’s refusal to release correspondence such as emails, memos, minutes of meetings between officials at MOH and SGH over the Hepatitis C outbreak in 2015 as well as the refusal to openly identify the officers who were at fault and the penalties meted out to them.
7. Cracks in new MRT trains
The failure to inform the public of cracks in brand new MRT trains and the secretive nature of the way the trains were shipped back to China for repairs.
8. Deteriorating infrastructure
The Government’s inability to deal with constant breakdown of MRT services, HDB lift mishaps (which have caused death and injury), falling slabs of HDB blocks, and flooding of our roads whenever it rains heavily.
9. Productivity decline
The stagnant productivity levels despite the more than $20 billion the PAP Government has thrown at the problem. The situation has deteriorated to the point where PM Lee now admits that our economy has “maxed out” after easy gains in recent years.
10. Future economy
The lack of direction and rehash of old ideas from the Committee on the Future Economy despite the involvement of five ministers and one full year of work.
11. Online gambling
The introduction of online gambling despite widespread public objection.
12. Foreign labour
The continued influx of foreign workers despite falling job vacancies and increasing unemployment among Singaporeans.
13. China relations
The mishandling of relations with China leading to Mr Lee Hsien Loong’s exclusion from the OBOR summit in Beijing.
14. Zika and TB
The explosion of Zika infections and the increase in new cases of active TB in Singapore in 2016.
15. Money laundering
The discovery of money laundering in our financial system last year despite SDP’s warning since 2008 that Singapore was becoming a haven for tax evaders and money launderers.
16. Neptune Orient Lines
Mr Ng Yat Chung’s appointment as CEO of SPH despite his running aground the NOL (losing $1.5 billion in the process) and which resulted in the company being sold to the French CMA CGM in 2016. The new owners turned NOL’s fortunes around registering a US$26m-profit in less than one year.
17. Keppel and SembMarine
The deep financial troubles of Temasek-owned Keppel Corp and Sembcorp Marine amidst charges of corruption against the companies in Brazil following the bust in the oil-rig industry.
18. Shortage of engineers
How, after more than 50 years of uninterrupted PAP rule, Singapore now finds itself short of engineers, a situation which “poses a national risk”.
19. Ailing retail
The shuttering of retail shops and empty shopping centres. This is epitomised by a dying Orchard Road.
20. Closing of JCs
The controversial closing down of neighbourhood Junior Colleges in which MOE provided dubious reasons.
21. GIC/Temasek non-transparency
The non-transparent manner in which the GIC and Temasek Holdings are managed and the related issue of the retention of CPF funds through the Minimum Sum Scheme.
This list does not, of course, include the allegations of impropriety by Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang against PM Lee and his team which necessitates even more accountability. Mr Tharman’s call for confidence in the current administration is desperately misplaced.