The Singapore government has taken a simplistic view of the PAP’s electoral defeat in Punggol East with such weak reasoning as “byelections always put the ruling party at a disadvantage” and “local issues came under the scanner in the constituency.”
But if the PAP is not ready to dig deep and address the national issues behind public discontent then it may have to brace for worse setbacks at the 2016 General Elections.
Problems Aplenty: Most of the problems besetting Singapore can be pegged to one factor – overpopulation. This by itself is the result of the government’s lax immigration policies that have made it very easy for people to move here from overseas either for work or study.
It is precisely overpopulation that leads to:
- inflation / high cost of living
- spiralling property prices
- transport woes, traffic jams
- an infrastructure that is unable to cope with the surge
- inadequate varsity places for locals (with foreigners taking up the bulk of admissions to new institutions being set up through collaboration with prestigious global universities) and overall
- a worsening quality of life for residents
To cap it all, this is only bound to get worse as the government is bent on pushing population up to seven million by 2030. It was around 3.5 million about 20 years ago and it is now almost six million. A doubling of the population in less than 40 years (1990 to 2030) can only be dubbed inane, insane!
The government appears to be working on the logic that more people will mean more spending and more revenue, resulting in a better economy for the country. This may be true to some extent, but money will lose its significance if a poor quality of life is what people end up with.
Also, there is only so much tiny Singapore can take and cramming it with people has made it an overcrowded country with a failing infrastructure / support system –
- poor public transport
- substandard connectivity despite the government spending big on the next-generation broadband network
- unnecessary pressure on the health care system, and what not!
Try booking a taxi during peak hours, particularly when it rains! Your calls will automatically get disconnected, an indication that cab operators do not have the right systems in place to deal with high call volumes. Long waits for anything anywhere in Singapore are what the people have been left with because of a mindless growth in population.
The PAP has built Singapore to be a world-class city. Now, it will have to initiate steps to help the country retain the status, not to push it down from the pedestal!
G Joslin Vethakumar