Just when I was thinking that the Singapore government’s habit of suing people was a thing of the past, a blogger was at the receiving end recently. But what the government may not have bargained for is that Singaporeans rallied behind the blogger and helped him raise funds to deal with the case. Now author Catherine Lim has issued an open letter to the Prime Minister raising pertinent points on where the country is headed and questioning if the Government was “hardening its position and going back to the old PAP (People’s Action Party) reliance on a climate of fear.” It requires enormous courage to come up with such a stand – and when a person of the intellectual calibre of Catherine Lim dares to voice her opinion it carries credibility that the government cannot afford to ignore. It may not have touched on specific issues but then there was no need to do so as they will be obvious to the government. To me, the areas of concern are:
- Overpopulation – the country is way too crowded, affecting the high quality of life that Singaporeans enjoyed not too long ago.
- Jobs — Singaporeans, both fresh graduates and experienced ones, are going without jobs even as half-baked foreigners are imported in large numbers.
- Education – Singaporeans are losing out on places in prime courses in the local universities, forcing locals to move out of the country to study.
- Xenophobia – liberals warn of an anti-foreigner sentiment raring its head in the country. But, if this happens, the biggest victims will be Singaporeans themselves as the minority races among them can be easily targeted.
- Other issues – Restrictions on use of CPF/Medisave funds, worthless health insurance policies
And should the government be responsible for creating a xenophobic environment, if there is one, in a country that has been enjoying racial harmony over the years?
G Joslin Vethakumar