Why public transport fares should not be raised

By Dr Wong Wee Nam
28 July 2011

The issues at the General Election 2011 were the high cost of living, the income gap between the rich and the poor, the terrible public transport squeeze, the exorbitant HDB prices and the overpopulation of the country by foreign imports. With their votes, the people sent a clear signal what their dissatisfactions were. In a humble post-election display, the PAP admitted these were problems that needed to be looked into. It appeared that Singaporeans were finally going to see some real changes.

It did not take them too long to be disappointed.

Those who hoped for the better will need to take note of what Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said shortly after being elected. He told the media, “The election has been a good learning journey and at the strategic level, many PAP policies are right but their implementation and communication can be improved.”

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The Long Road to the Istana

My response to Tan Jee Say’s presidential bid

July 18, 2011 by · 29 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

Written by Ng E-Jay
18 July 2011

Last Friday morning, Mr Tan Jee Say, one of SDP’s star candidates in the 2011 general elections, announced his bid for the Elected Presidency. In his press statement released the same morning, Mr Tan said that the Government has lost its moral compass and that, as President, he will be “the conscience of the nation”.

Mr Tan Jee Say’s bid for the highest office in the land means that he could possibly be joining 3 other candidates, Dr Tony Tan, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, and Mr Tan Kin Lian, in the presidential polls this August. This is undoubtedly shaping up to the most hotly contested and closely watched presidential election since the constitution was amended in Singapore to have an Elected President.

It is encouraging to see more outstanding candidates join in the fray and give voters a genuine choice. Yet, it can also be argued that too many cooks spoil the broth, and too many candidates will split the vote. It would be disappointing if the Elected President is not voted in with a numerical majority (over 50%) as such an outcome could leave the nation potentially divided. I hope that no matter what the outcome, this presidential election will not be divisive for society.

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Tan Jee Say: Why I want to be President

July 15, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics, Media articles 

Press statement from Tan Jee Say
15 July 2011

Why I want to be President – To be the Conscience of the Nation

“I am stepping forward because many Singaporeans want a non-PAP President whose independence of the PAP is clear, obvious and cannot be in doubt. Only such a person can have the moral authority to fulfill the mission of Elected President which is to provide checks and balances on the PAP Government.

I am aware of the constitutional limitations of the office of President. But the office of President is what the President makes it out to be. He can be as quiet and inactive as he chooses to be. Or he can be active. I want to be an active President, engaging the nation on issues of conscience and promoting worthy causes. The PAP Government has lost its moral compass. A President directly elected by the people will have the moral authority to remind them of their lapses. He shall be the conscience of the nation. Only a person with moral courage and conviction can step up to this role.

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Soul of a Nation: Cost of living issues

July 12, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

Soul of a Nation series of articles examines issues close to the heart of Singaporeans pre and post-GE 2011.

Written by Ng E-Jay
12 July 2011

The rising cost of living was the hot topic for the 2006 general elections, alongside the influx of foreigners. Housing was not much of a problem in 2006 because the housing market had not gone into a bubble yet.

In the 2011 general elections, the rising cost of living was again the foremost topic on voters’ minds, according to surveys commissioned by the local mainstream media.

This worry appeared to have been spread across all income groups, but of course some groups felt hit the hardest. For example, in a survey carried out by TODAY, the majority of “sandwiched” class respondents comprising people who do not earn a high income, but who earn enough to be disqualified from receiving financial assistance from the government, said that the cost of living would influence how they would vote. [1]

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Dr Wong Wee Nam’s hike through the KTM railway

July 11, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Dr Wong Wee Nam 

Guidelines for the presidential election: PMO

July 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

STATEMENT FROM PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE

CAMPAIGNING FOR THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

1. In accordance with Article 17(3)(b) of the Constitution, the election of the President is to be held before the commencement of the new term of the President on 1 September 2011.

Guiding Principles for the Presidential Election

2. The form of a Presidential Election (PE) campaign should differ fundamentally from that of a General Election (GE) campaign given the different roles that the elected President and the elected government perform.

3. The process of getting elected to the office of President should be dignified and above the political fray. The elected President should have the status of a person who has the direct mandate of the people to perform an important national function on their behalf.

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Does the Singapore President have any real political power?

July 7, 2011 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

Written by Ng E-Jay
07 July 2011

The PAP cabinet in recent weeks has come out in strong force, to assert that the Elected President of Singapore is not a separate political sphere of influence.

Their motive is very clear. The PAP wants the Elected President (EP) to be nothing more than a ceremonial figurehead while the PAP still has an overwhelming grip on power. The late President Ong Teng Cheong tried to discharge his duties to the best of his abilities, but the PAP leadership found that they could not give him the required answers without exposing embarrassing truths about the PAP. The door to the EP repeating what Mr Ong did is now closed. The PAP executive will make sure that as long as they are in charge, no EP can again attempt what Mr Ong tried.

What is the point of having an Elected President if the executive branch of the PAP constantly restricts him and prevents him from exercising due diligence? This is one question that the current heated battle over the next Presidential election due in August this year cannot yet answer.

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GE 2011 — the Noise and Humour of Rallies

By Dr Wong Wee Nam
05 July 2011

“Humour is therapeutic and a lack of it could be a sign of mental illness.” — Sigmund Freud

A friend who stayed in US for nearly 40 years came back recently and observed that there is some change in the political climate of fear after the General Election 2011.

Another friend who had just come back from Australia also keeps hearing people telling him that things have changed.

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Why GST may be making our economy uncompetitive

July 4, 2011 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

Written by Ng E-Jay
04 July 2011

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Singapore is a value-added tax that was implemented in 1994, at a starting rate of 3%. Over the years, the GST rate steadily increased, to reach 7% in 2007. Had the opposition not put pressure on the ruling party, the GST may well have reached 10% after the conclusion of the recent general elections.

The government has argued that the usage of indirect taxation like GST allows personal income and corporate tax rates (direct taxation) to remain low, and this in turns keeps the economy competitive. Furthermore, the government has also argued that being a tax on consumption rather than on income, the GST encourages higher savings, which in turn leads to more available capital for productive investment.

How valid is this line of argument?

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