SDP: By-election is must for PM’s moral authority

Singapore Democratic Party Press Release
13 December 2012

The Prime Minister cannot avoid calling for a by-election in Punggol East SMC without inflicting severe damage to his and his party’s political and moral standing.

Mr Michael Palmer resigned not just as a Member of Parliament but also as Speaker. His stepping down has left a gaping hole in the legislature that cannot be ignored or papered over. More importantly, voters of Punggol East have been badly let down and they deserve the opportunity to elect another representative.

For these reasons, PM Lee Hsien Loong must call an election in the constituency and soon.

Governance requires not just political but also moral authority. Without moral authority, the PM will find his power undermined and challenged from within and outside of his party. Singaporeans will lose even more confidence in his leadership and ability to take our country forward. The end-result is that our nation will go further in the wrong direction. A by-election is the only way that Mr Lee can stem the erosion of his moral authority.

Of course, Mr Lee is anxious to avoid elections especially at this time. For all his expressions of contrition and promises to make amends at the end of the last general elections, nothing has changed. It is nearly two years since the 2011 GE and Mr Lee’s broken promises are still fresh in the minds of Singaporeans:

Wages are still down, inflation is running up, HDB prices continue to escalate, public transport is still as crowded, healthcare costs remain as expensive as ever and the PAP is going ahead with its dangerous plan of bringing in more and more foreigners even though our country cannot sustain it.

Singaporeans are fed up. They want change. The SDP stands at the vanguard of change. We have advocated a series of alternative policy plans that have given our fellow Singaporeans a clear view of what that change looks like. We want:

  • Ministerial salaries to be brought down and pegged to the wages of the lowest 20 percent earners (see Ethical Salaries For A Public Service Centered Government),
  • The national budget to be re-prioritized to invest in education, SMEs and the needy (see Shadow Budget 2012: Securing Our Future),
  • To implement a single-payer system to make our hospitals and healthcare system non-profit making and affordable for everyone (see The SDP National Healthcare Plan: Caring For All Singaporeans),
  • To introduce Non-Open Market flats to make HDB prices affordable for our people (see Housing A Nation: Holistic Policies For Affordable Homes),
  • The Government to give Singaporeans priority in employment and stop forcing a 6.5 million population on our country by indiscriminately bringing in foreigners (see Singaporeans Come First).

The SDP has been working to raise the standard of opposition politics in Singapore and to be the party that Singaporeans are looking for: competent, constructive and compassionate.