Monday, January 23, 2006

Workers' Party's Manifesto

In anticipation of an impending General Elections, the Workers' Party unveiled its manifesto on 14 Jan 2006. Unable to find the information on their site, the main gist of the manifesto is as follows:
- abolish all Resident Committees and Citizen Consultative Committees
- remove policies that have fostered Singapore's multiracial society
- abolish the Elected Presidency
- more subsidies for the needy

The ruling party, People's Action Party, has given point-by-point rebuttals to the manifesto.

I am not that much of a political person and I see that the Workers' Party manifesto has both its pros and cons.

Abolishing RCs and CCCs which are working to benefits residents does not appear to be a good idea. However, we must also remember that such grassroots organisations do tend to have political inclinations and they are dominated by supporters of the ruling party. One that frequently pops up is the Potong Pasir Citizens Consultative Committee, advised by Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, when the Member of Parliament for the ward is actually Mr Chiam See Tong. It appears to me that this is more of a political move than anything else.

Removal of policies that have fostered our multiracial society should be Singapore's goal in the long term. Only when our people are able to live in harmony without the existence of such policies can we then truly call ourselves a multiracial society. However, as it stands today, in the short 40 years history of Singapore, while there is no overt racism or such and we are much more tolerant than many of the so-called democracies and first world countries, a certain degree of racism does still exist in certain corners. Catch people during their private conversations and we still do find racist comments being passed at times although no real harm is being intended.

Elected Presidency. No idea, no comments.

Should we dole out more subsidies for the needy? Singapore is a very small country and there is not much we can fall upon except for the talent of our people. It will be essential that we do not tread the path to becoming a welfare state. There is no way Singapore can sustain a welfare society without a rich hinterland and in the face of increasing competition from everyone around us. I believe that the needy should be helped but help them to help themselves... Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for life.

It will be interesting to know exactly how the Workers' Party is going to fight the General Elections on this manifesto. Maybe when more details are provided, I may adopt a different opinion on these matters...

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