Thursday, 27 February 2014

Can Tharman’s Social Budget Save the PAP?

All things after 2011 that the PAP is engaging is for the next General Election, whether it is a social policy or budget. The PAP aims to maintain a 60% target share of votes in the next general election. To the PAP, a 60% share of votes is as comfortable as 75% or even 80% share of votes of the past.  They continue their no transparency no open disclosures of reserve, the CPF. They can also continue to ‘fix’ their political opponents as they wish like the past.  

This is why they believe in big coefficient in obtaining votes. Will it work?  For this, we may have to know the debate between big coefficient and the new reality (see below video).

Big coefficient means the PAP believes there is a strong (or big) causal relationship in obtaining or maintaining votes when they introduce policies benefitting some groups of voters, their votes can be increased or retained if voters are happy with these policies.  

It is also an evidence-based decision making process.  The PAP has all the data in their hand and they are good at mathematics. The PM wants to see the results and so the different ministries can easily give the projections of the votes retained or increased.

In a simple linear equation, the Big Coefficient by Citizens for the PAP looks like the followings:

Big coefficient of the PAP

Vote PAP =
Basic votes +

a%(senior citizens) +

b%(new citizens) +

c%(middle age citizens) +

d%(young voters) +

errors correction

The PAP has its support point. It can range from 35% to 45%, depending on the opponents.  However, it needs 50.1% to win but aiming a win/loss target of 50% is too dangerous and risky. Freak election can happen.  So, a safe margin is 60%.  Anything lower than 60% means there is no safety margin and will lead to a tipping effect: a big drop in votes as in the case of Punggol East by-election.

The 2014 social budget has been described as generous, social investment and its theme is “Opportunities for the Future, Assurance for Our Seniors”.  The first item in the big coefficient is senior citizens or pioneer generations.  By taking care of senior citizens, the PAP hopes to retain or even increase the votes in this group of voters. The big coefficient in new citizens is understandable.  These 2 groups add together may have 1 million voters, so if you consider total voters of 2.3 million, it is more than 40% of the total.

The budget also introduces affordable healthcare and promote social mobility through more education opportunities and assistances.  Middle age citizens with children or parents will be benefitted, especially those in the lower and middle income group.   The PAP wants to maintain the votes in this group and does not want it to drop further. This too is a big coefficient variable. They also have the most number of voters (considering the age group from 35 to 55).  

The only non-big coefficient item is young citizens.  If a young voter is a drinker plus smoker, he will be very unhappy with the budget. So do lower income smokers and drinkers. This is also the social media group. Hence, it may even be a negative coefficient.

The linear equation can also be income base.  It can be divided into very low, low, middle and high income groups. The budget is focusing on senior citizens, health care and education. It will benefit the very low, low and middle income citizens – the big coefficient in the eyes of the PAP.    

Big coefficient is always the mind of the PAP. Some big coefficient equations work very well in the past but are now not effective anymore.  For example, the GRC system, the fear of losing one or two ministers has helped to retain the votes for the PAP. The town management and the rubbish collection have also frightened many voters. Another one can be the bad mouth tactics and the control of mainstream media.  All these past big coefficients worked very well in the past but face diminishing return or not helpful anymore.   

The principle of the PAP is based on “no free lunch”. They are now moving to the left and claim to be socialists. Why are they doing this? Their model thinking tells them a social budget will lead to big coefficient effect and so they can maintain the voting share at 60%.

But is this a new reality? Is “Achieving quality growth and an inclusive society go hand in hand” as claimed in the budget a new reality?

New reality

It may not be fair to say that the PAP fails to recognise the new reality.  They have introduced SG Conversation. They even try to engage in social media. They try to build more HDB flats and cool down the property market. It looks like they can’t find the big coefficient in the Conversation and in the Internet. Hence, they have to go back to the tradition way – media control, social mobility and basic healthcare, education, targeted wages, and caring the olds.

So what really is the new reality? Some may not even emerge.  Social media can be one.  The population issue, the employment issue, the HDB issue even the frequent breakdown of MRT can also be a new reality. The strike, the riot and the FT (foreign talents) issue are also possible new realities.

People’s expectation is changing and external environment can also contribute to the new reality.  Thailand, Ukraine, Malaysia and many other events outside Singapore are giving confusing realities.  But if a conflict can be solved by voting in a peaceful way, why don’t Singaporeans give it a try?  These external realities may help or hurt the PAP.  The recent PAP’s strong reaction on the naming of Indonesia navy ship shows they also want to try the new reality.  The new low ranking of press freedom in Singapore is another proven reality of media control here.

Some new realities may even come from the social budget.  For example the health care for pioneer generations, it looks like they will pay nothing. However, MediSheild is a co-finance insurance scheme.  We need to know more details and how it works.  Perhaps, all the realities of the social budget in 2014 and 2015 will only be revealed after the next General Election.

Technical or behavior  

Big coefficient vs. new reality can also be seen as technical analysis vs. behavior-led outcome. In economics or finance, there is now more awareness of the role of behavior (e.g. psychology) in predicting economic performance or stock market movements.

A change or sudden change of behavior is just like the new reality. We are not able to predict and forecast the new reality or behavior accurately in advance.  For the PAP, the best hope is still big coefficient and technical analysis. This model has past evidence to support and can be calculated within the box.

For the oppositions, it is new reality and behavior that will give them a breakthrough.  The lower the basic supporting interception, the more new realities and behavior changes are needed.

So, what do you think? Can the election budget save the PAP? Is 60% still a reality? If not, what will be the new reality?  



Thursday, 20 February 2014

交接不清真严重 推理结果更可怕


总审计署已经被委任审计阿裕尼后港市镇会的账目,为何只是单单审计2012/2013, 而不是之前行动党管理时的账目呢?难道,如果审计以前的账目,就可能出现王鼎昌做总统时,要求看国家储备那样,需要52个人年来调查吗?



行动党账目交接不清真的是一件很严重的事。就像会计师学会会长所说的一样,审计报告出现这么多disclaimers, 真的是严重。会长很可能是一个短视的人,他只看到disclaimers,而没有看到背后的原因。如果一笔账,只看眼前的问题,而不追究背后原因,这间公司一定有问题。或许,会长和他的Big ThreeBig Four就是这样做审计工作。



市镇会交接不清是很严重,但是,如果和国家机构,公积金,外汇储备相比,那可是小巫见大巫了,因此,推理的结果将会让人心惊胆跳,害怕,真相出现后将是恐怖的一幕。



推理是要有根据的,让我们从做账开始。



(让我们先听一首乐曲,清醒一下思路)




Closing balances and Opening balances


除非是一间新公司,不然开始的账目一定不是零头。因此,


Closing balances 上期余额
Opening balances 本期余额



如果你在月底收到银行的余额账目,看到上期和本期不一样,你就会向银行询问,银行就有责任向你解释。如果你是小股东,发现两个余额不一样,你也一样可以提问。不然,你可以受到欺骗报警。在独立审计师给阿裕尼后港市镇会的报告中,列在第一位的就是Opening balances不对路#1。因此,工人党在接手时,就要求提供Opening balances的资料,以便可以继续在“Closing balances 上期余额 = Opening balances 本期余额”的情形下,继续做账。


Accounting and Auditing


如果“Closing balances 上期余额不等于Opening balances 本期余额”怎么办,就只能假设这个数目是对,继续做账下去。在报纸上,我们有时可以看到,一些收购项目不成功,就是因为这两个余额不一样,大家对余额的看法不一样。买的一方害怕吃亏,余额如果不是真的实际的余额,买的人就要吃大亏了。



但是,这是市镇管理,一天都不能停止,人民选了你工人党,就是吃亏也要做下去。因为,选举的当天,选举官已经宣布你是中选人,你就是负责管理市镇的人。因此,作为老百姓,我们只看到行动党和工人党的交接,报纸新闻怎么报道,我们就信以为真。除了市镇管理的交接外,财务的交接更为重要和严重。工人党在交接的过程中,所吃的亏和苦,外人是很难理解的。



上期余额和本期余额不相等,会出现什么问题?这可是一个严重的问题。这表示公司的薪金开支,营运收入,营运开支,折旧,等等都很可能出现不对等的问题。如果这些账目余额出现不对等,就可以严重到抵触法律,在税务,公积金缴交方面出现不对等的呈报。当然,如果是上市公司,也会影响到它的股价,红利分配等。



因此,“Closing balances 上期余额 = Opening balances 本期余额”的问题,是非常严重的。搞不好是要有官非的。



回到会计和审计的问题上,一般上小公司自己做账,有限公司就要有独立公共的审计师来审计。大公司自己做账外,还有本身的内部审计师,然后才交给外部独立审计师来审计。即使非盈利机构,也有内部的查账来处理。或许,大家可以参考一下城市教会的官司,进一步了解会计和审计的工作范围。


Back dating and adjustments


公司本身的会计把账交给审计前,自己一般也会先检查一下,什么地方漏了什么,什么地方多报了,就会自我调整。审计师在审计的过程中,也会给予意见,建议,如何做调整,哪些地方需要修改,哪些地方需要补票,哪些地方不要报这么多,或者这么少。总之,整盘账在交给当局前,会有Back dating 事后孔明修改的机会。



在这一方面,也没有存在犯不犯法的问题。政府在发表数据时,经济数据,贸易数据,还是金融数据,有时也会在事后做出修正,修改。就像下面这条新闻一样:数据错误影响贸易数字倾向。
Data errors skewed trade figures#2
经过调整,修改后,这么一来,这盘账,就会合符法律法令的规定,你只要上网到阿裕尼后港市镇会的常年报告上,就可以看到,Established under the Town Council Act. 因此,公司有公司法,市镇会有市镇会的法令。做账审计就是要根据这些法令来进行。如果,没有根据法令走,审计师为了自己的专业,为了维护法令的精神,就要提出Disclaimers 表示本身对账目不对等,不合理的地方有意见。这就是为何阿裕尼后港市镇会出现13Disclaimers#1 的原因了。



解释了做账的过程和法令规定后,我们来进行三个严重可怕的推论:



One 行动党没有预料败选,来不及做Back dating

阿裕尼集选区在选前,大家都认为行动党的胜算比较大,最多只是一场五五波。但是,一旦败选,市镇管理落入工人党,很多事后孔明的事情,都不好正面的做。市镇管理人员更是人心惟危,一下子没有了行动党“精神领袖”,账目也不知道要怎么处理,调整。



因此,就出现了不对等的 Closing balances 上期余额 = Opening balances 本期余额”。如果,像一般公司或者社团,可以有三个月,六个月,甚至还可以要求延长呈报,这个事后孔明的情形就容易办的多了。

可惜,这是政治,当天落选,当天你就失去管理市镇的权力。人民的力量就是要你马上交出政权,管理权。情理上可以通融延迟交出管理,法律上你已经没有这个权力了。阿裕尼选民已经否决行动党的市镇管理权。



Two 市镇账目交接不清,国家机构,储备不是更不清楚吗?

王鼎昌前总统在几十年前,就有这个担心,因此,他要求总审计长让他知道外汇储备到底有多少?贵为总统的他,没有获得答案,当然,一般老百姓更加不可能知道。当时,总审计长所给的答案是这需要大约52人年#352个人年才能算清楚外汇储备?是不是有很多事后孔明要做?



公积金局,淡马锡,政府投资公司的账目,他们所呈报的数据,网上都一直有讨论。对于行动党来说,这些讨论都不成立,总审计署会很公开透明的执行他们的任务。但是,作为政府内部的审计师,他们会不会也建议,提议政府对一些数据提出修改,做些事后孔明的事情呢?



国家的储备,淡马锡,政府投资公司,公积金局等,现在当然不可能出现不对等的“Closing balances 上期余额 = Opening balances 本期余额”的问题,因为这些会计和审计的工作,都是行动党政府一手包了,别人插不上手。即使有,也可以很容易的事后孔明一番。



Three 依靠人民力量 看清账目



如果要插上手,唯一的方法就是依靠人民的力量。就像阿裕尼后港市镇管理一样,要来一个措手不及,当天落选当天就失去政权,要想做事后孔明也来不及了。2011总统选举,对行动党来说,真的是吓出冷汗,只差一步就来不及事后孔明了。



下一次大选,会不会出现上期和下期余额不对等的现象呢?当然很有可能, 尤其是哪些一直认为会连选连任的集选区,信心越高就没有想到事后孔明的准备。而选民的力量,已经能够感觉到多失去几个集选区的可能性。但是,这还是不够。无法让人民看到国家储备,公积金的真相。或许,真相一打开,全国人民都被这恐怖一幕,吓晕了。



行动党已经没有道德勇气公开化透明化审计国家和外汇储备,而如果人民想要看清楚还有多少公积金,多少储备,淡马锡和政府投资公司赚多少亏多少,就要自我觉醒的以选票的力量给行动党一个措手不及,让它来不及事后孔明。



像阿裕尼后港市镇会的只是审计一个2012/2013年度的账目,就以面概全,就容易达到错觉人民,误导人民的目的。这就像看病,只看现状,不考虑生理,病理,生活习惯,衣食住行一样。



王鼎昌以道德勇气提出要看储备账目,但是,他毕竟是一个人,一个人的道德勇气哪里抵得住行动党的强权。因此,唯有人民通过选票的力量才能让国家储备的真相见光。阿裕尼后港市镇会账目,只是一个开始,好戏还在后头呢!



(让我们冷静一下,听听小提琴的“月亮代表我的心”,汇集力量)



#1
http://www.ahpetc.sg/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Annual-Report-2012-2013.pdf

#2
http://mypaper.sg/business/data-errors-skewed-trade-figures-20140120


#3

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powers_of_the_President_of_Singapore#Differences_between_Government_and_first_directly_elected_President

Friday, 14 February 2014

Paper Generals Fail to Recognize the Role of Military in Indonesia

Our million-dollar and paper general ministers need to know more about the history and role of military in Indonesia. Ministers speaking on the naming issue of an Indonesian navy ship have exposed themselves their ignorance in history and military as a key institution in some countries.

In our ASEAN region, the role of military in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and of course, Indonesia and the Philippines is or was an important pillar in maintaining social orders and stability (no matter we like it or not, whether they are right or wrong).

In the Muslin world, we also see the traditional role of military in nation-state building of Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq and even the troubled Syria.

The role of military is a unique feature of institution in some countries, including Indonesia. This is especially true when the civil institutions are weak, fail to deliver and build up the nation. The military in this case is the only institution due to its discipline can hold the country together.  Just a little hint, more than 100 Indonesian ‘disciplined’ military personnel as a bloc are absent from the Singapore Airshow.  

This is why we always hear that there may be a military coup in Thailand due to the recent political crisis. The military in Turkey thinks they have a duty to remind the civilian administration their role in nation building. So do the military in Pakistan and Egypt.

The military as an institution has to keep their promises and position themselves as a protector of the nation. Even though they may make mistakes in the past, for example military coups, they still maintain their position and continue their role that they think is right. These promises include honouring the dead soldiers as shown in the case of Japan (further discussion later) have become a tradition.  

So when Sukarno as a military leader ordered the two marines to plant the bombs at MacDonald House, even his opponent Suharto cannot deny the contributions of the two marines to the Indonesian military.  So, despite differences, from Sukarno to Suharto, the two camps in the Indonesian military still have to agree with the sacrifice of the two marines. Leadership changed hands but the military continues as one institution and honour its promise.

So when the marines become heroes, the role of military as one voice has to recognise this fact.  And they had demanded Singapore to do some things:
[“Singapore had considered this difficult chapter in the bilateral relationship closed in May 1973 when then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew visited and scattered flowers on the graves of the two marines,”] #1


It is not clear whether scattered flowers are a way to recognise the two marines as heroes or just a good will gesture.   Each side may have different interpretations and Indonesian military would also have its own reading.  This perhaps has become the tradition interpretation of the military. Not to forget even current President Yudhoyono who is linked to the military cannot break this tradition.   

When Lee Kuan Yew agreed to scatter flowers, he too has his interpretation.  Why this understanding was not transferred to the paper generals who supposed to have a better military understanding and reading?  

How about Japanese occupation
  
The MacDonald House bombing happened when the PAP was in power. How about the killings during Japanese Occupation? The PAP seems to have different memories.

Singapore remains silent whenever Japanese leaders pay their respects at Shinto shrine. Prime Minister Abe told reporters in late 2013: 
["I prayed to pay respect for the war dead who sacrificed their precious lives and hoped that they rest in peace," ]#2
We are concern and dismay on the naming of the Indonesian war ship. And we don’t have any feeling about the killing during the Japanese occupation. If you are part of Indonesian military, what will be your reading?  

Singapore’s position at the two killings (MacDonald House and World War II) is contradicting. If we oppose the naming of the Indonesian war ship, we should also oppose the visit of shrine visits by Japanese leaders. Is this because Japan is a bigger economy than that of Indonesia? Is this because the British as colony master has a duty to answer to the World War II dead in Singapore and not the PAP?  I would like to leave this to your imagination and judgement!

Quality of our ministers

5 Singapore million-dollar and paper-general ministers have commented on the war ship naming. Now comparing their comments with their Indonesian counterparts, I don’t see their arguments or debates better than their counterparts.

They are of course very happy to see the commentary of Jakarta Post that seems to be on their side and calling the naming an insensitive act.  Is our silent on killings during Japanese occupation sensitive or insensitive? Maybe we always like to choose the easier route and choose the area of our responsibility?

If the PAP thinks the social media and Internet are irresponsible, what about their own ministers on the naming issue? They thought they could score political points by ‘defending’ Singaporean interests. Unfortunately, their arguments are so weak and unintelligent (I hope readers do have time to read the comments on both sides).

We have to acknowledge that Indonesia is a big country with big population. A certain percentage of their population is smarter than us and receives much less than a million dollar salary. We have to be humble and accept the fact of history, the role of military of other countries. Our ignorance of historical fact will make us weak in defending Singaporean interest. A better understanding and appreciation of history will strengthen our positions and debates.

So, do Singapore ministers need an urgent course on history, on constitutions, on press freedom? Perhaps the most urgent one is on political competition as they will face more demanding voters and stronger opponents.  Understanding the past history of political competitions and the monopoly role of the PAP may help them a bit.  But will they take up the history lesson when they already have their millions?

#1
http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/singapore-registers-concerns-over-indonesian-navy-ship-20140206

#2
http://news.yahoo.com/japanese-prime-minister-visits-yasukuni-war-shrine-025340271.html


Monday, 10 February 2014

后李时代的权威挑战和宪法挣扎


李光耀又再一次入院出院了,有人欢喜有人愁 ,有人害怕有人认为机会来了。 无论如何,新加坡将进入一个不同的权威时代,不同诠释宪法的时代,更是一个考验我们道德勇气的时代。

建国以来的强权权威,一党独大的优势,将面对透明度的挑战,公开化的要求,过去的行事作风将面临改变。怎么个改法,行动党要如何顺应民意?人民的要求又是什么?现在只是开始,还在启蒙,还在酝酿中,底牌还未打开。

更加严格的检测政府组织

或许,我们从最近的几条新闻来看看,行动党和民意的误差有多大:

【陈清木接受道歉又公开 林瑞生表惊讶】(news.omy.sg
在行动党看来既然大家私下解决了误会,就可以向以前那样,把不要见光的新闻掩盖起来。因此,林瑞生表惊讶, 他是怪陈清木公开消息,还是惊讶自己连这样小的事情都摆不平。为何不能像从前那样喜欢封闭消息就封闭呢?

Dr Koh heats up air-con debate(mypaper.sg)
徐宝琨在讨论学校的冷气问题时,认为我们不应该为了追求公平,而导致上面(有钱有能力)的人利益受损。事实上,他的说法是延续李光耀的冷气论,你有能力又负担的起,就尽管开冷气吧!但是,世界已经进入节能时代,资本主义的发展已经大大加大贫富距离,如果我们只是考虑到老子有钱,像从前那样爱怎么花,就怎么花,而不考虑温室效应,而不考虑社会价值,那人类的将来将是一个未知数。除非徐宝琨有钱到能够移民外星。行动党还有多少没有认清政治现实的候选人?
这只是两则比较小的新闻,2011年大选过后,人民对政府的公信力,起了更大的怀疑,对政府的行政组织能力效率也更加不满。地铁,小印度,外汇储备,公积金,医药卫生,组屋等等,人民都有更加严格的要求。这使到过去利用强权建立起来的威信,可信度面对很大的挑战,总之,不论这些挑战是有理还是无理,行动党政府都要小心处理,处理的不好,民意支持度就会再次下降。

事实上,马炎成已经承认行动党只得60分,而一个只有60分的党,却要霸占90%以上的国会议席,怎么可能不面对更加严格的挑战呢!所以,要维持过去那样的绝对国会优势,政府的绝对威权,国家组织的威信,将是一个很大的挑战,而挑战也变得防不胜防了。你如何确保地铁不停车,如何确保没有罢工,没有暴动,失业不增加,贪污舞弊不发生。

不论将来谁做政府,新加坡如果要继续前进就只有更加的透明,更为公开,把事实说清楚,才能赢得人民的信任,重新获得国家组织机构应有的权威。行动党必须承认无知,承认不是天下第一。样样事情都能,都会,已经是行动党的过去式了。因为没有强权,没有强人,行动党也将也不可能霸道到不会的,做错的,都说成对的,有理的。

缺少了强权政治,新加坡的国家机器和政府组织,将如何维持威信,如何获得人民的支持和信任,这不只是行动党,反对党的挑战,更加是国人的挑战。这些组织又如何摆脱行动党的强权阴影,独立透明公开的行使宪法赋予的任务?

更加合理的诠释宪法精神

我国的宪法是从英国殖民地那里延续下来的。在过去几十年强权政治下,在一党独大的国会里,宪法的修改是很容易的一件事。好的对行动党有利的就保留下来,并且发扬光大,例如,内安法,原本用来对付恐怖分子,当然也可以延伸到对付政敌。好些在行动党看来不完善,在法庭上有可能对政府不利的法律法令,也可以加以修改,不管有没有违背宪法精神,违背人权,总之,国会里行动党有超过三分二议席,没有人能够阻止强权政治通过它想要通过的法案。

因此,有一段日子,你可以看到国外的报纸出版物在超市里面卖,而不用给对方版权费。当然,修改选举制度,随意划分选区,更是强权政治的象征。但是,不论怎么改,只要一人一票,随着选民认知的提高,这个修改后的宪法还是要面对竞争,还是要挣扎以适应环境和选民的要求。

过去一两年,我们看到更多的人要求法庭诠释宪法的精神,法律法令的真正内涵,意义。同性恋,内安法,犯人的法律权利保障,甚至后港应该不应该补选,都要通过法庭来诠释。

Singapore's youngest MP grows up】(mypaper.sg

新加坡最年轻的的议员长大了。是谁利用纳税人的钱帮助行动党的陈佩玲长大的?是谁利用选举制度的漏洞把国会当成培训中心?是谁喜欢让谁培训就让谁培训?

当然,行动党当初修改选举制度时,一定以为是包吃的榴莲,就像陈佩玲那样,要让她有培训机会,就制造一个集选区让她上场。偏偏这个榴莲没有包吃,这个制度使到行动党资深议员落选,国家失去了经历老练的领袖。

这几乎和国家的宪法精神背道而驰。选举制度就是要选出最好的人才,或者最愿意为人民服务的议员。集选区制度并没有做到这点,反而成了行动党的所谓‘议员培训制度’。

同样的,总统选举制度,也未必能够确保行动党认可的候选人中选。因为,人民要选出一个符合宪法意义的人民总统,而不是一个行动党色彩的总统。这个挣扎在2011总统选举中特别明显。这点倒是人民的眼光比行动党看得远,国人读懂宪法,而要还原总统选举的制衡作用。


强权政治的结果出现了国家机器的威严,权威受到挑战,国人对这些组织有新的要求,并且更加勇于提出质疑,它们的独立性,透明度,公开度。与此同时,教育程度的提高,网际网络,社交媒体的普遍性,国人对宪法精神也有更深的认识和多方面的讨论。这对提升新加坡有所帮助,但对行动党来说,失去强权政治,未来的路将更加困难,甚至是一条不归路,霸气已失,民意不在,路何在?

Monday, 3 February 2014

NEA vs. AHPETC: Political Adventure or Political Suicide

From assembly without permit to organisation trade fair without licence, the PAP government once again wants to show its establishment might. It even wants to right and guide the political development here: if the opposition town council is in the wrong side of the law, the institutions have the right to correct it and bring it to the court. Will this work in the new political norm with a better informed voters?

For the recent NEA vs. AHPETC#1, the PAP is taking a political risk that there are no gains but loses. In the 'assembly without permit' era, it had an upper hand as the media was under PAP control and people have few access to alternative news and views. Furthermore, most people listen to the PAP side of the story and were more willing to give the 'benefit of doubts' to them in exchange for economic prosperity. Unfortunately, this 'give and take' model has gone. Voters are more calculative now and good jobs are not easy to get.

However, in the era of social media and new norm in politics, using the same old bottle to contain the new political movement is an outdated model. The model works very well in the past will not guarantee another success for the PAP. If NEA wins the case, it just shows the high hand of the PAP but no high return in votes. It shows the bully side of the PAP. Not to mention if NEA loses the case.

Just imagine the case of Singapore institutions vs. JBJ, voters still wanted to vote him in. If a bankrupt can stand for election in Singapore, voters will still give JBJ the chance.

So, why does the PAP want to engage in this political adventure? It looks like a non-brainier committing a political suicide. Perhaps, PAP MP Baey Kam Seng gave an indirect answer when he told a group of NUS students that “ this is the system here”.#2 The system works well for the PAP and so why doesn't the PAP continue to do it, be it an illegal assembly or an unlicenced trade fair?

This shows how ignorance the PAP is. They fail to catch up with the time and changes. They still think 'the system' can be used and re-used forever.

If PA has a close relationship with the PAP, so do NEA and the PAP. Let's see how MP Baey explains it:

[Responding, Mr Baey acknowledged that some feel the close ties between the PA and PAP are unfair. But while the system may have “evolved or may be planned for certain objectives and motives”, what matters at the end is how it can be used to benefit people. “At the end of the day, does the CCC serve the people? It has to serve the people,” he said. ] #2

MP Baey brings out a tall order: serving the people. PA is serving the people even though it is political connected with the PAP, so do the NEA.

Here, I want to refer to my previous post of 'Institutional Challenges and Constitution Struggles'. PA, NEA and other government agencies are facing the institutional challenges. They should restrict themselves in serving the people and not involve in party politics. If they continue to act like the past, they will do more damages to Singapore as well as to the PAP. The PAP needs to learn new skills to engage Singaporeans rather than overly depending on 'strong institutions'. There is a day the 'over used system' will bring more harms than goods to the PAP.

In fact, the strong institutions have to have strong support from the people. And the meaning and enacting of the Constitution needs the backing of the people. The official representatives of people will debate and enact the meaning of the Constitution in Parliament. We have seen more oppositions MPs now. We are going to see more as MP Baey acknowledged the PAP only scored 6 out of 10. At least 4 out 10 have to go to the oppositions to debate and enact the meaning of 'illegal assembly' and 'unlicenced trade fair'.

Will people agree with the interpretation of 'this is the system here'? In fact, the system has already changed since GE2011 and PE2011. According to MP Baey, the PAP is only entitled for 60% of parliamentary seats if based on proportional representation. However, they have already had more than their share. Why do they still need to rely on 'strong institutions' to protect their legitimacy?

Singapore Constitution has yet to show its spirit and new meaning. It is inherited from the colonial time and is derived from the Constitution of the State of Singapore 1963, provisions of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia made applicable to Singapore by the Republic of Singapore Independence Act 1965 (No. 9 of 1965, 1985 Rev. Ed.), and the Republic of Singapore Independence Act itself. #3

For example,
Article 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, specifically Article 14(1), guarantees to Singapore citizens the rights to freedom of speech and expressionpeaceful assembly without arms, and association. However, the enjoyment of these rights may be restricted by laws imposed by the Parliament of Singapore on the grounds stated in Article 14(2) of the Constitution.#4

The mindset of 'this is the system here' does a disservice to the original meaning of the Constitution. We need more oppositions or even a change of government to correct this mindset.



#1
http://www.singapolitics.sg/news/town-council-taken-court-organising-fair-without-licence

#2
http://www.singapolitics.sg/news/four-highlights-young-guns-forum

#3

#4

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_14_of_the_Constitution_of_Singapore