I was halfway through an article detailing some TFR policy suggestions and another one that tried to address productivity, but I guess there’s no point anymore. I might as well finish them later and hand them to some opposition party who isn’t going to try to solve Singapore’s future challenges by brute force.
So now our solution for the TFR problem is… just import lots of foreigners.
And our solution for the productivity problem is… just import lots of foreigners.
It’s much simpler that whatever I was going to suggest.
Never mind the fact that a whole bunch of economists and other policy specialists (including a few high-level former civil servants) have been trying to moderate the extremes of this White Paper, gently prodding parliament to rethink their course. Never mind that backbenchers like Inderjit Singh have asked their fellow PAP MPs to pause and solve existing problems before barrelling ahead with this plan. Never mind that PM gets all teared up trying to sell us this crazy scheme of his.
In the end, we see how the vote goes – not a single PAP MP dares (or is allowed to) cross the party line. So what if they have their own minds and voices? One thing that hasn’t changed over the years – if you’re in the PAP, the chances of you “making a difference from the inside” are close to zero. Sure, you’d get this amendment or that law passed for the marginal betterment of society, and your heart may be in the right place, but all that is doing is just sticking plasters over the bleeding arteries caused by policy decisions like this. Your voice when it matters? Forget it.
It wouldn’t even have been so bad if the paper had been passed without the PAP whip. Even if the PAP somehow engineered internally to have some vote against, yet ensure a majority, I would have said “fair enough, there’s some conscience in there”. But the PAP has just made puppets of some of its best backbenchers, and you never really can trust puppets, can you? I feel sorry for those guys.
That’s not to say that other parties didn’t (or won’t ever) use the whip. They have before, and will again, I’m sure. But they haven’t yet made a mockery of their collective consciences in the way the PAP has. Maybe I’d be inclined to give them a shot, as unproven as they are. It seems Singaporeans are thinking the same too – if recent elections and polls are anything to go by.