“As for childcare centres, Mr Teo said these will be difficult to facilitate as they are no longer the representatives for the area.” – Channel Newsasia, 5 February 2013.
The above comment is made by Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Mayor, North East District – just as Parliament is debating the matter of our future population and how the welfare of Singaporeans are at the core of our government’s policies.
Mr Teo’s remarks also come on the same day that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Grace Fu said “marriage and parenthood is central to maintaining a strong Singaporean core.” One wonders why it would be “difficult to facilitate” the establishment of childcare centres in Punggol East, since the welfare and well-being of our children should not be subject to the political winds.
As a friend posted on my Facebook page:
There are a few contentious issues here for discussion when Teo says something like that.
1) Yes PAP didn’t win the ward and thus, has no mandate to shape the childcare facilities in Punggol East. But there should be nothing obstructing WP from collaborating with private child care operators or NTUC First Campus. Yet we all know that in reality, this is not going to happen.
2) Alternatively, being appointed as Chairman of Punggol East GRO, KPK could also mobilize Sparkletots (under the umbrella of PCF) or NTUC First Campus and work with WP, the elected party, to set up the much needed childcare services as well. Saying that they are now no longer able to facilitate to do so is simply playing political tactics.
When the welfare of our children is so callously subject to the whims and fancies of politicians and political parties, it is hard to believe the affirmation these politicians make about how parenthood is central to the Singaporean core.
It was thought that the ruling party had left behind its discriminatory practices of the past, of using sticks and carrots, of using threats of withdrawal of services from opposition wards. One would have thought that the recent fiasco over the AIM saga has taught the PAP a valuable lesson.
It now seems to want to withdraw establishing or at least not help to establish childcare centres in Punggol East, since the PAP’s candidate lost the by-election there.
It is such myopic, selfish and infantile attitudes and thinking which have left our politics mired in pettiness.
The PAP really needs to grow up and realise that if it continues to act in such a manner, it will be seen as a sore loser and this will further erode the support that the party has.
The PAP can be sure that behaving like this is not going to win it the support of parents who will need childcare support. Its behaviour only further gives credence to the perception that the government does not really care about Singaporeans but that it only cares about the numbers – digits – it needs to prop up GDP growth.
Indeed, such behaviour betrays all that is being said in Parliament by those such as Ms Fu.
It is a shame and a disgrace to all Singaporeans, and an affront to all parents that the PAP would treat the care and welfare of our children as a political tool to wield however it wants.
It makes a complete mockery of the government’s call for Singaporeans to have more children.
It is disgusting to exploit the burden which parents carry in providing care for their children.
Mr Teo should be ashamed of himself, and more so since he is also a minister and a mayor.
We Singaporeans should unequivocally condemn this sort of unbecoming behaviour, unworthy of those who would represent our country.
Our children – those innocent ones – certainly deserve better.
Dr Koh was portrayed as a family man, with his own children, during the by-election. He, more than anyone, should know that childcare must not be used for political purposes. One would therefore expect that he would be up in arms about this. But alas ....