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Best Speech Ever in a long while - Inderjit

Discussion in 'The Political / Serious Zone [no rep deductions]' started by scroobal, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. scroobal

    scroobal Alfrescian Old Timer

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    I am sure we are all puzzled, amazed and gobsmacked that it came from Inderjit, a dyed in the wool PAP man. The fact that he is deputy whip says where his heart lies. Yet this came from him. The other interesting thing is that he has always been noted for looking after SMEs and entrepreneurs as he is one and the the ones who will be impacted if the Govt withdraws are these people who depend significantly on cheap labour.

    Are we looking at another Tan Soo Khoon, who opened up with both barrels when he stepped down as speaker.

    Of all the speeches that was against the govt on the white paper, this one takes the cake by a mile. It was not your normal politician speech. It went straight to the guts of the issue and what Singapore means to Singaporeans.

    It also shows that people who can put across robust counter arguments are in PAP and we need to look harder to convince such people to join the opposition.

    Being a skeptic of anything that PAP says, I was looking for some angle or some reason to suggest that it could mean something else. I could not find anything to suggest that there is an ulterior motive behind this unusual candour.
     
  2. TracyTan866

    TracyTan866 Alfrescian (Inf)

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    will the Party Whip be lifted when Parliament takes a vote on this issue?

    If it is not lifted, will Inderjit have the guts to vote against the motion?

    so let's see what he does next
     
  3. GOD IS MY DOG

    GOD IS MY DOG Alfrescian (Inf)

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    don't tell me a Singh will commit political suicide ?.....................LOL

    all part of the script.................
     
  4. TracyTan866

    TracyTan866 Alfrescian (Inf)

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    Yes, could be part of PAP's ploy to lure Singaporeans into being less against the White Paper. Words mean nothing.

    Despite what each MP say, let's see how their votes go.

    Action speaks louder than words.
     
  5. scroobal

    scroobal Alfrescian Old Timer

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    The damage has been done, the vote is a formality unless the whip is lifted. It is not uncommon to have speeches contrary to the vote in a democratic setup.
     
  6. scroobal

    scroobal Alfrescian Old Timer

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    This is his last term, nothing to lose. Unlike people like Chandra Das who from the start depended on glc such intraco and NTUC, this guy worked for an american company before starting his own business.


     
  7. TracyTan866

    TracyTan866 Alfrescian (Inf)

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    Didnt TCB once voted against the motion even though the Whip was not lifted?
     
  8. scroobal

    scroobal Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Yes he did. On the NMP scheme. He was disciplined by the party. He could do it as his margin in an SMC is huge and had been repeatedly voted into CEC by the party faithfuls, outperforming some of the ministers.

     
  9. TracyTan866

    TracyTan866 Alfrescian (Inf)

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    This White Paper is an obvious sham, devoid of substance.

    If Inderjit is so convicted, shdnt he do a TCB on this vote? I will have great respect for him
     
  10. ray_of_hope

    ray_of_hope Alfrescian Old Timer

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    A parliamentary speech is only any good if in it the speaker has indicated how he/she is going to vote irrespective of the party line.
     
  11. watchman8

    watchman8 Alfrescian Old Timer

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    He may be eyeing presidency after stepping down from parliament.
     
  12. TracyTan866

    TracyTan866 Alfrescian (Inf)

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    I believe that a real and selfless leader will vote with his conscience on this White Paper regardless of whether the Whip is lifted. I am hoping that the pap has the courage to let this issue be referred to the people
     
  13. Goh Meng Seng

    Goh Meng Seng Alfrescian (InfP) [Comp] Old Timer

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    Yes, I have to agree with you on this one Scroobal. I was just PM to a friend on the perspective that PAP should solve the present problems caused by the present over-population first before we talk about further population growth and then, people gave me a link to his speech... superb but there are more could be included... shall deal with that later..Here is his speech:

    Speech by Mr Inderjit Singh,
    MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC

    On the White Paper on Population

    Madam Speaker, thank you for allowing me to join the debate on the White Paper on Population.

    While the report has some compelling arguments for the 6.9m population figure projected, we all know it is based mainly on economic considerations. Had we focused on things like building a cohesive nation with a strong national identity, the outcome would likely be very different.

    I feel the time has come for us to find a better balance between economic growth and social cohesion and yes there will have to be tradeoffs of economic growth but I would rather trade some of these for a cohesive, united nation where people feel taken care of at home and are confident of their future. I am not saying we go for low or no growth. Instead I am willing to adjust my growth expectations for a more comfortable life for all Singaporeans. I am confident we will still be able to pursue respectable economic growth when companies and Singaporeans are faced with a situation of tightened labour availability by focusing on improving ourselves through productivity and higher value capabilities. Finland and other small nations have done, we can do it too.

    Our past decade of rapid population growth has already created too many problems which need to be solved first before we take the next step. I call on the government to take a breather for five years, solve all the problems created by the past policies of rapid economic and population growth. We can safely say that we have failed to achieve the goal set by the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, of a Swiss standard of living for most Singaporeans, except for the higher income Singaporeans including foreigners who just recently decided to make Singapore their home. So I call for a breather in this quest of growing the population and focus on improving the lives of Singaporeans and achieve that promised Swiss Standard of living for most Singaporeans first before we plan our next growth trajectory.

    Taking Care of the Singaporean Core
    I have a big issue with the number of PRs and new citizens we are planning to add to our population. I don't see the necessity to be as aggressive when the key consideration of the population growth is the economy. We have already added too many new citizens and PRs and need time for integration and social cohesion to happen. Looking at history, our population grew from around 2.4m in 1980 to 3m in 1990 and then to 4m in 2000, reaching 5.3m last year. Just looking at the resident population alone, we grew the numbers from 2.3m in 1980 to 2.7m in 1990, 3.3m in the year 2000 and then to 3.8m last year. So in the last decade we added more than 1m to the resident population, and the in last 25 years, which is close to 1 generation of Singaporeans, we have added another close to 50% more to our resident population. I believe this must be the fastest rate of population growth in the world and I feel this is just too much for us to comfortably go back and build a national identity and social cohesion which was progressing very well till the 1990s. Adding another 500,000 to 800,000 more PRs and citizens as proposed by the white paper will be disastrous and add to our already difficult infrastructure and social problems.

    If it is economic growth we want then let's just adopt the Dubai model of a transient workforce which will give us a lot more flexibility to manage numbers in the longer term. On PRs, today we already have too many of them and they are enjoying full citizen privileges without the citizens' responsibilities. For example;
    - Far too many PR boys who skip NS when they turn 18. After enjoying the privileges they have a choice of not doing NS and then leave the country. I believe only around 30% of all PR boys do NS today. Well, our Singapore sons don't have a choice but to do NS, it is an office not to do it.
    - PR children study at their International system schools sticking to their home cultures.
    - PRs can buy HDB flats from the open market driving prices of HDB flats too high.

    So I urge the government to reduce the number of projected new PRs and citizens just to the population replacement levels and be more selective and differentiate their privileges from citizens. I have a few suggestions for the government to consider;

    • The government in the past couple of years has tried to draw the distinction between PRs and citizens by increasing school fees and healthcare fees for them. But I wonder would it not have been better to instead partially subsidize these same fees for Singapore citizens? So do it the other way round, reduce fees for Singaporeans not just increase for PRs.

    • PR children must be made do national service - it should no longer be a choice and we should make it an offence if they don’t do it. We should not grant PRs to families who don’t commit their sons to National Service.

    • HDB - if a PR buys a HDB flat from the open market, charge a levy of say $50k and allow them to sell only to Singaporeans. If the PR takes up citizenship within 5 years, we can refund the levy.

    • Children of PRs should be made to study in our national schools so that we increase the chance of integrating them at the next generation.

    • On the employment front, it is time we implement a Singaporean first hiring policy like what is done in some developed countries like Canada. Companies should show proof first that they were not able to fill a position with a Singaporean before they are allowed to hire a foreigner.

    • Reconsider the dependents policy - I have come across a number of cases where our targeted one child from China brings in 2 parents who then bring 2 parents each as their dependents - Net is that we gain one young one child who we brought in for our future but also inherited 6 older people - making our ageing population issue worse not better.

    I feel the differentiated privileges will separate the genuine ones from those who are here for a ride. We should grant PRs to those who are most likely going to take up citizenships so these differentiated privileges should not stifle our plans to attract quality PRs and new citizens.

    This brings me to the point of how many Singaporeans are feeling about the presence of such huge numbers of new citizens, PRs and foreigners amongst our midst. First for housing - there is no doubt that the influx of foreigners in Singapore has driven up our property prices. PRs are buying HDB flats from the open market which drives up prices.

    Just last week I had a dialogue session with my private estates residents and one of my residents complained that a new citizens recently bought a landed property in this old estate and was building a 3 and a half storey towering house. Well the, new citizen, the owner of the house was also present and when, I spoke with him during the tea session I found out that he was a new citizen formerly from China, just gained his citizenship and bought not 1 but 3 landed properties in Kebun Baru alone. I was surprised and saddened because many Singaporeans cannot afford to do the same, and this new citizen, no matter how he may have made his wealth is able to do so.

    Many young Singaporeans I talk to, especially those who have recently graduated and have just entered the workforce feel demoralized because many of the things that they grew up aspiring to have are now beyond their reach. Our aggressive growth strategies, which allowed cheaper foreign workers, including professionals to easily gain employment passes degraded or depressed wage levels of many Singaporeans, not just the lower income Singaporeans. I remember when I started work in 1985, my salary was $1900 as an entry level engineer. After a few years I could afford a house and a car. Today, 28 years later, an entry level engineer in Singapore earns $2600, just $700 more than what I earned when I started. The mathematics is very simple, the cost of living did not just go up by 1.3% per annum the last 27 years and even more, the cost of owning a HDB flat is did not just go up by 37% since 1985.

    Finally, I am perturbed by the banquet analogy used by Minister Khaw. We are talking about lives of Singaporeans. Our banquet guests come for one night and leave when the function is over. There is no turning back when we grant PR and citizenships. We must be more exact about the numbers we want to add to the Singapore population and not plan on a basis of 'hoping we hit some number". Because if overdo things and end up with a population of more than 7m, it may be too late to stop the fast moving train of population growth when we fire up all the engines of growing the population. We missed the mark the last 10 years, and are already paying a high price for that mistake.

    In my speech in this house in 2008 during the committee of supply debate on the population I urged the government to abandon the "the instant tree mentality" in trying to grow the population in response to the declining birth rates. At that time, I did not agree with the rate of growth pursued and we know the consequences and the hardship Singaporeans faced as a result of the rapid growth, Instant trees cannot grow strong roots and can be uprooted in difficult times. I once again urge the government to slow down and plan on reaching their population target over a longer time horizon. I don't think we can live with a 6.9m population in 2030. We may be able to handle it in 2050, no one really knows. Please abandon this 'instant tree" mentality as we cannot afford to make Singaporeans lives more difficult as a result. I rather we err on the side of caution when it comes to growing our population. We cannot keep paying a high price for planning misjudgements.

    In Conclusion, I would like to see us take a breather from re-growing our population again. We have too many problems as a result of the last breath taking population growth rate. As a government we need to rebuild the trust and confidence among Singaporeans that our citizens matter most to us and that we are willing take a break from our relentless drive for growth to solve their problems, make their lives more comfortable, give them a better quality of life and show them that any future growth of population will not create similar social and cost of living problems. At this stage many Singaporeans from all walks of life don't have the confidence that we can handle another steep growth of the population, so let's not push it. I would like all of us, including the government to spend the time creating and environment that gives us confidence in our future and one where our young can see a sense of hope of opportunity and if we fail to instil a sense of hope and opportunity for our future generations, we will not be able to root them here and build a strong national identity and a strong nation. This is what building a strong Singapore core should entail. So let's delay all plans for further population growth for now.


     
  14. zhihau

    zhihau Alfrescian (InfP) + S-Mod Old Timer

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    Dear Mr Inderjit, are you sure you can make changes from within? :D:D:D
     
  15. jw5

    jw5 Moderator Old Timer Old Timer

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    It's a good speech but the content is nothing new. All the items/points have been brought up and discussed in SBF for several years already.

    In particular, I highlight the above point in GMS's post, because I have brought up this issue before and only based on observations.

    This is a classic case of reading a comprehensive set of the stable rules to the horses, long after they have all bolted.
    They haven't even got down to bolt the stable doors yet, only reading the rules to the horses which are no longer there.
     
  16. SixthColumn

    SixthColumn Alfrescian Old Timer

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    if his turban is long enuff....he can!
     
  17. The_Hypocrite

    The_Hypocrite Alfrescian (Inf)

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    yeah good speech,,but so what? he can vote against meh? and if he is an MP for the people,,,LHL will get rid of him soon,,,,so pointless..like Tan Soo Khoon and TCB fate


     
  18. TracyTan866

    TracyTan866 Alfrescian (Inf)

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    who wld you rather be, LSS or TCB? LSS or TSK?
     
  19. zeddy

    zeddy Alfrescian (Inf)

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    Thanks to Capt GMS for posting the speech by Mr Inderjit..

    After seeing the contents of his speech, I agree fully to his suggestions.. I think his ideas is workable and it will make the PRs think twice before they want to play punk with our system..

    But will the PM and his Ministers really give a serious look on these good suggestions being initiated by Mr Inderjit?

    Or will they just dump his proposal inside the rubbish bin and carry on screwing S'poreans in favor of their beloved FT pets?
     
  20. Goh Meng Seng

    Goh Meng Seng Alfrescian (InfP) [Comp] Old Timer

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    There are other things needed to be done before we should consider further population growth. Labour law should be enhanced to protect labour rights, particularly Minimum Wage, Equal Opportunity Legislation, Fair Competition legislation, regulation on Singaporean First policy in employment practices (similar to Australian control of foreign labour import) etc. If a BIG country like Australia also make efforts in taking in foreign labour even though they have much larger land mass than us, lower population density than us, why should Singapore go on such an aggressive FT policy?

    If I have my way, I would even call for commercial rent control act, banning commercial REITS from bad practices like revenue sharing, unreasonable increase of rent by huge percentages and such.

    Goh Meng Seng
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013

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