Just yesterday, an overseas website ran an article that Singapore’s People’s Action Party has announced a slate of election carrots to make amends for “shortfalls in national policies and corruption links” ahead of the General Election.
Now, what are some of the “election carrots” being proposed:-
- Sembawang GRC is to get a new swimming complex and hawker centre hopefully by 2018
- Ang Mo Kio GRC is to have an improved community centre and a renovated swimming complex. Seven housing blocks in Teck Ghee are to be put on the Home Improvement Programme this year.
- Jurong GRC will have three more childcare centres and more teachers.
- Potong Pasir is to get lift upgradings for eight low-rise blocks
- Hougang is to get a new 24-hour food centre in the renovated Ci Yuan Community Club this month
On Hougang getting a new food centre, I’m not particularly sure why it is being called an “election carrot”. The new hawker centre is slated to open in August 2015 and as we know elections have not yet been called. So, it is likely to open before elections. “Election carrot”, really?
No one else gives carrots?
The author of said article stated that “there is no existing legislation to outlaw the abuse of national taxes for disadvantageous political gains”. But wouldn’t the same statement apply to proposals by other political parties in order to make political gains? And how is it “disadvantageous” since it appears other parties are also able to make claims about how they would spend government money?
For example, the Reform Party has also made proposals about how they would spend national taxes if they were elected.
a) An old age pension of $500 per month for over 65s.
b) Child benefit of $300 per month per child
c) Minimum wage across the board
d) Cap foreign worker numbers at current levels and auction right to work here
e) Abolish medishield life premiums for over 65s and under-18s
f) Give Singaporeans stake in GIC and Temasek
g) Return CPF at 55 and make saving voluntary
Reform Party’s proposals certainly smells good.
Looking at the Reform Party’s proposals, it actually looks pretty great with lots of very populist policy changes. It would be difficult to believe that it is not for political gain. Also, what is not clearly stated is where the money to fund these policy changes would actually come from. Obvious answers to this question would either be to eat out of the reserves or an increase in taxation to maintain a balanced budget.
However, curiously, anything that the opposition offers is always called “changes” for the future. However, when the PAP offers anything, it is called “election carrots”. Is it, unfortunately, really that simple?
Cover picture from Channelweb.co.uk. Top picture from Tumblr.