Singapore Faces Resentment Against the Ruling Party PAP

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Singapore Faces Resentment Against the Ruling Party PAP

Singapore's Parliament House.
Singapore's Parliament House. | Source
Victorious Japanese troops marching through Singapore City after British capitulation at the Battle of Singapore
Victorious Japanese troops marching through Singapore City after British capitulation at the Battle of Singapore | Source
The port of Singapore, one of the world's five busiest,[50] with the skyline of Singapore in the background
The port of Singapore, one of the world's five busiest,[50] with the skyline of Singapore in the background | Source
Singapore skyline, dusk
Singapore skyline, dusk | Source
Then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Ambassador to the U.S. Chan Heng Chee meet with Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen during Lee's visit in 2000
Then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Ambassador to the U.S. Chan Heng Chee meet with Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen during Lee's visit in 2000 | Source

Singapore Faces Resentment Against the Ruling Party PAP

A small country could achieve big

That a tiny country like Singapore could achieve such a miraculous economic growth and post its mark in the international community is indeed a great achievement for the people of the land. The size of the nation Singapore is approximately the same as the size of a city like Chennai in India. Chinese and Tamils constitute sizeable percentage of the small population of Singapore. The rules here are very strict. If one spits on the street, a hefty fine is levied on the spot.

Real estate attraction

Recently India property show opened up in Singapore which attracted the people towards Indian real estate offerings. The fair was targeted at promoting real estate investment opportunities among Indians residing in Singapore. The overall interest in the fair was better this time than last year. In Singapore, a movement for green buildings is going on. This represents a $300 billion opportunity for the companies in real estate and construction. The national programme aims to convert all the existing buildings in Singapore to environment friendly green buildings. The Singapore government has set a target of converting at least 80% of its buildings to green standards by the year 2030. Singapore has over 210 million square metres of built up space.

Better watch Grand Prix than Formula 1

Those who are interested in watching Formula 1 motor racing in Noida may reconsider their options and opt for Singapore Grand Prix event. Visiting Singapore by air, airport transfer, three star hotel accommodation for three days, breakfast for three days, and a 3 days Zone 4 Walkabout Pass for the Grand Prix Event plus return air fare – all these things cost around Rs.55000. If one visits Noida for the event, then the flight charges from a place like say Chennai (Rs.8000 one way), hotel accommodation at Noida (Rs.20000 for a single night at the minimum), food charges and cost of the F1 ticket may work out to more than double the fare at around Rs.105000. In other words, for a person staying in Bangalore or Chennai or Colombo or Hyderabad, it is economical to visit Singapore and see the Grand Prix rather than to visit India’s capital to see F1.

Younger generation want a change

Singapore witnessed the first contested Presidential pole in the last 18 years of its history. A heated campaign calling for stronger checks on the ruling party was witnessed. Three months before the Presidential elections, a parliamentary election reduced the dominance of the Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP). There was a severe attack and criticism of the ruling party leaders in the Internet. 2.3 million Singapore citizens cast their votes in the election which witnessed the contest by four candidates. The campaign lasted for nine days. More than 80% of the voters cast their votes. The former Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan (71), who resigned from PAP in June this year, also contested. Though the ruling party could retain a majority in the parliamentary elections with a 60% support from the people and also in the Presidential polls, the margin of victory had come down, indicating that the younger generation in Singapore want a change.

Singapore should learn lessons from India

What is the cause for dissatisfaction of the younger people in Singapore against the ruling party? Income gap between the rich and the poor has widened in the recent years. The economic miracle that Singapore achieved in the last fifty years needs a course correction now. You cannot sing old glory and live forever. From 1959 onwards right from Lee Kuan Yew and his successors, Singapore followed its path without any change. Now people want a change in the economic policies of the government. For this they see that it is essential to bring about a political change. That was the reason for the victory of the ruling party with the least margin since 1965. If this trend continues, the ruling party PAP may see its first ever defeat in the history of Singapore. Singapore should learn from India. The Congress Party headed by Jawaharlal Nehru posted victories in all the parliamentary and assembly elections in the fifties and sixties. Even after Nehru’s death, the trend continued under the leadership of his successor and daughter Indira Gandhi. But in the late seventies and eighties, Indian people threw out the Congress Party and brought about political changes which proved good for the economic progress of India. Singapore also perhaps is heading for such a change. Perhaps sensing the reality, senior Singapore politicians like Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong have stepped down from the Cabinet.

In India, politicians decide the syllabus, in Singapore, academicians decide it

What is happening in Singapore is being watched with great interest all over the world even though it is a small country. This is because Singapore has established itself over the years as a thriving and prospering financial centre of international repute, catering not only to its domestic economy, but also the broader Asia Pacific region and the world. Singapore is the first choice for establishing regional headquarters for corporate entities. This is because Singapore has outstanding infrastructure and economy and is aiming to become the human capital hub for skills and talents in Asia and the world. Singapore has a global culture within its Asian culture. Asia’s best educational institutions are located in Singapore, offering students of various faculties courses of international class that focus on innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. An aspiring engineering or management student should consider studying in Singapore rather than in India. Singapore curriculum offers international standards and after completion of the course, one can get employed in multinational, transnational and international companies of repute immediately. In Singapore, academicians of outstanding quality and experience decide on the course syllabus. In India, uneducated politicians decide on the course content. For example recently the DMK government introduced the Samaseer Kalvi (Equitable Education) for all school students in Tamil Nadu. Under this system, the images of the Chief Minister Karunanidhi were printed in the text books. Essays and poems written by Karunanidhi and his daughter Kanimozhi were included in the text books. History text books praised the DMK and Karunanidhi sky high. When the AIADMK government headed by Jayalalithaa came to power by trouncing the DMK in the elections, these text books were discarded. But the Supreme Court insisted on retaining these text books. You can imagine the quality of the students studying these text books.

Financial services flourishing

SMX is the Singapore’s centre for global commodities trading. Financial services sector is flourishing in Singapore because of the involvement of international companies. Because of Singapore’s status as an international financial centre and its accessibility to regional markets, Singapore attracts huge foreign capital every year. Many meetings are organized in Singapore by companies because these meetings take place in a pleasant atmosphere where business is mixed with pleasure.

Cooperation with India

Singapore’s imports from India have gone up by 48% in the first half of the current year. Singapore-based sovereign fund Temasek is very bullish on the financial sector opportunities in India. Its investments in India increased from$185 billion last year to $193 billion this year – an increase of $8 billion. It gathered over $3.5 billion by selling its stake in China Construction Corporation and Bank of China. Temasek has invested in Indian companies like Bharati Airtel, GMR Energy and Tata Teleservices among others. APL Logistics, a subsidiary of the Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines has brought into India its famous double-stack container train service. It helps customers to load double the amount of cargo in a single voyage. Its first service has started running from Mundra Port. When the CEO of the Singapore Exchange resigned, it raised eyebrows. The resignation was attributed to differences with the exchange owner. Also Singapore Exchange’s bid to take over the Australian bourse operator ASX at a cost of $7.9 billion has collapsed following objections from the Australian government.

Singapore Indians get key Cabinet posts

Government of India has asked for the bank account details of Indians having banking facilities in Singapore. India and Singapore have amended their double tax avoidance agreement for more exchange of banking and tax related information. Singapore Airlines is planning to launch a low-cost airline in about a year’s time. Recently a delegation from US companies based in Singapore visited India to explore business opportunities. As Singapore economy has slowed down in Q3, these kinds of efforts are natural to lift the sagging economy. Singapore Telecommunications reported a 2.3% fall in its net profit to 992 million Singapore dollars because of the loss incurred by Bharati Airtel, its Indian parent due to currency volatility. Singapore Airlines saw its Q4 net dropping by 38.5% to S$171 million from S$278 million in the corresponding period of the previous year. The reason was a steep increase in the fuel expenses. Perhaps sensing the importance of India, the Singapore Indians have got key portfolios in the post-election Cabinet in Singapore. But their talents also count apart from their origin.

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