Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Electoral Threat of the Workers' Party (WP)

From the recent criticisms of PAP ministers on the Workers' Party (WP) manifesto and its other voters enticement policies, it is obvious that PAP leaders regard the WP as the biggest threat to their dominance in the General Election. So far WP seems to be the best organised opposition party with the biggest slate of candidates including some star performers. The fact that PAP leaders have focused their character attacks on the WP star candidate Chen Show Mao shows that Chen's prominence has rattled the confidence of the PAP. No doubt that he is only one individual but is so special that he can exude a winning streak to his fellow candidates in the GRC. He is more than a match for any of the candidates in the PAP camp.

The WP will not only be able to capture the GRC in which Chen stands but in a number of SMCs and possibly another GRC. The PAP leaders are not amused by this WP onslaught and are leaving no stone unturned to put up their best teams against the WP. That the WP will be resourceful enough to find a chink in the PAP's armour cannot be doubted.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan is obviously feeling the heat of the WP's proposal to lower the prices of new Housing Board (HDB) flats. He described it as not in the interest of Singaporeans and even dangerous. He gave three reasons: One it would impact the value of existing flats; two the WP was showing that it was against the Government's asset enhancement policy; three the WP's proposal amounts to an illegal raid on Singapore's reserves.

Let's examine the three reasons of Minister Mah to see if they are flawed. A high percentage of flats were bought on the resale market and naturally incurred higher costs. Quite a lot of these resale flats were for renting out. So if the WP proposal would impact the value of existing flats, the owners mostly affected are those who purchased their resale flats for commercial benefits. Lowering of the prices of new HDB flats would benefit especially first time buyers, particularly those getting married and they form a large proportion of the population. How then can this be interpreted as against the Government's asset enhancement policy?

As for the third reason that the WP proposal amounts to an illegal raid on Singapore's reserves, is not Minister Mah going into the realm of make-belief? The ordinary Singaporean will not be able to understand his tortuous argument and much less believe in it. So it is best left to the intelligence of the ordinary Singaporeans to form the opinion whether Minister Mah is flawed in his arguments.

On the election front, it is both encouraging and a credit to opposition unity that so far GRCs are unlikely to see any three-cornered contest. Kudos should go to the Reform Party for its exemplary conduct in withdrawing from all three-cornered contests. This augurs well for the opposition and it will be a consummate feat if this can be implemented in the SMCs.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Its not so much the value of HDB as assets but false value of our inflated nest eggs in GIC & TMC