Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Called to Serve

The book 'Called to Serve' is written by Steve Chia who is an NCMP from 2002 to 2006.  The book is a collection of his speeches and questions during parliament sessions. It provides an insight on how ineffective our govt under PAP has been. Many of the key issues which we have currently had been brought up as far back as 2002, which is 10 years ago !

As an NCMP, I think he has done a good job questioning those shortsighted policies. There has been comments in the internet community that opposition members in the parliament are not raising questions regarding those illogical policies which PAP bulldozed through. Perhaps they could read up this book and then they may realize that it is PAP, which has been turning a deaf ear, ignoring good feedback and suggestions from opposition members in the parliament.

Below is a summary of some of the issues Mr Steve Chia raised during his time serving as NCMP. We also notice some of the issues were repeated year after year with no resolution in sight.

2002 (10 years ago)
Budget Debate
- Widening income gap.  Heavy burden of direct and indirect taxes : GST, ERP, COEs.....etc
- Request for kinder and more caring society by not subjecting lower and middle income and aging community to more hardship and taxes.

2003 - Budget Debate
- Commented that govt accumulate huge reserves and surplus during good years, spend little of those surpluses in difficult years, and not providing any report of the investment return on the accumulated surplus.
- Request for greater transparency.
- Commented on the high salary and bonus of civil services without the same degree of rigorous benchmarking of private sector with regards to performance.
- Commented that retirement is only a luxury for the rich in S'pore. The rest has no option but to try to find work even way passed 65.
- We should be allow to use our own CPF money to tie over tough times.
- There should be distinction between S'poreans and non-S'poreans. Being S'poreans seems to have more liabilites than privileges due to govt liberal immigration policies.

2004 - Budget Debate
- Question if the introduction of  'S' Pass will depress wages and salaries further, making life harder for locals who are struggling with CPF and wage cuts. How could locals plan for more children then.
- Question how reducing a Ministry budget by a percentage to their Productivity Growth Rate could motivate productivity. Instead Mr Chia suggested that reducing a Minister or senior officer salary if productivity does not increase will be more effective.
- Question where is the money from business diversification from Temasek, EDB and other statutory boards. Mr Chia commented that the money should go back to govt revenue instead of remaining with Temasek,..etc.
- The high cost of educating a child (tuition fee,etc) impact procreation.

2005 - Budget Debate
- Request more to be done for our aging seniors.
- Remove or reduce water tariff taxes.
- Commented that the govt has already made up its mind of the casino project thought they claimed it is under proposal consideration.
- Adequacy of retirement fund
- Request govt to assumed greater responsibility for healthcare and education.

2006 (6 years ago)
Budget Debate :
- Object to PAP sweetening the ground before election creating unfair playing field for opposition parties.
- Called to reduce the size of GRC back to 1998, three-men team.
- Question if the govt is collecting more money than it dares to declare, how it arrives at an operating deficit when there is surplus revenue receipts and billions in Consolidated Fund to be transferred into national reserves.
- Request for transparency in disclosures from govt.
- Request to scrap or reduce TV/radio licences, water conservation tax and domestic worker levy.
- Request to do more for elderly and low income.

In Mr Chia other speeches such as Presidential Address Debates, Debate on Motions, Ministerial Statements,..etc. he touched on topics such as promotion of civil societies,  active citizenry, building social cohesion, fair election, reducing business cost, ISD, education, under capacity transport system (in 2002 this problem has already surfaced in Mr Chia's speech), NKF saga, PA and community grassroot should be neutral and not PAP vehicles....etc

Basically, Mr Chia brought up issues close to our heart which impact our daily lives. I would say as an NCMP, Mr Chia did more for us than our previous and current president who are suppose to safe guard S'pore reserve. But it seems that these 2 figure heads personal policy is "Silent is Golden". If they open their mouth to question the PAP, - the 'gold' will no longer go into their pockets.

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