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RDU congratulates Lawrence Wong

Lawrence Wong as the next PM of Singapore – business as usual, or a change to better our lives? Does he have the backing of his colleagues to do so?

Red Dot United (RDU) congratulates Mr Lawrence Wong on being selected by senior members of his party, who currently occupy Cabinet positions, to be the next leader of the People’s Action Party (PAP).

As the Minister co-leading the COVID-19 Multi-Ministry Task Force (MTF), Mr Wong has served Singapore well, and his demeanor and approach has assured Singaporeans that we have a calm pair of hands guiding us through the crisis.

Nevertheless, we are sure that Mr Wong is aware that leading as Prime Minister (PM) will be very different from leading a pandemic response team. As the leader-designate of a political party that assumes it will be elected to form the next Government of Singapore, Mr Wong has the obligation towards the people of Singapore to set out a clear vision. Of the many concerns that Singaporeans share, RDU would like to highlight the some of the pressing ones for Mr Wong to reflect on.

Cast the vision to lead Singapore

While days are still young in Mr Wong’s test of new leadership, Singaporeans will be anxious to know how he plans to lead them through these difficult times. Would his vision be a re-run of old PAP policies, or would he seek a clear mandate for fresh perspectives that will improve the lives of Singaporeans?

While Mr Wong might still be transiting to his new job, it is clear that he has won the support of his peers. RDU feels that he should waste no time in leveraging this support to chart a clear path for Singapore. Even if his PAP colleagues are willing to give him space and time, everyday Singaporeans might not be as patient.

Address the cost of living crisis and growing inequality in a determined manner

For a start, we would like to know whether Mr Wong has any policy ideas to address the rising costs of living and the growing inequality. We wonder if his latest budget is a signal as to the kind of prime minister he plans to be.

Many Singaporeans were surprised by Mr Wong’s assertion during the Budget Speech 2022 when he objected to the lowering of fuel duties as he thought it was counterproductive and would amount to subsidising private transport for a “small but generally better-off group”.[i]

About 4 in 10 households in Singapore own cars, and a large portion of these households are not “better off”. For some households, a car is not a luxury but a necessity. For example, a young family with 2 or 3 young children may need a car to drop-off their children at multiple locations (e.g. childcare and parents’ place) for childcare reasons, before heading off to work. Then in the evening, they have to repeat the same but in the reverse order.

Also, what about the many people who drive vehicles for commercial or business purposes, such as delivery riders and taxi drivers to whom vehicles are not a symbol of luxury but a matter of bread and butter? Should this larger group suffer because of the “small but generally better-off group”?

Provide good political leadership in a health crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious crisis that Singapore has faced since independence. Yet, many Singaporeans believe that the Government did not display good political leadership in managing the COVID-19 crisis at certain points of the pandemic.[ii]

“We understand that hindsight is always perfect and retrospective criticism often mars the practical realities of urgent decision making that pandemics may demand,” said Ravi Philemon, Secretary-General of RDU.

“However, the COVID-19 crisis will not be the last pandemic we would have to face and Mr Wong has to assure Singaporeans that he will lead an honest Government which will not cover political opportunism under the guise of “making tough calls”,” he added.

Leading the MTF, Mr Wong introduced the Workforce Vaccination Measures (WVM) from 1 January 2022 which mandates that only fully vaccinated employees and self-employed persons will be allowed at the workplace.[iii] There are 52,000 unvaccinated employees in Singapore (including nurses and other frontline workers) who continue to be at risk of staying unemployed and having no income to support their families as a result of the WVM.

Given the reduction of COVID-19 cases and the easing of the vaccination-differentiated safe management measures, we hope that Mr Wong will look into protecting the livelihoods of the tens-of-thousands of unvaccinated Singaporean workers who are currently disadvantaged.

Better recognise healthcare workers

In the face of adversity caused in the tumultuous wake of the COVID-19 crisis, we saw our healthcare workers rise to the challenge. When everyone locked their doors from the fear of the virus, they fought hard on the frontlines. We have heard how our nurses who were made to consume their annual leaves to attend advance training were recalled to service having no leave left.[iv]. Often burnt out and underappreciated, our healthcare heroes are the reason for our ability to tide the rogue waves of the crisis.[v]

It may be easy to sweep their immense contributions as being part of their jobs. But RDU firmly believes that be that as it may be, the added pressure from the sheer volume of patients, the uncomfortable changes to their routines and the many untold (yet necessary) sacrifices that our healthcare workers had to make to support their fellow Singaporeans, deserve to be better recognised.

Healthcare workers like nurses put their lives on the line at work every day. But even with the 5 -14 per cent increase in their monthly base salaries given by the Government last year, nurses in Singapore earn only half of what nurses in Australia are paid.[vi]

We urge Mr Wong to prioritise further raising the salaries of healthcare workers so that it is on par with the wages of healthcare workers in countries that are at a similar state of economic development as Singapore, and to do more to improve their career progression and work environments.

Commitment to a multi-racial Singapore

We would also like to know if the Government Mr Wong will lead will reconsider the criteria of race as a factor in succession planning for the PM position. Since the 1980s, we saw at least two men excluded from being the PM just because of the colour of their skin.[vii]

More recently, we saw the Deputy Prime Minister and the leader first designated to be the next PM, Heng Swee Keat, parroting the views of his Party elders saying older generation of Singaporeans are not ready for non-Chinese PM.[viii] [ix].

It is very disturbing that such reasoning comes from the very custodians of our Constitution, which at Article 12 says “…there shall be no discrimination against citizens of Singapore on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law or in the appointment to any office or employment under a public authority “.

It remains to be seen whether such views held by senior PAP leaders will be the operating criteria under Mr Wong’s leadership as well.

As every generation moves into the next, values, principles and beliefs change to adapt to the compass of society. Mr Wong has to clearly articulate if the practice of tying meritocracy to the dogmatic bondage of medieval race policies will be banished under his leadership.

Rise up to the challenge

RDU is hopeful that Mr Wong has the integrity and resolve to rise up to the challenge of putting all Singaporeans’ dreams and aspirations before his own and his political party’s self-interests. We wish Mr Wong all the best in his endeavors.

[i]‘Cutting fuel duties would ‘effectively amount to subsidy on private transport’: Lawrence Wong’, The Straits Times dated 4 Apr 2022

[ii]‘LIVING WITH COVID-19 IN SINGAPORE: ATTITUDES, CHALLENGES AND THE WAY AHEAD’ by Matthew Matthews, Syafiq Suhaini, Mike Hou and Fiona Phoa dated Dec 2021 (IPS Working Papers No. 43)

[iii] Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and MOM FAQ

[iv]‘About 300 nurses undergoing advanced training at NYP recalled to hospital frontlines for 2 weeks’, TODAY dated 4 Mar 2022

[v]‘Commentary: Healthcare workers are at their breaking point but most don’t want to quit’, CNA dated 11 Mar 2022

[vi] ‘Budget debate: Do more for local nurses beyond raising their pay, say MPs’, The Straits Times dated 24 Feb 2021

[vii]‘S’poreans not ready for non-Chinese PM’, The Straits Times dated 23 Nov 2007 and ‘S. Dhanabalan’, NLB by Tan, Joaanna Hwang Soo

[viii]‘Older generation of S’poreans not ready for non-Chinese PM: Heng Swee Keat’, TODAY dated 29 Mar 2019

[ix]‘DPM Heng Swee Keat steps down as 4G leader: Read his letter to PM Lee Hsien Loong’, The Straits Times dated 9 April 2021

 

 

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READER COMMENTS BELOW

18 Responses to “RDU congratulates Lawrence Wong”

  • SINGAROAR:

    RDU suffers from the Stockholm Syndrome as the 61%. They have already accepted LW of the PAP as the next PM. Shame on them as the Opposition!

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  • Bernard:

    He’s a Party chosen Rep.
    Not citizens’ elected person.

    RDU – who do you represent.
    I’m sure, not for the populace.

    Vote wisely to eradicate and remove incompetent incumbents.

    Only FEAR GOD – AMEN

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  • Lees Betray Singaporeans:

    There are two things that is of utter importance.

    Lawrence Wong at this point in time is JUST A PM IN WAITING AND AN APPOINTED ONE AT THAT. To be the elected PM he MUST GET THE MANDATE OF THE PEOPLE. In my view HE IS THE BEST OF THE WORST LOT AND NOT HIS OWN MAN. He and his team at the MTF have done a mediocre job at best.

    LHL MUST RELINQUISH ALL POWERS and retire from politics for good IF Lawrence Wong becomes PM.LHL should not hold any position like Senior Minister, Minister Mentor. It is vital that LHL quit politics as there is very strong filling on the ground that Lawrence Wong will just be ANOTHER SEAT WARMER. Even if for some reasons Wong wins by a razor thin margin he got to stick it out as PM. No throwing in the towel like Ong Siew Keat.

    It will be good to see LHL leave politics AS PAP AND SINGAPOREANS NEED NEW FACES and fresh and workable solutions that will take the country forward. Not time old ideas and stale solutions packaged as new. It also be VERY WELCOME IF THE PAPER GENERALS IN PARLIAMENT TAKE THE LEAVE WITH HIM.

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  • Lees Betray Singaporeans:

    Mai Hum All Singapore celebrate the day you step down as PM, you have only made life difficult for Singaporeans.

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  • xoxo:

    Red Dot United?
    What hypocrisy!
    Red Dot is a long way from UNITY.
    MOST WELL-TO-DO sgs only care about $.
    Maybe,PAP shud *UPGRADE* TO WIN MORE VOTE$ BY CHANGING ITS NAME TO *p$p* in time for next GENERAL$’ ERECTION(G.E.)?

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  • P Against People:

    Don’t you hate these idiots who consider the next GE to be baochia?
    PAP can choose only their next secretary. It’s we the people of Singapore who can choose the next PM.

    VTO!

    SINGAROAR:
    RDU suffers from the Stockholm Syndrome as the 61%. They have already accepted LW of the PAP as the next PM. Shame on them as the Opposition!

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  • SINGAROAR:

    @Lees Betray Singaporeans:

    Why are you still thinking of the PAP ? You will have no representation in Parliament but an enforcement team acting in their own interest. LW, OYK…..
    there will be difference. Choose from WP,PSP and SDP.

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  • Harder Truths:

    I thought RDU stood for Renal Development Unit.

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  • Priority:

    Hope LW will set the priority right.
    Citizen first…Improve their quality of life .

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  • Why why why:

    Why in SG also need to bow?
    “We are not a chinese nation or a malay nation or an indian nation….”LKY.
    …and who is he bowing to?
    The POS and the PM is behind him.
    No need to bow to the other cronies in parleement lah.
    Really a cartoon sgov!

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  • Foolish SG rely on PAP hope:

    RDU obviously are worst than kindergarten kids when come to playing politics in their curriculum.

    My goodness – RDU can be consigned to the PAP $800,000 consultant fees trash compound. Quicker the better if not RDU contaminates the whole of SG.

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  • Foolish SG rely on PAP hope:

    To mark a X for RDU U on the ballot paper certainly TOO Much even of WASTE of ink.

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  • I know what!:

    Unity is good for a nation.
    But is there true unity in Singapore these days?

    The government and local bosses seem to be more united with aliens here.
    Even many ordinary sinkies curry favour with ang mohs at the expense of other singaporeans as you can see for yourselves
    Sinkies good at bitching other singapireans only.

    You call that Unity?

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  • illiterate pap voters:

    I know what!:
    Unity is good for a nation.
    But is there true unity in Singapore these days?

    The government and local bosses seem to be more united with aliens here.
    Even many ordinary sinkies curry favour with ang mohs at the expense of other singaporeans as you can see for yourselves
    Sinkies good at bitching other singapireans only.

    You call that Unity?

    When you sons need to waste time in NSF SR. and aliens all swee swee no need to waste their lives in the useless NSF NSR activities.

    When you need to pay for your children’s fees at nus ntu smu. and almost every alien in nus ntu smu are on scholarship.

    When you are mostly bus mrt and sometimes Grab. and every pap Lj and pap Cb is Maserati Mercedes or something in between.

    When your over priced HDB is so small you hardly have space to ffff properly. and every pap Lj and pap Cb is bungalow condo. even the ceca ah neh talks loudly about his S$1.5m condo.

    When you and your children are unemployed at 40 or underemployed as foodpanda deliverer Grab driver insurance agent property agent barely making S$3,500 per month. and all pap Ljs and all pap Cbs need S$m to maintain their standard of living.

    Do you seriously believe you want to bear arms and defend someone’s S$m per annum job, someone’s bungalow condo, someone’s Maserati Mercedes?

    You must be cock or hen to think so. In other words, you are another simon who cannot think for yourself.

    Isn’t it better for pap to go away and a better group of Singaporeans form New Government so that the playing field is leveled so that you can have that new chance for a bigger cheaper HDB, for a car, for a free nus ntu smu education, for a better paying and more permanent job?

    You ask, are we sure pap is causing the problems?

    YES.

    pap is causing the problems. You over priced and small HDB, your lack of proper employment opportunities, your paying of fees in nus nut smu, etc., all the problems come from pap.

    To start, sending 3m aliens back to where they belong shall solve a lot of the problems. Quality of life becomes better with less crowding.

    Then, having a good man or woman as PM shall do away with all the inefficiencies in the small island, in the process reducing costs of living. Quality of life improves with reduced stress.

    Last, with a better group of Singaporeans running the government, every local born has a fair shot in life. Then, probably, it is worth defending the small island. Otherwise, NOT.

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  • SINGAROAR:

    @Priority:

    “Hope LW will set the priority right.”

    Why hope? LW has been a Minister since 2011. He has enforced all of the Cabinet’s policies onto us. He has also increased the GST. What makes you think he will be different from LHL? PAP are all factory made. Pay themselves millions, invest billions of dollars on foreign entities and pass the bill to citizens by increasing costs. They have been in power for 57 long years. Let us free ourselves from slavery by voting for the WP,PSP and SDP. It has been a long time since we had a government working for our interest.

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  • SINGAROAR:

    illiterate pap voters:

    “pap is causing the problems. You over priced and small HDB, your lack of proper employment opportunities, your paying of fees in nus nut smu, etc., all the problems come from pap.

    To start, sending 3m aliens back to where they belong shall solve a lot of the problems. Quality of life becomes better with less crowding.

    Then, having a good man or woman as PM shall do away with all the inefficiencies in the small island, in the process reducing costs of living. Quality of life improves with reduced stress.

    Last, with a better group of Singaporeans running the government, every local born has a fair shot in life. Then, probably, it is worth defending the small island. Otherwise, NOT.”

    Agreed, very well said.

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  • WhoAreTheyFooling?:

    We all know who’ll be setting the “right” priorites…behind the curtain, when the time comes.
    The right priorities was never practised during Clown Prince’s PMship.
    …and it wont be in LW…may come out of his mouth but it wouldnt have been ‘invented’ by him.
    Their priorities are always enriching themselves first..
    The peasants have to make do with the scraps off their banquet table.

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  • No idea:

    Dream on.

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