I am surprised to find Dr Chee Soon Juan’s letter published in The Straits Times (ST) newspaper today (18 December 2014). Dr Chee is the secretary general of Singapore Democratic Party, a liberal political party with several LGBT activists among its key supporters.
It is uncommon to see prominent opposition politicians’ letters which criticise PAP’s economical & social policies to be featured in ST forum page. At the most you will see letters from Workers’ Party to dispute fringe issues raised in the printed press such as ceiling cleanliness & town council arrears.
The editors in ST group probably realised they do not have a choice as they are not the monopoly of information any longer thanks to the internet – Aspiring politicians are able to articulate their views to the public through their Facebook pages or affiliated social-media websites.
What are the editors’ considerations? If they refuse to publish letters from opposition politicians, these politicians can simply turn their attention to established foreign sites such as The Wall Street Journal & Huffington post causing more embarrassment to ST and this does not help in their failing readership. ST ultimately has to be accountable to SPH Group, a public listed organisation which ultimately has to be responsible to its shareholders.
Aspiring politicians should not just stop at sending letters to a dying ST, they should continue to submit their letters to established websites to get a greater outreach.
Not possible for poor S’poreans to live on $1,000 a month
IN ITS reply to my Wall Street Journal op-ed (“A new vision for Singapore”; Nov 28), the Government, through its consul-general Jacky Foo in Hong Kong, accused me of not sticking to facts (“SDP’s Chee ‘dishonest’ in calling Singapore model a failure: Govt”; Dec 4).
It stated that, like many other countries, income inequality has increased. What it does not say is that income inequality in Singapore is one of the highest among comparable economies. In addition, this inequality is almost wholly a creation of government policy and inaction.
For instance, while the Government rewrites banking laws to attract high-net-worth individuals from across the world (Singapore has the highest proportion of millionaires globally), it refuses to legislate minimum wage.
And while we are, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the most expensive city in the world (much of which is due to land prices controlled by the State), we still have families, to cite the Government’s letter, “earning just 1,000 Singapore dollars a month”.
The Government asserts that these families are able to afford their own apartment. It forgets that they still need to eat, transport themselves to work, send their children to school, seek medical treatment when they fall ill, and save for retirement.
Singapore has one of the highest household debt-to-gross domestic product ratios in Asia at 77 per cent, steadily increasing from 64 per cent in 2007.
I should not be the one accused of being out of touch with reality.
The Government concludes that I “pander to the editorial tastes of the Western media”. For the record, I offered the piece to The Straits Times, but it was not accepted.
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party