(Or “Let’s pang chance Lee Hsien Loong: he is dismantling the LKY House of Hard Truths that he, GCT and other PAPpies constructed” )
True I agree that this is the Budget I would like to have seen in the early noughties http://www.tremeritus.com/2013/03/01/lucky-tan-on-budget-right-direction-but-several-years-late/.
But let’s give PM some credit for not sailing full steam ahead like what dad and GCT seem to want, like the captain of the Titanic, into an iceberg. True the PAP govt would suffer if he continued the Way of Hard Truths, but so would we: we might get what PritamS and Show Mao in the cabinet: a PAP govt held up by the WP. And an economy that has gone to dogs (FT of course), literally. There is still time to correct the course, assuming, of course, that the PM and his cabinet have truly repented of the sins of the previous cabinets and of Goh Chok Tong’s premership where one LHL, Teo, Khaw, Hng Kiang, Tharman and Ng Eng Hen were leading ministers.
And true, it might be too late to avoid problems caused by the Way of Hard Truths.
But better late than never I say. Remember he only became unfettered as PM after the 2011 GE. Since 2004, he had been shackled to his predecessors who remained in the cabinet and who shared the same work space. Imagine any CEO having to share his office with his predecessors.
What I like about the Budget is the realisation (to me at least) by the PAP that just because everyone could be made better off by economic growth doesn’t mean that everyone will be made better off: there must be an institutional framework in place to ensure that the gains from growth are shared. Hence the return to the “old” CPF rates, and the govt subsidised salary increases, though I would like to know more about the link between the two. (Hopefully a PAP MP or Mrs Chiam can ask questions to clarify the matter. The WP MPs would be too busy preening themselves crowing about the measures copied from them. One word of advice to them: S’poreans are not daft. S/o JBJ, Mad Dog and TJS lost credibility with S’poreans when they wrongly claimed that the govy “stole” their ideas.)
Which neatly brings me back into the topic of giving our PM some credit for changing the way things are done. Let’s take his lawyer’s letter against one Alex Au, a few months ago. Remember that incident? If you don’t just google it up on TRE.
As could have been expected, Lee Hsien Loong’s request to Alex Au to remove a defamatory posting met with howls and bitching from the Jedi of the internet. You can read all about it at TRE and TOC. Even the self-styled People’s Voice, TKL, joined in. When he joins in, you know that the issue has been blown way out of all proportion.
One day I will go into some detail on why PM was right to (I’m waiting for the PAP to offer me some goodies first, like say an AIM-like contract) ask him to remove the post.
But here are the powerpoint points (partly so that PAP can see how gd I can be at defending PM (and other PAPpies, at least better than PR expert Baey and the PAP’s allies in the media)
— he (PM) is doing what we (OK at least me) would all love to do when we are defamed or ridiculed;
— he’s got the money, what with his salary;
— the post of PM should not be tarnished with unproven allegations of corruption directed at the person holding it; and
— Alex Au
—- wasn’t asked to cough up costs,
—- had form as a serial defamer of the PAPpies, and
—- has subversive tendencies and ideas.
(He also didn’t sue TJS for saying that the detention of the “Marxists” in 1988 was political: something that got one Tony Tan upset and screaming, “Defamation”. Instead he left TJS bang his balls in frustration that the Opposition parties ignore him despite his claim ,mathematically correct, that he got more votes in PE 2011 than the WP got in GE2011.)
And to be serious, remember that he changed the undemocratic policy of not holding by-elections for vacant seats, despite a court affirming that he, the PM has a discretion not to hold by-elections. He could have chosen not to call by-elections in Houggang or Punggol East. But he did and ended up with a jab in the eye in Punggol East.
To sum up: PM’s a pretty decent guy, even if he was born with five silver spoons in his mouth, and a golden pram. He doesn’t go round micro-managing his ministers and senior civil servants. Or suing his critics. Or pretending to be “compassionate like GCT. His problem is that he has to sack a few more non-performers and more importantly humiliate them publicly, so that S’poreans feel “shiok” that even tua kees can be castrated publicly. Imagine if he had humiliated the clownish four: GCT, Wong, Mah and Raymond. S’poreans would be cheering him.
And finally, to repeat something I wrote earlier, he only became a real PM after the May 2011 election. Before that he was a
neutered mentored PM (since 2004), and before that a meritocratic society’s version of the hereditary Dauphin or Prince of Wales, except of course that unlike them he got there by virtue of a President and SAF scholarships, Double First at Cambridge and career in the SAF.
And while the u/m is something that his dad or Goh Chok Tong might have introduced to deter crime, punish criminals and raise revenues, I some how doubt that PM would introduce this US practice.
When a crime is committed there’s often talk of the criminal owing a debt to society – paid back through community service, fines or a prison term … In many American states, ex-offenders leave prison owing fees and fines to the court – possibly $50 (£31) for police transport, or $35 (£22) to a victims’ fund, or $100 (£62) for some unspecified administrative fee.
But in Philadelphia, you can also owe money for missing court dates before your imprisonment – and these sums run into thousands of dollars.
Those fines ratchet up the bill quickly, with some people who thought they’d paid for their criminal past discovering that they now owe tens of thousands of dollars.
So let’s cut him some slack, and see how much more to dad’s house he demolishes, even if he and his gang helped built much of the unattractive features.