Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced his ruling party’s manifesto yesterday (August 29) and States Times Review put it through a fact-check to verify if what the PM said is really true as he claimed.
The end result of this fact-check revealed that the PAP manifesto (you may download from here) contains 3 untruths, 3 truths and 2 half-truths, giving it a 50% truth while the remaining 50% are baseless and exaggerations.
Here are the findings under “What We Achieved Together” on Page 5 of the manifesto:
- “Tiny, with no natural advantages, few resources, no defences and little money, we faced huge challenges. Yet, we made it.”
Singapore’s geographical location is one of the world’s best and the island has been the world’s busiest seaport since 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles founded the island. The country is small, but not tiny, and was the crown colony of the Southeast Asia Archipelago. Even today when technologies have advanced, Singapore’s location provided an excellent transit linking Southeast Asian countries and Australia/New Zealand to East Asia and Central Asia.
- “from 22% home ownership in 1965, 90% of Singaporeans now own their homes, 82% of which is HDB housing”
Home ownership is 90.3% in 2014, however, in 1965, most housing built under the 5-year Building Programme (1960-1965) under Lim Kim San are meant for rental. HDB flats were not built for ownership hence explains the low ownership.
- “from a minority with formal education, every child today can get a good education and Singaporean students top the world education rankings”
Singaporean students tops OECD’s global school ranking in 2015. However, university admission rate for Singaporeans stand at only 27%, one of the lowest among developed countries.
- “from a low skills base, we trained a high value, highly-skilled workforce”
Dutch economic adviser Albert Winsemius and Goh Keng Swee developed Singapore through the Economic Development Board since 1961 and Singapore has a thriving manufacturing sector from 1970s onwards.
- “we transformed healthcare – infant mortality dropped dramatically; life expectancy has increased”
Life expectancy has increased to 82.14 just below Japan and infant mortality is at 2.3 way below the United States. However, affordability has worsened in healthcare. Healthcare technologies may be more advanced in Singapore but access to healthcare is limited due to its high cost and insufficiency of Medishield.
- “once utterly dependent on Johor for water, we have become a world leader in water technology”
60% of water supply are from reclaimed water (NEWater), seawater desalination and reservoirs, while 40% are still imported from Johor. With the projected increase in population to 6.9 million, Singapore’s advancement in water technologies will still be insufficient to be 100% self-reliant. Henceforth, Singapore is still dependent on Johor. Turning off the tap at Johor will still destroy Singapore.
- “once defenceless, today the SAF is a respected force protecting our sovereignty, our island and our people”
In the aspect of defences during Independence, Britain spent billions of dollars to rebuild its military bases in Singapore after WW2. Between 1963 and 1966, several thousand British troops were deployed to protect the country during the Indonesian Confrontation (Konfrontasi 1963-66). By 1967, Britain decided they could no longer afford the cost of maintaining a military presence in Singapore. In January 1968, London informed the Singapore government that all British forces would be withdrawn by 1971, with 5 years of transition from 1966 and provision of training from the Israel military.
- “we tackled communist insurgents, triad gangsters and extremist terrorists, brought crime under control and created a safe and secure home for our families and children.”
Singapore’s crime rate is 17.08, the world’s second safest, and Singapore is one of the few countries that has not suffered a terrorist attack since the rise of terrorism in 2001.