Photo of Dr Mahathir Mohammad from ABC

Singaporeans in recent weeks were watching in envy the new policies implemented by the new Malaysia government led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Overwhelming support poured onto both local and Malaysian news forums, with Singaporeans praising the new government’s commitment to public service.

Two issues that particularly reignited discussions in Singapore are the ministerial salaries and GST.

The news of 10% cut to ministerial salaries and MPs volunteering to work for free at the Finance Ministry were received with utmost respect by Singaporeans, with many calling for the PAP ministers to slash their obscene million-dollar salaries that are over 225 times their Malaysian counterparts. The Singapore million dollar ministerial salaries totalling S$53 million a year, have been a long-time objection of Singaporeans. The legalised corruption was passed in 2007 through the ruling party majority in Parliament, but despite over a decade of propaganda, Singaporeans remain unconvinced.

Malaysia’s removal of GST contradicts the narrative by the Singapore government’s move to increase GST by a further 2% to 9%. To be precise, Malaysia reverted to the 10% Sales and Service Tax (SST) with the removal of the GST. However, this actually translates to lower prices and costs for products. On the other side of the Straits, Singaporeans are expected to see their cost of living – already ranked the most expensive in the world for the 5th consecutive year – to raise higher by 2021. Resistance to the GST increase is futile as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong refused to entertain any objection. The decision is final, and objections will be bulldozed. The Singapore government claimed that the GST increase will help the poor and elderly, however the Malaysia government is saying otherwise. Who is right then? One just need to know this fact: Malaysia is ranked 1st in the world for the best place to retire in, while Singapore is scrapping the retirement ranking bottom with elderly Singaporean working in low-pay manual labour jobs and collecting cardboard on the streets.

It is hence no surprise the Singapore PAP government is badmouthing it’s new neighbour, with fake news and propaganda campaign. Malaysia’s success means the PAP policies would be a lie. Although Malaysia’s policies are not seeing result yet, they have already gained a footing over the Singapore’s PAP, and that is in public support. People on both sides of the straits are cheering for Malaysia, while contempt for the PAP government is increasing as the dictatorship tightens it’s grip. Lee Hsien Loong is very afraid that he will become the next Najib Razak, who is now facing a lengthy imprisonment for state-level corruptions.

Prior to Najib Razak’s election loss, missing billions of state funds were covered up and his then-ruling party failed to change from within. Singapore may be in for a bigger shake-up considering the hundreds of billions involved in GIC and Temasek Holdings. Like Najib, Lee Hsien Loong failed to change from within too. The Singapore dictator recently revealed that he has no choice of a new Prime Minister yet, causing anxieties to everyone, including his subordinates from within the PAP party.

Led by Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, many PAP members are openly expressing their wish to see Lee Hsien Loong step down as soon as possible. Although a vote of no-confidence is the only way for the PAP to change from within, it will not happen considering the amount of millions Lee Hsien Loong rewarded the PAP Ministers. The PAP will find out the hard way for placing blind faith in Lee Hsien Loong, as they previously did for his father Lee Kuan Yew. The son is nowhere like his father, the PAP party will very soon learn this through it’s first loss of power in the next General Election.

Singapore’s PAP government may continue to bitch about Malaysia’s progress, but it is losing local support. Lee Hsien Loong’s unpopularity is not stemmed from regional election surprises, but rather his own domestic policies and governance. Singaporeans are getting poorer, and it is seriously jeopardising birth rate, family planning and retirement. HDB leasing, persistent train breakdowns, overcrowding, falling salaries and oppression of free speech is PAP’s own doings, not Malaysia’s or the Opposition’s. The PAP will be in a for shock and as usual they will find someone to blame. Probably States Times Review for writing the truth.

Alex Tan
STR Editor