You’ve seen posters, bumper stickers, T-shirts and all kinds of merchandise with the words, Keep Calm and Keep Walking.
For those of us who thought that the People’s Action Party would always Keep Calm and Keep Walking, it’s time to do a rethink.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) at the National Day rally with a flourish, injecting fresh hope and optimism to Singaporeans worried about the plight of their 99-year leasehold HDB flats.
We now know that no details have been worked out. National Development Minister Lawrence Wong revealed as much and he, in fact, confessed that details will not be ready for some time.
In a TV interview, he said the government “owed” Singaporeans an early explanation on its thinking for the next phase of public housing, and that’s why the announcement was made without details worked out.
We know that the government owes Singaporeans a lot of things. But since when did it owe Singaporeans an explanation on its thinking? Good excuse, but let us not be fooled.
The Minister also says “let’s not get too excited” about VERS – but it was PM Lee who made the premature announcement to get people all excited in the first place.
It appears that the PAP government might not even have done a feasibility study and looked at the implications of such a policy. For all we know, it might turn out to be entirely unfeasible and unworkable.
But PM Lee announced it anyway. Did he do it to buy time? Did he use it as a stop-gap measure to appease people?
It smacks of the PAP pressing the panic button. Perhaps it has to do with recent happenings in Malaysia and furthermore, the Singapore general elections are not that far away.
Now, it is Singaporeans’ turn to Keep Calm and Keep Walking.
Let’s see what other panic buttons they will press.