Opposition politician and lawyer Mr Lim Tean has responded to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech on 19 Aug, which he branded as “laden with election gimmicks”.
Mr Lim, De facto leader of the People’s Voice Party which has yet to be approved after four months by the Registrar of Societies, suggested that Mr Lee’s speech was a way for the People’s Action Party (PAP) to keep “trying to entice vulnerable Singaporeans” to continue voting for the ruling party.
In a video response that was posted on his Facebook page last Friday, Mr Lim also predicted an impending election.
Thus, he reminded Singaporeans to anticipate “the most decisive political battle of the last half century” and to prepare themselves accordingly.
Contrary to what a National Day Rally speech should be, Mr Lim found that Mr Lee’s speech was not uplifting, but was instead a “defensive” one, and one that he deemed a “shameless” attempt at buying the votes of “the very people that the [PAP] government has been short-changing for years”.
Mr Lim also criticised Mr Lee’s heavy reliance on “nostalgia” brought upon by the legacy of former Prime Minister and his late father Mr Lee Kuan Yew in garnering support from citizens.
He said: “It [the Government] borrowed heavily from the past, speculated about the future, but said nothing about the issues of today … Issues that the PAP regime themselves have created.”
“They say that we need them for the stability of our country, but what they have given us is instability in our own homes,” argued Mr Lim, citing “large price hikes” on “water and electricity”, adding that such instability stems from “reactionary thinking and incredible short-sightedness”.
He also noted the backlash against PAP’s recent policies which he described as “rightfully derisive”.
Mr Lim raised the issue of what PAP brands as “the Merdeka generation“, which he believes encompasses some 500,000 Singaporean voters born between 1950 to 1959, who he alleges are “kept on stagnant wages while the cost of living accelerated as they laboured to build a first-world country” and whose CPF is not returned to them as promised.
He said: “They laboured incredibly long hours for their families, missed time with their children to build this nation. Yet so many in this generation today are reduced to driving Grab to make a living, despite their qualifications and abilities.
“They are many of the best and brightest of our country,” he remarked, and yet a great number of them “do not have retirement adequacy today because the bulk of their CPF went to paying for overpriced HDB apartments”.
The subject of the Pioneer Generation Package, which will potentially cover some 450,000 Singaporeans aged 69 and above, was also touched by Mr Lim in his response, stating that Singaporeans who are eligible for the package have realised that the package is inadequate in dealing with “the astronomical increase in healthcare costs”.
He said: “As they say, a glass with no bottom will never be full or even half full.”
Mr Lim also cited the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s statement in 2011 regarding the impossibility of depreciation in terms of prices of HDB flats, which became the basis of the rhetoric espoused by Mr Lee Hsien Loong over the recent years.
Mr Lim alleges that Mr Lee is “not even trying to sell that idea” anymore, and “has retreated to” pacifying Singaporeans with schemes “that talk of nothing but of reconditioning your flats and ignoring the real problem”, which is that HDB flat “owners” are in reality merely “lessees”.
Mr Lim also chided Mr Lee for suggesting that one of the factors that contribute to the rising costs of living is “people’s rising aspirations and lifestyles”, elaborating that it is unfair for the government to suggest blame on the citizens’ part when the average Singaporean is cutting corners to make ends meet.
He said: “The multi-million-dollar income of Lee and his wife has left him out of touch with the lives of everyday Singaporeans.
It is absurd to be lectured on our expenditures by a prime minister who earns more in a single day than most Singaporeans do in a matter of months.”
Mr Lim reminded Singaporeans that what is needed “is not any hyperbole or false sentimentality”, but a “rebirth of the Singapore spirit” which has its roots in community and cohesion, and that the same spirit has the capacity to “bring about change … so that the conditions in our lives can improve”.
“Together, we can take back the country.
That will be our true Merdeka, and we will all be the Merdeka generation,” he concluded.
In comparison, Mr Lee’s National Day Rally speech gained 103,000 views. More strikingly, his speech has been shared only 740 times as of today, many of which are shared multiple times by the same individuals.
While a few netizens applauded the speech by PM Lee and thanked him, many netizens have also expressed anger and dissatisfaction over the points and suggestions raised in his speech.
Clarke FC said:
NDP Speech 2018? No I didn’t, I can’t bear to watch that fake smile, hollow advice to deal with our real problems, and I can even sense cynicism in that facade put up to patronise all victim of his inability to empathise… If I applauded that speech, I think I’d be doomed as a human…
Kenneth Chan wrote:
Unfortunately the clown’s tears does not move me…I also observed his speech very deeply, and I found it non-creditable… He will definitely not get a vote from me… Other than the way he speaks… The decades of mistakes and lack of accountability and transparency is more than enough to convince me that he is not a person that can be depended on for security and welfare…
Mohd Nizam Mohamed Noor wrote:
Don’t worry, he will still get the majority votes from the minority group, sadly… Don’t know when will these people wake up. There’s a reason why he likes to use Bahasa Melayu… Terms like Temasek, and now Merdeka, to make the Melayu proud that they aren’t a forgotten species…
In contrast, many netizens have largely expressed their agreement with Mr Lim’s response to PM Lee’s speech.
Frankie Jeremy Lee said:
I’m a victim belong to the Merdeka generation as mentioned by Mr Lim Tean. He is 200% correct. We accepted a pay cut and even have our CPF contribution from the employer reduced. At the end of the day the PAP government failed to protect our jobs eventually. Many of us lost our jobs. Many of us became Housing and Insurance agents and now … many became Grab Drivers. We are not re-employed by our previous employer after being laid off, and all our jobs was taken by FT after the recession. The government claimed that we are not qualified or as talented as compared to FT and set up a package and told us to go and upgrade our skills… What a joke !!!
Kok Ming Cheang said:
Lim Tean, your speech cuts into the heart of LHL’s National Day Rally speech, and frankly analyses the true intentions of the PAP government which is trying real hard to continue to fool the people of Singapore. It is a wake-up call to Singaporeans to prepare themselves for the coming general election to vote the PAP out of government.
Yes, the glorious Merdeka Generation is not only the forgotten generation; it is also the lost generation in our era. Most were educated to O-level and now, they are either still working in some low-paying jobs or no jobs at all. Most of them are probably retired with little savings in their CPF.
The PAP government tried the same election gimmick by creating the Pioneer Generation Package which numbered 480,000 just before GE2015. Now the same game plan to win over those born in the 1950s and 1960s as the election is nearing is used… If it is not for the money-oriented PAP government and its money-milking policies with meagre subsidies and help for the older citizens, such grand packages are totally unnecessary. In fact, the government uses such new packages to boost its organizational structures and increase cost of governance. For example, the government set up a new Pioneer Generation Office to implement the scheme.
The same will happen for the Merdeka Generation Package. This is how the government creates jobs which really does not add value to our country.
Dave Tan wrote:
Yes, in GE2015, the PAP came out with the Pioneer Generation Package and managed to buy the votes from the Pioneer generation.
Now they are repeating the same strategy with Merdeka Generation Package to buy the votes from this group of people.
The entire NDR offer ZERO solution to the current issue. They are in fact the mediocre group who demand million salary without any capability.
Noni Adam wrote:
You’re right… Everything now is very expensive… We come from a poor family, hardly able to bear the living cost here… We are Singaporeans, but they treat us like outsiders…
Orleng Arnoneh wrote:
His father [the late Lee Kuan Yew] spent his lifetime building this country, but yet he [Lee Hsien Loong] is so “capable” that he only needed 3 years to ruin it.
Mr Lim Tean, what you said is true. I feel like I am just a lessee living in this country, where I was born in. I even feel that this country doesn’t belong to me anymore.I couldn’t believe that our Government would make such speeches and statements — by expecting us to use WiFi instead of 4G. Plus the utilities hike, et cetera. Indeed, it is ridiculous…
Renee Cartel said:
Stupiak or what use WiFi instead of 4G ?? WiFi comes from where? From heaven ar??? Hello still need money to pay right ? Apa ni LHL sembang bikin semua orang bimbang. [What is this Lee Hsien Loong talking about? Making people worry.] This is a very good speech from Mr Lim, definitely can relate ?
Loh Kaiwen commented:
I do not know who he is before this, but I found this speech to be rather interesting. I actually agree and also disagree to certain extent on what he have said. Nonetheless, he is definitely a motivational speaker who will inspire many. Rather than finger pointing, I was actually hoping to hear solutions, plans and potential course of actions, but then again, I reckon that he wouldn’t want to show his cards until the next General Election just to err on the side of caution. By saying what he had said, it is a very good first step to garner supporters, which is not wrong either. Definitely someone to look out for to see if he is worth his salt in the next GE, provided that his proposed new political party would be approved (or has it already been approved?) Let’s wait it out.
Mansura Sajahan wrote:
Another troubling fact is the building of more hawker centres with cheaper food and some food below $3. This shows that a lot of Singaporeans are getting poorer. When rentals are so high, what will be the quality of food that the hawker will be able to cook up for $3? Some shreds of chicken or a fishball or two?
All these while our ministers whom we elected to govern and trusted to better our lives earn millions. Cheaper food, more rental houses being built, cheaper milk powder for our children. Old people working in menial jobs. Dignity obviously only belongs to the rich.
Lin Rui Xin commented:
I agreed with you as you have spoken what and how ordinary Singaporeans feel. HDB price on resale is silly, we will be in debt even though we slog in our daily careers. We’ll end up with zero value. BTO restrictions and end up long queue with ridiculous conditions and penalties to pay, and yet still not be able to get our choice of unit. Paying millions of dollars to ministers who are out of touch with ordinary citizens earning peanuts and teaching us how to save money and spend our $.
Keith Dot Lee said:
I think we should move back three steps so all citizens can catch up. We don’t need to be number one. Look what is happening to us? Only the rich can tahan. The rest is losing it!
Rahmat Styles commented:
They will always create something that’s new but not fresh & attempted to swayed us with gimmicks. We are not fools & idiots. We see that & they know that somewhere near in the future, they are already on the losing end. They are already out of bullets, so they create something that’s gonna happen in 20 years time. They need to learn to pass the torch. They are not leaders. Leaders know when to step down, they don’t. If you’re a hero very long, the longer you realise that you’re actually a villain. Time to go down.
Jarrel Bin wrote:
What solutions will you suggest to counter the rising cost of living and housing issues? To be more specific, what policies will you recommend to counter those issues?
Kenneth Walter De Souza commented:
Tean Lim, I have a question for you, and I hope anyone who can answer this help do so too.
I listened to your speech, and while I do agree with most things you said, my question is this: What is your idea of solving the leasing problem? Most countries with space constraints have properties which are leasehold, e.g. Hong Kong, and even big cities such as New York and London. Thus, their properties there will have little to no value once the lease ends. Also, not forgetting that besides HDB flats in Singapore, many private condominiums now too are 99-year lease which will also be $0 at the end of it.
I don’t think making all properties freehold will be the right answer, as the country needs the land to develop and improve. I’ve listened to many opposition politicians complain about the PAP, but the honest truth is none actually give a good counter proposal/solution.
So my question to you, which I hope you will see and reply to, is: What will YOU do if you are in charge? Thank you.