ELSON: One of Lee Kuan Yew’s most quoted lines, from a National Day Rally long past, “And even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave, and I feel that something is going wrong, I’ll get up.”
Then he flipped in 2015 at the age of 92, leaving Singapore in its current mess of an uncertain leadership transition, declining public infrastructure standards, and our people no longer being our “greatest resource” as seen in our dearth of innovation and adaptability.
And, cost of living rising to the extent that incomes cannot keep pace.
This morning, Mahathir did what LKY preached but couldn’t for Singapore – rise up, wrest power from a government on the decline, and offer hope (and hopefully solutions too) to millions of Malaysians clamouring for change.
Angered by the 1MDB corruption scandal involving PM Najib Razak, the 92-year-old emerged from retirement to lead the opposition. His win for Pakatan Harapan broke the Barisan Nasional’s 60-year-old rule. It must have been a proud day for the nation, though Singaporeans might not be too pleased with the return to power of an old “adversary”.
But 1 MDB aside, it’s the inability to curb inflated living costs that sealed BN’s fate. Even the freebies doled out before elections weren’t enough to buy over the voters. Among other things, 82 percent of Malaysians attribute rising cost of living to the implementation of GST.
The last time the incumbent PAP leadership was “taught a lesson” was back in GE2011, when tearful Foreign Affairs Minister and Aljunied GRC MP George Yeo got the boot on behalf of his comrades. We all saw what happened shortly after GE2015, when the PAP was returned to power with a greater mandate – price hikes across the board, from S&CC to water (and beer), and soon GST and maid levies, and added to that a new e-commerce tax.
So, if LKY can’t (or won’t) rise up and teach the government of the day a lesson about cost of living, will Singaporeans?