ARIFFIN SHA: Here’s the transcript of a speech I made on July 5th 2014 at Hong Lim Park entitled ‘PM Lee, Do you hear the people sing?’
Time and again we are told to move on.
When Mas Selamat escaped, we were told to move on.
When housing prices skyrocketed, we were told to move on
When the problem of overcrowding was brought up, we were told to move on.
When our MRTs broke down on countless occasions, we were told to move on
When our hospital beds were full and our sick and elderly had to line the corridors of our hospitals, we were told to move on.
When innocent Singaporeans were arrested under the ISA during Operation Coldstore and Spectrum, we were told to move on.
When Anton Casey said the poor in Singapore had a stench, we were not only told to move on, we were even told that he deserved a second chance.
Well, Mr Prime Minister, You are right.
It is indeed time to move on.
PM Lee, it’s time for you, to move on.
Good Evening Hong Lim Park!
Human Rights Watch Asia 1 said that Singapore’s Democracy was not a usual democracy. I agree. It’s only in Singapore’s Democracy where you’ll see things like a one party rule for 50 years, a party which has 92% of the seats in Parliament and a lack of emphasis on human rights and freedom. IE. ISD, freedom of assembly and various media and art regulations in place.
We also lack a Free Media thanks to the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act. A free press would also result in a more well informed society and Politicians can be held accountable and responsible. We have no freedom of assembly outside of Hong Lim Park, yet PM Lee still has the cheek to say that people support CPF cuts as there are no protests outside Parliament. 2
It’s also only in Singapore where you’ll hear a Democratic Leader saying that the people shouldn’t vote too many Opposition members into Parliament.
“Suppose you had 10, 15, 20 opposition members in Parliament. Instead of spending my time thinking what is the right policy for Singapore, I’m going to spend all my time thinking what’s the right way to fix them, to buy my supporters votes” 3
This contradicts DPM Tharman’s view in 2011 that a strong Opposition is good for Singapore and even the PAP 4
It is human nature to point fingers and find someone to blame when things go wrong. In our case, the person that would take the blame is none other than the leader of the PAP and our Prime Minister himself, Mr Lee Hsien Loong.
I believe that it is time for our PM to step down in the next elections. This would be good, not only for our nation but for the PAP too. It’s time for him to move on.
He may be a good politician, but right now Singapore needs leaders, not just mere politicians. Leaders make tough choices and make sacrifices, politicians play along in a system that benefits them.
This Government under Lee Hsien Loong has overseen a gradual decline in Governance.
Let me bring your attention to the Population White Paper. The Population White Paper was touted to improve our economy and ensure Singapore’s success in a highly-competitive world. But in reality, it was a last ditch effort and it shows that our Government has run out of ideas. Instead of grooming local business, they resort to bringing in large numbers of foreigners. It may boost our economy for now, but it will also bring a whole new set of problems which have yet to unfold.
The total foreign workforce now stands at 1.3 million. But 985,000, or 75% per cent of our foreign workforce, are low-skill employees with work permits. 5
In other words, Singapore’s economy grew because of this cheap, disposable labour. Is this the sort of society we want to be?
And to whoever that opposes their policies, they are called xenophobes and even bigots. Constantly labelling those who oppose their policies as xenophobes reminds me of how they labelled whoever opposed them as Communists and Marxists.
The Today newspaper reported that the average salary increase this year is 4.3%. Fellow Singaporeans 6, let me ask you, has your pay increased?
Income inequality is also rapidly on the rise, we have one of the highest income inequality among developed countries. In layman terms, the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. The richest 20% in Singapore earns as much as the poorest 80% in Singapore. So much for a swiss standard of living.
In the last 3 years since GE 2011 all that the PAP that they have been doing is running after problems with solutions instead of preventing them. And even their solutions do not tackle the roots of the problem. This lack of foresight and poor problem solving will bring dire consequences in the long run.
On Thursday, the North South Line was disrupted twice. But SMRT can still talk about plans to decorate cabins and even invite buskers to perform on trains. We have million dollar ministers and brilliant think tanks, but they can’t even solve the root of the problem. This is nothing but a sick joke. Solve the problems of overcrowding and break downs first, don’t sidestep the real problem. Do you think we are stupid?
Follow Singaporeans, let me ask you some questions.
Given all that have happened in the last decade under the leadership of Lee Hsien Loong,
Do you still Trust our Government?
Do you still Trust Lee Hsien Loong?
Do you want a leader who Rules by Fear and Tyranny?
Do you want a leader who calls his people a disgrace to the nation?
Then what are we waiting for? Vote for Change!
PM Lee, do you hear the people sing?
We need leaders who lead the people and not rule the people. Leaders who inspire, not instill fear. This climate of fear is still present in Singapore. MARUAH has estimated that close to 10% of voters fear that their votes may not be secret 7. Our Government has also detained more than 700 people under the ISA too 8. Ruling by fear might have worked in the past, but it will not work anymore. We will not bow down to tyranny any more.
GST Vouchers are being given out now. Brothers and Sisters, let me tell you this. Take the money, take their handouts. take whatever they give you. Receive it with open arms, because it is rightfully yours. Play along with them, let them think that they have bought your votes. Come voting day, just vote for change. This time no handouts, apologies or crocodile tears will do the trick.
You can fool some people sometime, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.
We aren’t the same people that were once under your iron fist. Your ways may not have changed, but we the people have changed. We are a new breed of Singaporeans, we do not succumb to your fear-mongering or subscribe to your Propaganda anymore. Don’t expect us to be silent and apathetic. We will not simply move on. We’re the awakened ones, we are your worst nightmare. Brothers and Sisters, if we hold on together, I know our dreams will never die.
Even though some tracts of our population have fallen or may fallen into the grip of the PAP, we shall not fear or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in Ang Mo Kio, we shall fight on Tanjong Pagar, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the rest of Singapore. We shall fight for our nation’s future, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in Hong Lim Park,; we shall never surrender, and if, they ever bring us down our idea will live on. Ideas are bulletproof. Others will continue our struggle, until, we the people, with all our power and might, steps forth to rescue and liberate our nation.
We may not be around when the consequences of our ignorance and political apathy materialize. Lee Hsien Loong himself may not be around, but our children will be. And it is our responsibility to help install a political system where their lives are safeguarded, and the interests of Singaporeans are put first. This can only be achieved with strong leader to lead the system. If you ever are in doubt or fear, do not ask yourself what will happen if I speak? But ask yourself what will be the consequences if I don’t speak out? Don’t let our children suffer the consequences of the our fear and apathy. If we hold on to this unity, there is no force in the world that can stop us.
I say once again we need leaders, not mere Politicians. We need leaders Lim Chin Siong, Chia Thye Poh, Goh Keng Swee, Toh Chin Chye, Deva Nair, Ong Teng Cheong, JB Jeyaretnam and Chee Soon Juan. We need leaders who truly serve the people, who put the interests of the nation before their own, who are down to earth and humble, who lead by respect, not fear who not only talk but also walk the talk, who embrace change, who act on the basis of their beliefs, instead of conforming to popular vote, who are truly democratic.
We’ve had a couple of People’s Presidents in the past, it’s about time we have a People’s Parliament.
Look at Hong Kong, half a million people took to the streets to protest against their Government and a 17 Year Old Student Activist Joshua Wong also was one of the leaders of that protest. Some may say that we can only dream of such things in Singapore, but I strongly believe when we are united we can and we will make that dream a reality. It is an integral part of a democracy. Let us learn from our brothers and sisters in Hong Kong. Do not be afraid anymore. Change is on the Horizon, my friends.
Before I end, I would just like to remind you that in each of your hands, you possess the power to elect your next Prime Minister. You may be suffering now, but if things don’t change, it would only get worse for our children, and our children’s children. So let us walk the talk, and be the change vote for change in 2016. And from now till then, do your part and educate your friends and family too. Let us all rise up and fight for our future together.
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.
It’s time to Wake Up, Singapore.
Never forget that the power of the people is far greater than the people in power. Governments should be afraid of their people, people shouldn’t be afraid of their Governments.
This article is courtesy of Ariffin Sha. The original article can be found here.