Speaking to 530 grassroots leaders at a post-National Day Rally dialogue at Ci Yuan Community Club on Sunday (14 Oct), PM Lee Hsien Loong said that Singaporeans should not allow social stratification to harden.
He stressed the importance of not leaving behind lower-income Singaporeans, and said that the wealthy and successful should not hao lian (show off).
“The way you dress, the way you talk, what you eat, and where you go on holiday. You compare notes then you feel, I show you a little bit (that) I am better than you. I think we have to combat that.”
“No need to show off, and people are not impressed. If you succeed, remember, it is not purely the result of your own hard work or even of your own talent. Because many others have helped you along the way.”
However, it’s uncertain if Mr Lee, who serves as the secretary-general of the PAP, has made similar exhortations of his PAP cadres.
Or, whether some just didn’t get the message.
Netizen Donald Liew posted a video in July 2018 showing luxury cars parked at Orchid Country Club claiming that they belong to PAP MPs.
“Every Wednesday morning a bunch of PAP MP will play golf at Orchid country club. I am a paying member there and I am very sure they are not member. I am wondering is this perks make known to the public? Is it in line with what they so call clean wages. I have taken a Video in the car park. They are all driving luxury car like Mclaren, Bentley that cost more than 1 m. Singapore now has no more civil servant, but only civil boss, that’s why they are driving bigger cars and living in bigger houses than us.”
One of those luxury cars, a white Bentley Continental GTC V8 4.0A convertible, was identified by The Online Citizen as belonging to PAP MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh Chong Kee Hiong.
Fu’s Mercedes didn’t cost as much of a stir as much of a stir as Chong’s Bentley, probably because it costs about a third of the price.
But, what stirred public anger was the perceived division between the haves and have-nots after Fu’s defence of MPs paying just S$1 a day for the privilege of parking across all public carparks in Singapore.
Season parking for residents at HDB carparks costs in the region of S$1000 for one carpark lot in one housing estate.
In the words of Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin, who is also the chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for transport:
“It appears to me that it is becoming very fashionable not to drive so much, maybe not even to own a car, and to take public transport more…even to walk and to cycle.”