Ok, since everyone and his Uncle Low in the Opposition have made known their manifesto, I guess I should have a go to0.
If I ever shall offer myself for the general election in Singapore, this is what I promise to do and why I am doing so:
- I will give every tax-paying citizen a tax holiday for one financial year; for those who have stopped paying tax, I will refund their last paid tax; for those who don’t and have never paid tax, I’ll give them an amount equivalent to the lowest tax paid in the financial year.
The reason is to encourage citizens to pay tax: the more you pay, the more you will be rewarded. The corollary to that is obvious.
- I will give a one-time amnesty to all death row prisoners, by commuting their death sentences to life imprisonment. And life really means “life” in this instance.
I do this firstly for the law enforcers: the police, the prosecutors, the judge, the president and even the Cabinet. Don’t think they don’t feel bad to have a hand in the process of executing another human being, even if the condemned person is like the cold blooded killer, nicknamed One-Eye Dragon.
I also do it for the condemned. Hell, you think a death sentence is bad? Try what it feels like when you are 27 years old and you could be sitting in the cell for the next 50 to 60 years! So while I’m not against the death sentence in each and every capital offence, I think hanging could be losing it’s deterrent effect whereas when a life sentence means “life” — not 20, 25, 30 years — would-be, implusive or deliberate, criminals may have second thoughts!
- I will make the State fund free meal kitchens at MRT stations and co-fund those already run by charity and/or religious organisations. These will be open to the destitute or those who simply don’t get enough to eat — because they don’t earn enough, are sick, poor and don’t have (or don’t have enough) savings. Such kitchens will be open to children from dirt poor families. There will be draconian penalties for anyone who abuse these free meal kitchens.
The reason for such a comprehensive network of free meal kitchens is to ensure that no one in Singapore starves, however much the individuals have done to bring themselves down to such a state of penury as not to be able to afford two decent meals a day. If I have my way, I never want to see another like the old vagrant I’ve written about in this blog here, here and here.
- I will make it compulsory to roster all secondary school children from four and five room HDB flats and all private properties to help out at the soup kitchens as well as family centres and other congregation points for the disadvantaged. The kids at international or other private schools licensed by the Ministry of Education are also coralled while all children from 3-room HDB flats or worse participate on a voluntary basis. Families who try to escape by registering as 3-room dwellers will face severe penalties if found out.
The reason for this program is to expose children to the reality of poverty in Singapore and also to help them better appreciate what they themselves have. While there is no grinding poverty in Singapore like that in some countries, too many of us — including even some members of my family (!) — have for too long been turning a blind eye to the obvious poor in our midst! And i don’t mean just those collecting scraps of cardboard or raiding trash bins for their next meal.
- I will have all hospitals that are funded by tax payers’ money keep their medical centres ie specialists clinics with ancillary facilities open 7 days a week. If restaurants, news organisations, shopping malls, the police and even hospital emergency rooms can run all week, why not specialist clinics?
The main reasons are to use extremely expensive facilities more intensely and give patients and their care-givers more choice of slots for consultation. More doctors and supporting staff will be needed to run the 7-day week schedule but the medical profession may baulk at the prospect of being rostered to work the traditional week-end. Still, if other people-heavy professions can run such schedules without breaking down, why not those who seek to cure the sick?
- Last but not least, the HDB. Mr Low Thia Khiang, the Workers Party boss, says he will disband the People’s Association if his party gets into power. For me, I want to bring the HDB back to its roots: provide housing for the poor. Better still, just concentrate on housing those who can’t afford to buy even HDB and can rent only and even then only at HDB’s highly subsidised rates.
Reason is obvious: the HDB can’t provide housing to Singaporeans, generation after generation, without creating a crutch mentality in the majority of the population. So best draw that line in the sand: if Singaporeans can afford cars, expensive meals, travel, time off etc and yet when it comes to owning a home aren’t able to do it without the HDB, then we haven’t grown up at all where our financial planning is concerned!
But of course i’m not standing for election! So I can afford to take such an uncompromising position when I haven’t a hope in a million in the upcoming or any election for that matter