Criticisms not a rejection of all Government policies: MP Inderjit

SINGAPORE - Just over a week after writing a Facebook post that hit out hard at government policies and the civil service, Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Inderjit Singh has sought to clarify his remarks.

Mr Singh, a veteran MP of the People's Action Party (PAP), explained that although he had, in his earlier post, criticised policies he felt were wanting, he had also acknowledged that the Government was resolving many problems, such as those in areas like transport and housing, and was setting a new direction forward, especially in its social policies.

"Although I disagreed with some policies which I highlighted, some seem to think that I was rejecting all the PAP Government's policies, which is not the case," he said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

He had for example singled out the Pioneer Generation Package - what he called "the icing on the cake" - as an inclusive policy showing compassion.

And the Government, he is certain, will work on solving the problems he has highlighted, and look at ways at planning and implementing policies to better benefit Singaporeans in the future.

Last Monday, Mr Singh put his response to the President's Address on Facebook as he was overseas and unable to attend the week-long Parliament debate.

In the popular post, which has racked up over 2,000 shares and 3,000 likes, he was highly critical of government policies such as asset enhancement for homes and those that have kept wages low, which he said have served to deepen the wealth gap.

He also hit out at the influx of foreigners, which he said has eroded the sense of national identity, and spoke up against what he saw as a disconnect between "elite" policymakers and average Singaporeans, and complacency creeping into the civil service, that have affected policymaking.

But in his latest post, he expressed confidence that the Government would address these problems.

Approaches to major policies like Our Singapore Conversation, for instance, are a good way to encourage ground-up input to drive better policy-making, he said.

Improvements are coming: social safety nets put in place the last three years have helped, said Mr Singh, but what is needed are higher incomes, not more hand-outs.

He urged the Government to expand the progressive wage model, that is currently for cleaners and security officers, to more sectors.

Mr Singh added that Singaporeans had written to him, some thanking him for his post and others to correct some factual errors he had made.

In his earlier post, he had said that cost increases have outpaced wage increases. But commenters pointed out that government statistics show net wages for Singaporeans have risen, even after taking inflation into account.

Mr Singh had also written that the Government needs to keep in touch with local talent studying overseas, as some of these students might prefer to work outside Singapore if they did not feel welcome on their return home.

A Singaporean student in Britain wrote to him to tell him the National Population and Talent Division has been keeping in touch with Singaporeans studying overseas.

Some netizens also asked Mr Singh what drove him to speak up, and whether he believed his views would lead to concrete changes.

In his latest post, he said that "the reason I voice these concerns so confidently, is because I know they do not fall on deaf ears and that some action will be taken on them".

He added: "I have seen this for the past 18 years in Parliament and that spurs me on to keep on doing my best as an MP. So the PAP government can and will solve problems and we all must continue to voice our concerns and feedback."