Indranee criticises WP for claiming credit for Medishield Life proposals

The Workers' Party is quick to claim credit and call for more, but hesitant to offer their own detailed proposals, said Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Indranee Rajah. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
The Workers' Party is quick to claim credit and call for more, but hesitant to offer their own detailed proposals, said Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Indranee Rajah. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The Workers' Party (WP) is quick to claim credit and call for more, but hesitant to offer their own detailed proposals, said Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Indranee Rajah in a Facebook post on Monday morning.

The strongly-worded post, which she titled 'The Art of Claiming Credit', is in response to the WP's statement released last Friday on the new MediShield Life recommendations.

In the statement, the WP's Gerald Giam - a Non-constituency MP - welcomed the recommendations.

But, noted Ms Indranee, he was also "quick to claim credit".

The WP statement was "instructive in its approach" which was, she wrote, to "claim credit, keep it vague, and call for more".

In her Facebook post, Ms Indranee said: "We can infer from the speed at which WP has claimed credit for MediShield Life that they think it is a great idea. They are effectively saying MediShield Life enhancements are their idea."

Mr Giam had written that many of the recommended enhancements to the MediShield Life insurance scheme have "been articulated by Workers' Party MPs in Parliament as well as by many Singaporeans over the years".

This, she said, implied that MediShield Life was a result of the WP speaking up in parliament. "No credit is shared or given to anyone else," she wrote. This even though PAP MPs have also spoken up on healthcare in Parliament "and in far greater numbers and volubility".

Ms Indranee also noted that Mr Giam only gave a "vague" nod to Singaporeans. But MediShield Life, she wrote, was the result of the Our Singapore Conversation (OSC), which saw 50,000 Singaporeans sharing their views. Health care was identified as a key area where assurance was needed.

MediShield Life is, therefore, the sum of the combined efforts of OSC participants, civil servants in charge of the OSC, and "those who worked tirelessly on the policy recommendations", she said, highlighting the contributions of the Ministers for Health and Finance and the MediShield Life Review Committee headed by Mr Bobby Chin.

"It is a live example of what many have called for - a collaboration between government and people, and government listening and acting directly on what it has heard," said Ms Indranee.

She pointed out that in the recent Parliament debate, WP chief Low Thia Khiang had said that "constructive politics does not happen by order of the government nor does it happen through a national conversation or public consultation" - a lofty statement that dismissed the OSC process, she said.

Two weeks after dismissing the citizen feedback process, said Ms Indranee, WP now "seeks to take credit" on MediShield Life - one of the "most constructive outcomes" of national conversation and public consultation.

She also hit out at the final line in the WP's statement, which said that the party will "continue to advocate that the Government shoulder a higher proportion of healthcare costs, and share more risks on behalf of Singaporean families".

This "sweeping objective" comes with no concrete details or proposals on how this can be achieved, said Ms Indranee, and makes it seem as though the Government operates separately from its citizens.

"Never mind that when they call on the government to pay more, they are effectively calling on taxpayers to pay more, since government is funded largely through taxes," she wrote.

"Never mind that when they call upon the government to bear more risk, they are effectively asking the taxpayer to bear more risk as the risk has to be funded and paid for."

She also agreed with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who had in Parliament told Mr Low that the WP's stand cannot be "what the PAP is doing and a little better". That, he had said, meant the WP has no stand.

In her Facebook post on Monday, Ms Indranee wrote: "The sum total of what WP is really saying is: "Whatever the government does, we will say 'Do more!'"

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