Imagine Singapore without the PAP and its policies

A demonstration in South Korea over the MV Sewol ferry disaster.

During the recent President’s Address at the opening of Parliament, two points that were made was 1. about having “appropriate checks and balances so that alternative views can be heard” and 2. that the government will study the current political system and see if tweaks are necessary so the system can improve. At a recent think-tank discussion, union chief Chan Chun Sing also made a point about how “Our (Singapore leaders) concern is not whether the People’s Action Party will rule forever. Our larger concern is whether Singapore will last forever. Political parties are there to lead, but political parties must evolve in order to make sure the higher goal of sustaining the country is achieved.”

Union chief Chan Chun Sing and NTUC director of Industrial Relations fieldwork Melvin Yong talk to workers.
Union chief Chan Chun Sing and NTUC director of Industrial Relations fieldwork Melvin Yong chatting with workers.

With that, we wonder (and attempt to illustrate) how life would be for Singaporeans if the PAP had not won the elections back in the 60s. Here are a few possible scenarios…

Free Speech?
Perhaps protests and speeches will not be restricted to Hong Lim Park. Anyone can talk about their feelings, complain about anything and advocate what they believe in, anywhere they wanted. Of course this is assuming we didn’t fall into the hands of the communists at that time.

In South Korea, it’s not uncommon to see protestors on the streets, at any corner. Some protest the lack of government intervention in certain issues (like the sinking of the MV Sewol, where some bodies have not yet been retrieved) while others protest the raising of rent of their retail space.

A demonstration in South Korea over the MV Sewol ferry disaster.
A demonstration in South Korea over the MV Sewol ferry disaster.

Affordable Housing?
Your HDBs won’t be pegged to market rates and prices will be regulated. This way, public housing here won’t cost so much. This also means that the prices will remain largely stagnant and people will start treating their houses as homes, and not as assets. So don’t think your HDB will be a golden egg and think you’ll be a little lucky golden goose. Because it won’t be, so you won’t be. Because you’re a human.


No Tripartism?
There might not have been a working tripartite system. Tripartism, for those of you who are unaware, is like a three-legged bar stool. For the stool to be sturdy enough to support your weight without you falling off and breaking your neck, all 3 legs have to strong. Essentially, tripartism is the relationship between the government, trade unions and employers, coming together and taking a problem-solving approach to resolve industrial relations issues.

What can one expect without tripartism? For one, opines Member of Parliament Melvin Yong,  who is also director of Industrial Relations fieldwork in NTUC, the different partners might do things based on what they think is right, or what would serve their best interests. Trade unions might go on strikes for their workers, bringing disruptions to the economy, and employers might do things that are only best for their business (such as pushing costs to customers and exploiting workers) while Governments might implement policies that might not benefit both workers and businesses.

Melvin Yong visits National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) workers on New Year's Day.
Melvin Yong visits National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) workers on New Year’s Day.

Higher Car Ownership?
Cars might be cheaper and more families might own cars. In return… I want to say we’ll have happier families, but honestly given our size I think what we’ll get in return is probably smog and traffic jams, and families complaining about the smog and traffic jams. #sorrynotsorry To solve this we might build more roads to ease the traffic congestions and this of course, might result in our green or social spaces being replaced by roads, because hey, the space has to come from somewhere right?


Poverty Line?
Perhaps we will finally have a poverty line, which might give an indication of how many live below that line (or, are poor) and… well, that’s pretty much it.

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