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Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Stewing Brainz

An noteworthy article in the Straits Times today. You can click on the link for the full article; only select parts will be highlighted here:

PAP raps WP for ill-timed silence and double-talk

THE People's Action Party (PAP) has criticised the Workers' Party (WP), saying it failed to make its stand clear on important issues at critical points.
WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiang, it added, is often 'quick to criticise, yet offers no serious proposals'.

Taking aim at the WP and the MP for Hougang - in the latest issue of the PAP newsletter Petir - was Dr Ng Eng Hen, who said: 'Singaporeans deserve more from Mr Low and the WP than silence at defining moments, or double-talk when pressed to state their stand.'...

... Another instance was the WP May Day message asking if Singaporeans 'truly benefited' from job creation last year.

PAP MP Seng Han Thong, an NTUC assistant secretary-general, asked at the time if all Hougang Town Council employees were Singaporeans. The WP said they were and added that it did not object to contractors hiring foreigners.

Said Dr Ng: 'This is another cop-out. If the WP truly believes that all jobs should be reserved for Singaporeans, why does it not insist that its town-council contractors hire local workers only?'

The Government, in contrast, has 'a clear stand'. While foreign workers keep the economy competitive, the Government also does its utmost to raise the skills of Singaporeans, said Dr Ng, who is now Education Minister, but previously held the Manpower portfolio...

... Mr Low is out of town. But WP chairman Sylvia Lim responded yesterday.

She said the party's policy positions were clearly laid out in its manifesto at the 2006 General Election.

Since then, the WP took on issues such as the goods and services tax hike, ministerial pay, means testing, constitutional amendments and criminal justice.

On Mr Low's silence in response to PM Lee, she said: 'Benchmarking ministerial pay to corporate pay, but without corresponding corporate consequences, brings to the fore the contentious issue of whether ministers should be paid at top corporate rates. Is the comparison of minister to CEO valid?'

She added that the WP is not against foreign workers.

Rather, given that Singaporeans were told they had to be grateful that foreign workers saved their jobs, the WP questioned 'how far Singaporeans' social standing and prospects have been eroded... Does the PAP not know this is a real ground concern?'

Here at Fresh Brainz, we observe that Miss Sylvia Lim may have slightly under-stated the ground concern, which is not only confined to working-class Singaporeans.

Their anxieties are shared by many other individuals at other levels of society.

This has become a highly sensitive issue and the authorities should manage it with utmost care.