17 November 2006

More About the Complaining MPs

ST Online Forum, Nov 17, 2006
MP's remarks about 'complaining' S'poreans are unfair

I agree fully with the views expressed by Mr Benny Tan Seng Hee and Mr Wang Tiancheng, who reacted to Dr Mohd Maliki Osman's statement that Singapore is becoming a nation of problem-identifiers, not problem-solvers.

As an ordinary Singapore citizen, I would like to state that words cannot describe my disappointment with Dr Maliki.

I would take this opportunity to raise some questions and seek further clarifications on his statements in Parliament.

Isn't it ironic that Dr Maliki, an MP and community leader who was elected by Singaporeans who believe and have trust in his abilities to serve them, complain about Singaporeans' complaints?

I hope that it is not a sign that the MP is getting sidetracked from the tasks at hand by making statements and raising issues which do not significantly benefit anyone.

Exactly what is wrong with Singaporeans requesting assistance from the authorities when there is a problem?

Isn't this the most logical and civilised thing to do? Dr Maliki cited an example of residents calling their town councils when the lift landings are dirty. Is it wrong for residents who contribute monthly to the conservancy and maintenance costs of the estate to do so?

I strongly disagree with the statement that by 'giving feedback' to government agencies, many adults are bad role models for their children.

Filing complaints or 'giving feedback' is a legal and peaceful means of seeking redress, change and improvements.

This process educates the young to respect the nation's laws and raises awareness on the proper channels that are available to citizens. This will also provide them with the assurance that their views will not go unheard.

Dr Maliki's labelling of Singaporeans as 'problem identifiers' and 'problem referrers' is condescending, unfair and uncalled for. As far as I'm concerned, these negative labels have the potential to cause many Singaporeans to be upset, especially those who have voted for him to represent them in Parliament.

With all due respect, Dr Maliki should realise that delivering promises and staying focused on serving the needs of Singaporeans, regardless of how big or small the issue is, is part and parcel of his challenges as an elected Member of Parliament.

I invite Dr Maliki to clarify and explain his statements.

Mohammad Fahmi Bin Ahmad Abu Bakar

Technorati: ; .

Backgrounders: The earlier story..


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

I just deleted the above comment. I do agree with many of the points made, but one particular word used in the comment may potentially be construed to be unduly offensive (bearing in mind the MP's religion).

Anonymous said...

It goes to show that the PAP are so arrogant, so out of touch. They believe that their policies, their system is so perfect and foolproof that there SHOULDN'T BE ANY COMPLAINS! Absolutely show their mindset. Anybody who brings out problems to them are "complainers" and "whinners"

Anonymous said...

Coffee Shop Talk - Double Standards From The Government? Subscribe
From: makapa 09:50
To: ALL 1 of 2


Double Standards From The Government?
We have seen the continuous efforts from the government telling Singaporeans the need to get their skills upgraded in this ever competitive landscape. On one hand, we have been told that when we upgrade our skill-sets, opportunities will be plentiful. On the other hand, the government opens the flood gate in issuing work permits and PR status, thus creating competition for Singaporeans. I think the agencies in question need to sit down to look into this seriously. What are the priorities?
What is more important? Getting more ‘would be Singaporeans’ to join us to boost our GDP or helping real ‘authentic’ Singaporeans find jobs? It seems that the government is interested in getting quick fixes. I have seen reports saying we need to have foreign talents so that MNCs would be more interested in setting up operations and investing in Singapore. Let’s not forget that the Government’s responsibility is to take care of its people first. What’s the point of having investments in the pipeline when there are real Singaporeans suffering and can’t wait to end their lives. We have heard of the $500,000 MRT ride.
We have also not seen the actual breakdown of jobs that was really offered to Singaporeans as MOM has a way of including PRs as Singaporeans. Perhaps more could be researched onto how long a PR actually stays in Singapore before they leave the country and how many of these PRs actually commit themselves and become a Singaporean.

I want to make a clear distinction between foreign talents and foreign workers. Not all foreign workers are really talented and thanks for the excellent branding our government gives them. We have just inadvertently told the world that we’re not good enough. Try telling that to the South Koreans, a country that treasures their local talents and have made huge leaps of progress without jeopardizing welfare and jobs by opening up the flood gates via a foreign talent policy.

Living standards are rising by the day but it seems that salaries have not increased much to match inflation. What’s the reason for that? The influx of foreign talents is the root cause of it. We should welcome the foreign talents but not ‘over embracing’ them. Can you tell me which employer would not like to have lower paying salaried workers? By having an over supply of low-wage workers, it is just Economics 101. The salaries will either maintain or go down. This situation worsens when we have more supply. Take a look at Old Chang Kee and you will see workers of different nationalities. When there are too much foreign entry level workers and not enough jobs, we create other social problems. Crime rates go up but at whose expense? Just take a look at Little India and you will realize that it can get really rowdy at times.

How about the mid-tier jobs? You have slogged through 16 years of studying only to realize that there are literally thousands of foreign workers vying for the same job. With that ratio, it is hardly surprising that all the good jobs would have already been taken up. In India alone, there are 400,000 computer science graduates every year. How about China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam? By making Singapore a haven, the situation is only going to get worse. We need to ask ourselves when the authorities will say enough is enough and put a stop to that. Until we hit a population of 7 or 8 Million people? What are the jobs left then? Jobs like Retail, Customer Service, Receptionist, Insurance / Property Agents? You don’t study 16 years to do that.

Let’s not forget our roots and create a Singaporean for Singapore society.

Options Reply

From: makapa 10:24
To: makapa 2 of 2

124044.2 in reply to 124044.1

From: Noor Aiza Mohamed Joz [mailto:noor@sph.com.sg] On Behalf Of STForum
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 2:10 PM
To: edmund@infiniquetech.com
Subject: Re: Double Standards From The Government?

Thank you for writing to us. We do appreciate your making the effort.

We receive 70 letters on average each day. Limited space means we can publish only about a dozen every weekday.
This means having to make often-difficult editorial judgments on which letters to publish.

We regret we are unable to publish your letter, and hope you will appreciate the constraints on space we face every day.
We hope you will continue taking an interest in the Forum Page.

Yours sincerely

Ms Noor Aiza
for Forum Editor
The Straits Times

Options Reply

Anonymous said...

actually, i think Dr. Maliki has a point. if you've ever been involved in community work, it's actually very difficult to get people to act, to empower themselves, to push for positive change. complaining doesn't equate to being involved with your community, it's a form of disengagement. it's saying, here's a problem, you solve it. i'll just sit back and wait cuz i've done my part. this isn't active citizenry. from my point of view and my fustrations, it's like, you're disempowering yourself. you give the power and ability to effect change back to those in 'authority'.

Anonymous said...

"If citizens are empowered to effect the changes..."

That is a big IF.

The truth is sadly opposite. we are not empowered to make changes as changes cost money. We paid money to people for them to do their duty and due dilligence.

When a patient pays money to a doctor, he expects to be cured of his illment. A patient knows he is sick and seeks help and highlights to the doctor. The patient cannot solve his own problem.

When a client pays money to a lawyer, he expects the lawyer to solve his legal issues. Since he knows he have legal issues and identified the problems, but he cannot solve it.

Hence it is as follows.

We pay money to town councils and we would expect them to do their jobs. We pay taxes to government and we expect the government to do their jobs. We pay the ministers world class salary, hence we expect world class solutions.
Else why should we pay? there is Key Performance Indexs everywhere, why is there none on MPs and ministers?

Just my 2 cents worth

Anonymous said...

dear xav

It is not that the people have disempower themselves. This was systematicaly (whether deliberate or not)done over the past 40 years under PAP. In the good old days (up to the early 1970s)the unwritten understanding was that you can do this and that as long as it is not specifically written in law that it is not allowed. Let me illustrate a simple example:If villagers/kampong folks feel that a tree is in danger of collapsing or even deem to be affecting the feng shui of the place. It will be down in no time BY THE VILLAGERS/KAMPONG FOLKS themselves. Do you remember those days? Are you old enough to remember then?

The mentality that prevails now is that if it is not specifically stated or written that you can do so, then you are not allow to do it. Everything is so stringently regulated. (Mobile canteen - only open at certain car parks and at certain times) Nobody is sure what can or cannot be done. This is precisely the sorry state of affairs.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Please check if you need a permit, before cutting down any tree. Otherwise you may be committing a criminal offence.

See the Parks & Trees Act.

Anonymous said...

What about MPs complaining and whining about people getting more whining and complaining?

I am also sick of that too!

Seems like the favourite thing for bo liao MPs to do, when they have nothing important to say in Parliament, is to complain and whine about other people. Why don't they start telling us what fancy and wonderful ideas they have contributed since being re-elected?

Oh yeah, the GST hike .... very meaningful indeed.

Anonymous said...

well yeah, times have changed and we've given up most of our power to the government. which came up with all these wierd laws and restrictions.
hrm.. but how can we take back this power?
i suppose generally by being involved. in effective ways.
and just complaining isn't really being involved.

its a cycle.. if you can see the pattern.

institutions and governments are as such... citizens are as such...
just gonna have to chip away at it huh? if you want to tip the balance in our favor alittle more.

i dont think we should be so dismissive abt everything. sure, complain, but take some responsibility.. and do something abt it.

Anonymous said...

it is like you voted the nazis party into power.

during the good times, you bochup. they are now so entrenched that its hard to dislodge them.

remember, the army will intervene in freak elections. lets not forget PAP's private army of gurkhas soldiers.

Anonymous said...

Our MPs and Ministers are a whiny lot, aren't they?

Next time, I see a dirty lift landing, I'll just break the faucets that are locked up by PUB to clean it. I'll get the whole block of residents to join in too. I hope we don't get arrested for damaging property though; that'd be like hundreds of us. And if I think the 2% GST hike is unfair, maybe I'll just call up Dr Chee to demostrate in front of the Istana. Since MPs can't solve our problems now, might as well turn to him.

Anonymous said...

Or did you mean seditious? Shame on you, it's still censorship.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Surprise. I don't have very much sympathy for the convicted bloggers. If you are interested, you can search my (many) old blog posts on those matters.

Anonymous said...

Call in the army if "freak" election occurs?!?! We ARE the army, every men citizens of Singapore. Even after full time NS we still have reservist. I actually don't understand what MIW mean???. Brothers against brothers, father against sons, uncles against nephews, neighbours against neighbours. WHAT IS THE OLD MAN SAYING???!!!

Anonymous said...


I drafted responses twice but somehow was not able to post it. Anyway, my main points were that we are in the situation we are in, primarily because of the past actions of the government. Look at the larger picture and a little into the past. The government has always been a 'big brother' who knows best. Singaporeans are conditioned to accept that whatever the government does is good for the country. We are never encouraged or even prohibited to think critically nor admit contrary perspectives.

Culturally and training wise, we have never been encouraged to think differently or act on our own, outside of proper channels (meaning government channels). Have you ever tried providing feedbacks to the government? (I have, many times) However, our civil servants always know better. Have you ever been to your MP? (I have) You may get some sympathy but not necessarily resolution because the PAP MP will put the request through the system and you will get the official response at the end of the day.

Let's face it. The only NGO type organisations allow more leeways are VWO and this is probably changed premanently by NKF.

So, do you still think we should take more ownership and not complain so much? And that the MPs complaining about citizens whinning is reasonable? MPs are elected to represent the citizens. If they do not have the capacity to empathise with the ordinary folks' views, fears and aspirations, perhaps they should reconsider if it is the right role for them.

Mind My Wealth said...

I hope somehow the populace can be reminded the next time this MP is standing to be Voted. If these bo chap MP's are going to complain about the very people they claim to help before they got elected, then they should RESIGN. BTW was this MP elected or fortunate enough to be in a walkover electroal boundary?

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