Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is facing serious criticism after he essentially admitted that the HDB upgrading program favors wards that support his PAP party. The remarks were made in reply to a question from a student that attended the Ministerial Forum at the National University of Singapore. Since the remarks were first reported to the public, they have received significant attention online with the majority of the reaction being highly critical of the Prime Minister’s position.
The exchange started with a student pointing out that wards that picked against the PAP in elections do not get equal treatment to ones that voted for the party and that this seems to be a form of penalty that the government uses to punish wards that vote outside party lines and to reward the ones that support the PAP.
The Prime Minister’s response to this was not to deny that it happens, but to claim that it is just and fair for the PAP government to reward their supporters in such a way.
“The answer is that there has to be a distinction, because the PAP wards supported the government and the policies which delivered these good things.”
As a response to Mr. Lee’s justification of this practice, the student joked that maybe the wards that do not benefit from the government programs should receive some level of tax break or less time in national service.
Of course, the Prime Minister dismissed the comment and then moved on to suggest what people can do to help extend these benefits to their wards. What was his solution to the problem? Prime Minister Lee said, “But you can do something about it, you know. You don’t have to keep voting for people not in white-on-white.”