The GE aftermath - Cabinet shake out
Hsien Loong gave his cabinet a big shake out and ended up with a new wardrobe. Two were rejected earlier in the GE, two were out of fashion and retired, two museum pieces were removed, and three unpopular pieces were thrown out. In came two of the latest fashionwear while the whole wardrobe was rearranged with mix and match. The people must be eagerly waiting to see what new clothes would Hsien Loong wear, and hopefully not the same proverbial emperor’s new clothes again. With the superannuation of three of the most controversial ministers, and the big shuffle, Hsien Loong has cleared up everything and preparing a new recipe. The old mindset, the old clever ways and the old sacred cows are expected to be slaughtered. The new men in charge have no need to defend them and not having to answer for them. Can the people really hope for a new and radical change? For a start, no more $8 heart by pass. On the other hand, maybe $8 for a 5 rm flat. If the former is possible, the later should be easy. From all the signals flying around, the great housing success stories are history. The people can expect the whole ministry to be turned upside down, with the past glories turning to past follies. With a new man in Health, would the policies of having world class hospitals be toned down when there are not enough world class patients to pay the world class bills? There is no doubt that the public hospitals are world class and a pride of the nation. Unfortunately many patients would be made bankrupt if they are admitted for a major illness or have to stay in a few days longer. The minister must be reminded of the saying, ‘better die than be sick.’ Transportation is likely to be relooked at. This is a major infrastructure issue that cannot be transformed overnight. It would take longer than 3 to 4 years of building a public flat to restructure the transportation system. But the ineffective use of hiking ERP charges and parking fees that would not change anything may not be applied so regularly as in the past. The immediate issue is to bring down transportation cost before it paralyses a whole nation, with people choosing to stay at home when they find it too costly to take public transport. Changes are expected in all the ministries after the mechanic opened the shining car’s bonnet only to find practically every system in need of a major overhaul. Funny isn’t it? How did all this come about? The voice of a disgruntled people has finally been heard, and the people wanted change, by throwing their support for opposition voices. The popularity vote for the govt is down to a level that if nothing changes, the next election could see the govt being bundled out for good. The voice will be louder with the liberalization of the new media. The gongs and the bells are ringing loud and clear, incessantly. The noise is no longer noise, but anger, frustration, and unhappiness. Clarification, this group excludes those that have already attained a Swiss standard of living, and the believers. The govt would have to take heed or it would not be given another chance. Hsien Loong’s ransacking of his cabinet is a big signal for change. Now the people wait, while the changes take shape, for good or for worst. 5 years is all Hsien Loong got. PS. Originally I wanted to end this article with 'The reign of Hsien Loong starts today'. Looking at the big picture, I changed my mind.