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Policies should stand up to vigorous debate: WP's Gerald Giam

But there should not be a presumption that such passionate back-and-forth will lead to deadlock, the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament pointed out. 

SINGAPORE: Rushing to implement policies may cause citizens pain and unhappiness, said Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Gerald Giam as he spoke at the debate on the President's address.

Quality should not be sacrificed for efficiency, he said, calling for proper and informed debates and necessary policy adjustments before schemes are rolled out.

Mr Giam also said there should not be a presumption that vigorous and passionate debates will lead to deadlock. But he warned that for constructive politics to occur, debates should not get personal and descend into unnecessary political attacks.

If that happens, the risk is that focus would be lost, with people becoming cynical about the political process.

He said that the Workers' Party will support the government on policies that are good for the country. Where that's not the case, Mr Giam said his party will oppose policies and propose alternatives where possible.

He also spoke on the need to incentivise hard work, and discourage rent-seeking behaviour in Singapore, noting that some sectors appear to be particularly rent-seeking in nature.

Mr Giam highlighted the plight of families unable to get by even with working members and community assistance, suggesting that some families need to be given financial assistance on a longer term basis, until their circumstances change.

Mr Giam also criticised components of the Central Provident Fund pensions scheme, which he said leaves many retirees struggling to make ends meet.

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