Love Singapore. Vision 2020: Dr Michael Fang

As the dust from General Elections 2020 settles down and as Singaporeans turn to their daily grind, one does have a question: How will Singapore progress henceforth and in light of post Covid-19?
The immediate economic prospects look gloomy, but as they say, there is always a silver lining in every cloud.
The world is at a crossroads of economic conflict, battled between United States of America (USA) and China, with other players, including Singapore, holding their baited breath on the outcomes of regional trade and economic interests. The choice has not always been easy, especially so for Singapore, with its longstanding history of commercial interests as an international port of call,
having one of the highest trading volumes in the world, as well as being a financial hub for regional and international trade. Boasting a lassie-faire and offering tax holidays, Singapore attracts investments and capital from the world over.
Singapore’s position as a neutral player and a US ally puts it in conflict with its role as the gateway to China and North Asia. With increasing globalisation and the rise of China as a superpower, the call for middle ground has been difficult, now exacerbated by the polarisation and grinding of teeth between the superpowers. Players are increasingly forced to choose sides, especially with the escalating trade war and deteriorating economy. The USA, unlike in the past, is less inclined to defend the economic interests of its allies with its US-first posturing.
So, how does the trade war affect us, Singaporeans have often asked?
Singapore has an international port and the earnings have a ‘trickle down’ effect sustaining big businesses, SMEs and local players down the value chain. The same goes with the financial hub and various sectors of the external economy in the hopes that such trickle-down-effect of the economy will generate taxes, public and private sector earnings that will benefit the common man on the street.
However, while in the past such a system would naturally would have worked like magic, with increasing globalisation and intense competition, this system seem to work
less and less for the common man and SMES and more for global corporatism. Using Singapore’s capital tax free system, many companies have set up bases here, which led to a boom in the early days of Singapore’s growth. But, in recent years, due to rising costs of setting up business and costs of living, salaries, and high rental, we have seen an exodus of many businesses relocating to ASEAN hinterland and other countries.
The simple solution has been to mass import foreign labour, which might not translate to talent, but rather a cheap source of labour with sizeable revenues from foreign-worker-levy for the government.
This has been the root cause for some of the economic problems and hence social problems for Singapore even prior to Covid19. Understanding this is crucial to our analysis – COVID-19 hardened the situation, exacerbating and extenuating the downward spiral.
The first wave of COVID-19 arriving in Singapore in Jan 2020, followed by early containment and subsequent outbreaks in following months played into the fear of Singaporeans. Hence, when the general elections were held with the consternation of opposition parties offering Singaporeans a myriad of choices often with conflicting and confusing messages played was once again into the hands of PAP, giving them a winning hand.
Remarkably, I find myself contemplating, is the opposition truly without solutions and hence less credible? I do find myself pouring through various opposition-party manifestos and ostensibly there are some interesting solutions which can be looked at.
Of late, I wrote a book called ‘Love Singapore, Vision 2020 ‘ in which I laid out possible proposals
and considered myself to be a patriot when writing this in 2019
and hoped to present to both Proposition and Opposition alike. There are many prominent politicians featured in this election, including the stalwart bulk of the PAP politicians like Lee Hsien Loong, Chan Chun Seng, Dr Chee Soon Juan, Tharman, Paul Thambiyah, Lim Tean, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, Ja…