So, parts of our sunny island is in danger of being submerged during high tides and torrential rain because of rising sea levels and an increase in mean global temperatures. The prime minister has come up with a 100 year plan and a 100 billion budget. But there is no white paper, no expert opinion on this project and no public consultation either, just a proclamation from him. While he is fussing over the weather, local politics is heating up with growing concerns over the lack of transparency, accountability and due process.
His other proclamation is to build a Downtown South, modelled after Downtown East, in the heart of the city. This has rattled the former presidential candidate and the secretary general of the newly formed Progress Singapore Party, Dr Tan Cheng Bock. He pointed out the correct process would be to let the Singapore Land Authority administer the re-purposing of the land.
There is no information about what these projects entail. Just a sketchy image of what the great southern corridor might look like.
It is an audacious plan, no doubt. No sitting government can say with certainty that they’ll be in power for the next 100 years for them to endorse this, let alone execute this. Sounds like how some Japanese companies plan their business for the next two hundred years. However, with companies business continuity is easier to plan. Democracy is a messy process, and as far as Singapore is concerned, it is just a lip service.
There is also no information whatsoever on the mechanics of how these projects will be financed. Will it mean that the government is going to increase our taxes or GST? Or, will the government draw down from our reserves? If so, has the president been consulted on this? Or is the government going to issue another bond and use our CPF funds to finance it?
I’m curious to know what will happen to property values in the East Coast now that we know that it is going under. Or are we going to continue adding new citizens to this tiny island knowing very well that dry land is going to be scarce?
What if the sea-level rises by two metres instead of one? Or if it only rises by 20cm? How can anyone predict the whims of mother nature with any certainty?
A 100 year plan is longer than the lifespan of an average Singaporean and the sheer grandeur of it deserves a spot on Lee’s stone tablet or perhaps we should name the reclaimed lands after him. And while they are at it, they can also build a mausoleum on these lands, at the very least, LHL’s children can be spared from getting into a spat.
From the people that I speak to, there seems to be a growing concern and frustration about how laws and constitution have been amended to suit the elites to stay in power. The government should steer away from pet projects and work on serving the needs of our citizens.
While the threat of climate change is real, Murphy’s Law tells us that nothing ever happens the way we want it. It is possible that it may change course. Or it could be that climate change is just a pretext to reclaim more lands.
Wages have been depressed, there is youth poverty and the wage gap between the elites and people is widening. While we live a Spartan life, the politicians aspire to build a new Athens. -/TISG