Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) secretary-general Chee Soon Juan said today (14 Dec) that the fact that the elderly poor have to eke out a living by collecting cardboard in a wealthy city like Singapore and the fact that this issue still exists “tells you all you need to know about the values of our ministers.”

In a Facebook post published this afternoon, the opposition party leader said: “That our elderly poor still have to lead such lives in a city that boasts of the crazy rich must tear at the conscience of every Singaporean.

“If the PAP wanted to rid Singapore of this scourge, it could and would have done so long ago. The fact that the problem still exists tells you all you need to know about the values of our ministers.”

The SDP chief’s remarks come a day after a non-profit had to abruptly cancel a scheduled event after the police informed them that they should not carry out the event without a permit, hours before the event was set to take place.

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The community organisation, Happy People Helping People (HPHP), had been planning the fundraising event for several weeks now and had invited all the political parties in Singapore to join elderly cardboard collectors in a guided activity to raise money for these needy senior citizens.

The SDP was the first to pledge to participate in the event and promised to send three representatives to participate in the activity. At 8.48pm on Friday (13 Dec), however, HPHP revealed that it has been forced to cancel the event due to the police permit issue. It said:

“It is unfortunate that we have to cancel this event tomorrow because the police did not want us to do this without a permit. And they told us yesterday night. We wonder why at the very last minute.”

In his latest Facebook post, Dr Chee commented on the cancellation of the fundraising event and called the police permit requirement a mark of an “insecure” ruling party. Comparing the meager earnings of elderly cardboard collectors to the high ministerial salaries ruling party politician earn, he said:

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“When a group of Singaporeans come together to raise awareness about the plight of these desperate souls, the government says the activity needs a permit. This is the hallmark of a fearful and insecure party ruling by fiat rather than reason and morality.

“And when ministers clamour for their sky-high salaries, two words come to mind: moral leadership. A govt that possesses not this most fundamental quality cannot lead a nation to bigger and better things.”

Dr Chee added: “When he was sworn in as PM in 2004, Mr Lee Hsien Loong said: “Let us be a dynamic city that is open and inclusive, a meritocratic society that is compassionate and caring, and confident people with clear minds and warm hearts…We should be a community where every citizen counts, where everyone can develop his human potential to the full and everyone participates in building and repairing and upgrading this shared home which is Singapore.”

“As I said, trust is not what you say, it’s what you do.”

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