NDR 2013: WP’s Old Wine and PAP’s New Bottle

As usual, the annual NDR is good news and goodies. Credit to the PAP in trying to listen. This year is no different. However, NCMP Gerald Giam, who looks set to be the next MP from East Coast GRC, explained why this year’s NDR was a good one. The PAP listened to the people and borrowed ideas from the leading opposition, the WP.

An example from NCMP Giam’s blog article, on Medishield, which is the most important promise in the NDR as it affects all unlike HDB, PSLE and other policies which affect segments of society only,

During the Committee of Supply debate in Parliament in March 2012, I said:

some of those who need MediShield coverage the most, like babies with congenital problems and the very old, are often denied coverage.    MediShield currently covers 92% of Singaporeans. Those who are not covered include some of the elderly, homemakers, and others who have voluntarily opted out of MediShield. Some are not able to obtain MediShield coverage due to pre-existing conditions.    I would like to ask what the Ministry is doing to achieve a higher level of coverage for all Singaporeans? What is the Ministry’s targeted level of coverage of MediShield?

And the answer came during last night’s speech:

Elaborating on the changes, (PM Lee) said that universal coverage means there will be no more opting out, with everyone covered including the elderly and those with pre-existing illnesses.

Many interpretations on what NCMP Giam meant. The PAP listened, the PAP stole WP ideas without attribution, the PAP and WP are more alike in policies and direction than most people think. The most important interpretation is that the WP, warts and all and we should not be blind to them, is doing its job in parliament by advocating and influencing the ruling party. So the 2-party system in Singapore can work, and it does not need to be confrontational like in other parliaments, Westminster system or not. The Singapore Way could be a consensual 2-party system where the incumbent and the opposition work towards centrist positions. A work in progress no doubt, and proves the worth of WP in parliament.