By Co-President, Gan Ping Sieu On Rising Populism Leading to Next General Election
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Those vying for votes in the next general election should refrain from making unrealistic populist pledges that are detrimental to the country's long-term interests. Of late, we notice there has been a rise of populism among aspirants from both sides of the divide. This includes the proposal to bring back free plastic bags, abolishing tolls with colossal compensation, and revisiting old promises like removing the GST, and increase subsidy for fuel.



Any economist can attest that many of these pledges harm the country in the long-run. The country's long-term well-being should not be sacrificed for short-term electoral gains. Elected representatives should remember that they are "leaders", not "followers". It would be a crying shame for aspiring leaders to sacrifice the nation's interests for the sake of popularity at the ballot boxes.



CENBET, which champions good governance, is deeply concerned by this rising trend. With the country facing ever more complex global challenges, one would expect the political leadership to come up with sustainable, out-of-the-box solutions, and not engage in one-upmanship that can lead us down a slippery slope of socio-economic devastation.



We also call upon voters to be more discerning at the ballot boxes and not fall for sweet promises that will bring about bitter results in the long-run. When voters reject populism, aspirants for public office would be incentivized to come up with sound policies that put the nation at heart.
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