Why Members of the Worker’s Party Cannot be Grassroots Advisors
As Singapore celebrates S50, the distribution of the NDP Funpack via the Grassroots Organizations and their appointed Grassroots Advisors have been played up by the opposition for the apparent inconsistency.
Opposition supporters are arguing that the elected Member of Parliament (in this case the Worker’s Party) should be the one distributing the Funpacks and not the Government appointed Grassroots Advisors.
To understand the issue better, we need to understand the 3 reasons opposition parties cannot logically be appointed Grassroots Advisors:
1. Members of Parliament (MP) are elected to represent the people to the Government. Not the other way around. Hence, the distribution of Government benefits like the NDP Funpack, public transport subsidies, pioneer generation subsidies is not the role of the MP.
2. Fundamental to the issue, is that opposition MPs were elected on a platform where they disagree with Government policies (to a greater or lesser extent). It is therefore inconsistent to appoint them (or for them to agree to be appointed as Advisors to local grassroots organizations) to carry out and help implement the Government’s policies.
3. The People’s Association is part of the civil service and, like their counterparts in Ministries or statutory boards like MND, do not serve any party. These civil servants are however duty bound to carry out the implementation of Government policies. The PA’s role includes communicating Government policies to residents, encouraging volunteerism, delivering selected services and helping the less privileged to name a few. These are all Government functions, and PA has full time personnel and also works with volunteers. To ensure that the Government’s messages and policies are properly communicated and implemented, the Government of the day appoints volunteers to be Advisors for these functions. The Advisor must therefore be someone the Government knows will help in communicating and implementing the Government’s policies. Each elected govt has the task of doing so.