I disagree with the Prime Minister’s recent speech at the PAP party conference on November 6 on four counts.
First, Singaporeans can have PAP as government and vote in more opposition MPs
We must always remember the management cliche “what is not checked, is not done”. Checks and balances are indispensable for good management or governance. “Ownself check ownself” is not checks and balances. The PAP does not need a supermajority to govern effectively; all laws, except for the Constitution, only requires a majority + 1 to pass. And even if we want to give PAP the power to change the Constitution when necessary, a 67% majority (63 seats) is enough, there is no need to give it a 90% majority (83 seats) in the current Parliament.
You only need to look at the major policy changes after every “election setback” to understand why you can have the best of both worlds. Without checks and balances, the standards of governance will go down over time because of groupthink. The Japanese, who have a very culturally homogeneous society, are especially guilty of that and that is why they admit that gaiatsu (external pressure) is required to effect change. In Singapore politics, that external pressure comes from the Opposition.
Second, Singapore has enough talents to form an alternative government
The truth is, if we open our eyes, we can see that there are more than enough Singaporean talents with great accomplishments, and even more with significant potential to be nurtured. PAP does not have a monopoly on talent.
Many such talents think twice before joining the Opposition because of the numerous personal difficulties and risks they and their family will face. Few Singaporeans would disagree that the life of an opposition politician is much harder, especially when compared to the comfortable life of establishment politicians. For our future, Singaporeans must encourage more talents to step forward to serve, and the best way to do that is to vote more Opposition candidates into Parliament.
When we have enough opposition MPs with a long enough political shelf-life, this will encourage more people to step forward. It will also create an incentive for people in the Opposition to work with one another in forming teams that potentially can form the next government.
Third, Opposition has been focused on fighting for Singaporeans’ jobs and livelihoods, but will debate 377A robustly when the time comes
Singaporeans are now facing tremendous financial pressures. Many residents have told me of their financial struggles and need for more help during my door-to-door visits in West Coast GRC. Many parents are worried that their children of marriageable age cannot get a HDB flat to form a family soon. Many are also concerned that inflation may escalate when the GST is raised by 1% next year.
Our immediate priority is to raise bread and butter issues facing Singaporeans, but we will join the 377A debate when it is raised in Parliament. This has been our stance since the repeal was announced at the National Day Rally.
Fourth, the sensitive issues we raised are in the public interest and we have backed our views with facts and data in contrast to the Government’s reluctance to share all relevant data
The current political disarray in many countries especially the US and the UK is a direct result of their ill-conceived economic and immigration policies over the past few decades. These policies have caused social inequality to increase to such an extent that many citizens have risen up to seek change.
Given our small size and ample fiscal resources, we can appease our citizens with temporary handouts but the current policies that we have are pushing us in the same direction as that experienced by other developed countries. To prevent ourselves from becoming like them, we have to adjust our policies in a fundamental way. That is why, even at the risk of incurring the wrath of the Government, we have recommended a review of our budget and reserve management policies, foreign talent policies and even some trade agreements which may be unfair to Singapore and Singaporeans.
The Government can try to label us with whatever labels that they want, but I am confident that Singaporeans know that we are raising issues they care about and are asking the right questions on their behalf.
Justice is in the heart of the people.
For Country For People.