Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Singapore Politics (Opposition)

I'm very heartened to read this article:

WP chief: 377A debate shows more openness

where Workers Party chief Mr. Low Thia Khiang enhances the good impression I have always had of him: A mature, reasonable and wise opposition politician.

I cannot understand why many people (who do not agree with the Government) tend to oppose every single thing the government does, particularly people in opposition politics. The PAP, for all its faults (and I feel they have many), have in general done a good job running Singapore.

At the same time, (and I have yet to observe behavior to the contrary) many PAP supporters and PAP politicians themselves cannot seem to restrain their instinct to dismiss ideas coming from opposition politicians or from people who do not agree with them. To them, it seems, people who disagree are "troublemakers" or "dangerous" people. A mature discussion of issues and problems do not appear to be on the cards as far as they are concerned.

In any case, while I hope the Worker's Party will eventually mature into a political group with the potential to form a government, I must say I do not fully agree with its manifesto. I do think, however, that it is important that they, along with the SDA reach such a stage and the political situation becomes more conducive for peaceful, amiable transitions of power.

Then, I think, the governance of Singapore would have reached a stable and sustainable stage. It currently relies too much on the competence and incorruptibility of one party and as we know from history, just because you had a good emperor does not mean his successor will remain just as good. Without appropriate checks and balances, the potential for things to go wrong is high. My observation is this: the PAP continues to try to stunt the competence and capability of opposition parties. The bad effect of this is, if the PAP becomes corrupt or incompetent and Singaporeans wished to vote them out (as is the idea of a democratic system), it becomes a no-win situation if the opposition is equally bad if not worse. The thinking in the PAP that "We can do no wrong" is, I think, the primary reason why the PAP is so high-handed and is also the potential path to such a scenario. Some humility, along with a sense of competitiveness (ie. The opposition can come up with great ideas, but we think we can come up with even better ones!) would I think serve the PAP and Singapore better in the long run.

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