Whither Singapore?


After the results for the Punggol East by-election was known, former Minister George Yeo made a 2-word post, “Whither Singapore” on his Facebook. Within hours, there were hundreds of comments.Whither is used in poetic language. It means ‘to what place’, or ‘to what end or purpose’. I suppose George Yeo meant where Singapore politics is heading towards, given the unexpected defeat of a previously safe SMC seat by a stunning 10.8% margin to the opposition in a 4-corner fight.

When I plunged into politics 2 years ago, I never expected myself to be actively involved in a General Election and two by-elections, plus being a keen observer of a closely fought Presidential Election; all in less than 24 months. In election-deprived Singapore, we never had such election excitement since independence.

Many firsts had taken place. For the first time, a GRC was lost to the opposition. The GRC is viewed by many as the impregnable fortress of the PAP, designed to make it difficult for the opposition to take down teams that are each led by 1-2 ministers. PAP also received its lowest share of the popular votes since independence. Three months later, for the first time, a presidential candidate favoured by the ruling party was elected by less than majority votes, and with a shocking razor-thin 0.3% margin as well. Then, after losses in Aljunied GRC and in the Hougang by-election, the PAP lost for the first time since independence in a multi-corner fight to a female opposition candidate.

To put matters into perspective, the PAP still has 92% control of the 87-seat house. Singapore is hardly a multi-party government system yet. PAP’s 92% control is still a stunning success for any political party in a democratic system. Still, the progress made by the opposition after 46 years of near barrenness is remarkable.

I had used an analogy in my GE2011’s rally speech. I likened the PAP to an older horse, constantly winning races in the past, but it is now fast tiring. There’s a new and younger horse in town, swiftly improving on its speed. Which horse would you count on to win? It is harder to call now. On nomination day, many would have given the race to the old winning horse in this 4-corner fight. It turned out otherwise, and by a winning margin that not even the most optimistic opposition supporter would have guessed. Two years since I first used this analogy, the younger horse has won 3 races in a row. I guess this is why George Yeo asked, “Whither Singapore.” What’s next? What now?

There are other significant points in the Punggol East election as well. Dr Koh is the typical PAP candidate, well-educated and successful as a top surgeon. He’s the technocrat that one can expect to come through PAP’s tea parties, parachuted often at short notice into a contest. Picked for the job but not always willing initially because they are first and foremost, doing well in their career and lacking interest in politics.

PM Lee highlighted Dr Koh as an example of the success of Singapore’s system, as he came from a humble family background and succeeded through doing well in school and then in his job. PM Lee also cited WP candidate Lee Li Lian as another example of the success of the Singapore’s system: went through N levels to polytechnic and then university. I suppose that while seemingly praising Li Lian for her ‘success’, the Prime Minister was subtly trying to tell voters to compare and contrast their intellectual capabilities measured by academic achievements. This is nothing new, just done more subtly. In 1984, the PAP publicly announced the stellar O level results of Mr Mah Bow Tan against the seven credits and one pass of Mr Chiam See Tong. That ploy backfired and angered voters. Mr Chiam got into parliament and put up a respectable performance in his 27 years in parliament and became well-loved by the residents of Potong Pasir. His less than impressive O level results did not seem to harm his performance as an MP.

MP-Elect Lee Li Lian thanking voters at the start of Thank You Parade on 27 Jan, 930 am

MP-Elect Lee Li Lian thanking voters at the start of Thank You Parade on 27 Jan, 930 am

I like to think that Li Lian succeeded despite of Singapore’s system. In 2011, I asked a parliament question for the number of Singaporeans studying in private universities in Singapore and overseas. We were told 41,000 Singaporeans were studying for university degrees in private universities in Singapore while the government did not track the number of Singaporeans studying overseas. The number of Singaporeans studying for higher education entirely at their own expenses is about the same as those studying at government funded local autonomous universities. Li Lian is one of the many Singaporeans who did part-time work while studying for a degree, without any help from the government.

Dr Koh was a 3-week old PAP member when he was introduced as PAP’s candidate. In contrast, Li Lian joined in 2006 as a passionate volunteer and worked her way up the system, holding many posts in the party. All these while managing a demanding full-time job. Li Lian is one of the many volunteers and members of the Workers’ Party. They are not paid for the tasks they do for the party but are nevertheless willing to slog it out to make sure things work. In contrast, the PAP has full control over the grassroots structure, funded with government monies. They get well-oiled machineries to get things done. In a way, having to work with little just makes one more resourceful. It also helps WP people to connect better with the ground.

MP-Elect Lee Li Lian constantly reaching over the railings of pick-up to shake hands with well wishers

MP-Elect Lee Li Lian constantly reaching over the railings of pick-up to shake hands with well wishers

 

Resident came to Mr Png with a baby as the pick-up stopped at a car park. He passed the baby over the railings for Png to hold and then Png returned the baby safely to the resident.

Resident came to Mr Png with a baby as the pick-up stopped at a car park. He passed the baby over the railings for Png to hold and then Png returned the baby safely to the resident.

We have often been told by the PAP leaders that Singapore does not have enough for two teams. I strongly disagree with this damning analysis of the talent of our 3.29 million Singaporeans. I think we are looking for talents in the wrong places. When one is looking amongst the unwilling to serve, we will not find many. I had blogged about this previously (“Political sacrifice – Fishing for the unwilling”) and had spoken about it in my speech on the debate on ministerial salaries.

The PAP Thank You Bus

The PAP Thank You Bus

For me, one of the exciting things about the Punggol East By-Election is to see 4 of our new members since 2011 speak at the rallies. We just had our Bricks in Blue concert earlier this month. The tagline is “Building for a new generation”. Building up for the future is more than a brick and mortar building. It is building up the people for a future generation of WP. I am glad Li Lian won the By-Election. She is young and part of the new generation. So are the new people who have joined the party. And Li Lian’s climb to become an MP is proof that we can widen the fishing pond for talent. It shows that with hard work and the right heart, one can make stellar breakthroughs.

People naturally have higher expectations of WP after the Punggol East win. As I said earlier, we still need to see things in perspective. WP now has 8% of elected seats in parliament. The young horse is galloping fast, but there’s still some gap to catch up on the reigning horse. We need more people to step forward. Singaporeans themselves have to show that there’s enough quality to form Singapore’s Team B. Quality not just in qualifications and career successes, but quality of the heart too. It will take time to put people through the test of ground activities to see the quality of the heart. WP new member Associate Professor Daniel Goh summed it up nicely in his maiden rally speech:

Many of my friends and family members asked why I joined the Workers’ Party. Some were afraid for me. They asked me, “Is it really safe for you to do this?”. But I told them life is too short and too precious, don’t waste time being kiasu, kiasi and kiagui.

Some wondered about my motives. They say, “You are a professor, you got a comfortable life, if you idealistic, go join the PAP, change the system from inside.” I told them change does not come from inside or from outside, but from the correct side. This is the co-driver side where we tell the driver he is heading down the wrong side of the road!

Some laughed at me because they know I am not the slapping type. They say, “Hah, you can slap meh, you are a bookworm.” I told them, even bookworms think of their children and would stand up for them.

Whither Singapore? It is still early days. I think it will be good that Singaporeans think deeply and determine what type of political parties and politicians that they will accept in today’s political era. And the parties will need time to build themselves up to let Singaporeans judge and decide. Parties will each determine how it will draw in talent and build them up. I believe the days of a mono-coloured constituencies map of Singapore is over. We will have to deal with the realities of other parties sharing the field with the PAP. The different parties will need to figure out how they will play it out on Singapore’s political field.

Large crowds came out from Rivervale Mall when our pick-up drove past. Some came up to shake hands as the pick-up slowed down at the junction.

A large crowd came out from Rivervale Mall when our pick-up drove past. Some came up to shake hands as the pick-up slowed down at the junction.

A Pasir Ris resident drove to Punggol East with a "Good Job" sign. Li Lian waved to her as the resident shouted her support to WP as we drove past.

A Pasir Ris resident drove to Punggol East with a “Good Job” sign. Li Lian waved to her as the resident shouted her support to WP as we drove past.

 

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32 comments on “Whither Singapore?

  1. Singapore wither? Singapore will die with PAP? That’s their wish! When you talk about politics, things are not going to wither and will be very much alive. As a residence in Marine Parade, I expect WP will start showing its faces in Marine Parade in the next Election, after all, it is just next to Aljunied GRC. I expect probably a 3-cornered fight if NSP wants to make another try again. Will be quite hard for an opposition voter like me to make a choice if NSP’s candidates are as strong!

    It’s the sign of times, underlying economic conditions are not that good and people are gradually losing confidence in PAP’s ability to improve people’s lives. I think that’s the main reason for the result of the Punggol by-election. Main problem is not with the doctor. At normal condition, the doctor will be just a shoo-in.

    After the 2011 Election, still a lot of screw-ups, most prominent one is the regular MRT breakdowns, insufficient buses, under-paid bus-drivers. Will they learn the lesson? Time will tell!

    But if you look at their recent measures to encourage delivering babies, the way I look at these policies – nothing new. They have been throwing incentives on people, but do they really work? Do they bother to find out the underlying reasons and difficulties for having and not having a kid or to add one more kid? When I look at these measures, I still feel the answer is NO!

    We’re still over-paying our civil servants. To see them coming out such very non-innovative policies. Such policies can come out from people with primary school education. Should sack the whole lot of them ! This is what can happen if they work in the private sector.

    • Although I am a supporter of WP, I do not want WP to come to Marine Parade. Let NSP fight straight with PAP. NSP is a sensible party with good candidates and I am sure they are also good alternative voices if elected.

      Last GE, my whole family voted for NSP and although they did not win, they did well and I hope they will succeed in the next GE.

      • I’m also a resident of Marine Parade and I sincerely hope a WP / NSP duel can be avoided. That said, I’m disappointed that NSP does not seem to be working the ground like WP does. NSP is like a party that comes to live every 5 years. Like that, how to win the hearts of voters .. sorry, how to win ENOUGH hearts to swing it to >50%? So I’m also torn – WP is a stronger party but NSP “chopped” the GRC first and NSP is no SDA or RP. What to do? Best solution is for NSP to start working harder and don’t just appear every 5 years.

        That said, I think Marine Parade is one of the weakest link in PAP’s arsenal. GCT promised us a Swiss living standard .. and look where we are today. This promise will come back to haunt him.

  2. hey thanks for the brief summary of this whole happening. As an overseas singaporean I find your post very enriching and interesting. Alot of blogs are so hating on PAP and everything pro-govt, which i don’t like, so its great and refreshing to read your calmly worded post!

  3. Reblogged this on Jentrified Citizen and commented:
    JC- Whither Singapore? On to better days I say. Why? Just look at all the wonderful things that are happening to the people. Apathethic no longer, Singaporeans are taking ownership and speaking up for what they see is ailing this country. There is a palpable and growing wave of patriotism and love for the country. Whither Singapore? If measured by PAP’s KPIs and economic and monetary indexes, it may not be glowig. BUT measure it against the invaluable intangibles of humanity, of integrity, of doing things the right moral way, I would say the future is looking damn bright!

  4. An excellent analysis, almost a prediction. We, tru-blu Singaporeans, would like a horse to run for us, not a horse that run for the owner only. All we need is more check & balances, so that less unilateral decisions are made to benefit the one party rulers. That is what I hope to see happen in 2016…..

  5. 10 years ago the PAP and Singapore was in a very good position to improve Singaporean lives with a very robust foreign reserve and a strong economy. Over that period of time, there were 3 serious missteps that is sending Singapore backwards.

    One: The seriously huge losses made during the GFC into banks like Citibank, UBS etc..

    Two: The unsustainable strategy of driving Singapore property prices up by mass population imports instead of productivity improvements

    Three: The transfer of top jobs to foreigners vs. encouraging the training of local into those positions resulting in the equally fluid loss of talent.

    As such I have concluded that there is no value in being a Singaporean. There is no progressing for a Singapore in Singapore. It is better to progress abroad and then live as an expat in Singapore. Now as an ex-Singaporean, I feel no loyalty to Singapore. I doubt I would be counted a loss. There will be others who will come and replace me. Unfortunately, they too will have no loyalty either to Singapore.

    So its a bitter sweet experience which has been the result of an inward looking PAP attempting to control, extract and demand from a population they no longer have control over. The end of the PAP is near unless it radically transforms into the exact opposite of the principles that it embodies.

  6. Very nice read! It’s amusing to read of how NEW PAP believe in the crap of *certified* scholars being the best to run the country when history has proven otherwise.
    It should really look into how its present crop of Generals (PM Lee), Admirals (Teo C H) and Prez Scholars are failing Singapore & costing us billions from investments to even infrastructural failures.

  7. Pingback: Daily SG: 28 Jan 2013 | The Singapore Daily

  8. Hi sir,
    The wind of change came fast n furious. The swing of votes in terms of % should alarm everyone. We may be a young nation but this speed of change may catch everyone unprepare in our forseeable future. Now u may hv only 7 seats but what If by next election u get 30. Is there enough time to get ur B team up? Perhaps the world these days move faster than we think. Change is good but too fast a change has it’s ill.

    • Well said, Winston. Our nation is so small and change that comes too fast will affect the stability of our country. What our country has achieved in 40+ years may just go down the drain in 4 years.

      • If that change comes, there will still be 60 PAP seats in Parliament. The ones who “know better” will still be there to “safeguard our success”. Have no fear.

        We have already seen that it is possible for constituencies to U-turn in 2 years. So 4 years is enough time to “fix” things should they really “go wrong”.

        Party politics can get dirty at times but if there is a common aim to work for the good of Singapore, I have faith we will turn out fine.

  9. Mr. Yee, your article is so well-written right from your heart. I love how succinctly you have hit a point which the PAP has been so blind to see, “Quality not just in qualifications and career successes, but quality of the heart too.”

    What the PAP needs to learn from this loss: 1/ Don’t sweep issues (like AIM) under the carpet using bully tactics; 2/ Fresh carrots don’t soothe deep-seated wounds, 3/ Singaporeans are hungry for your transparency and accountability. If the PAP doesn’t wake up from this loss, to realise, ” It is not our differences that divide us. It is our (yours, the men in white) inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” – Audre Lorde-

    When a piece of fabric is all-white, it gets dirty too easily. The stubborn spots will need to be eradicated, through time and patience. New colours need to be gradually added in. Never mind if it is only blue for now, it is my favourite colour. I have faith that this piece of fabric will be more beautiful when quality hearts are added to it, one by one.

  10. I hope more strong candidates join WP and they put up a strong fight in 2016. From the onset, they must declare that they are not fighting to take over the government and must ensure that do not complete in too many wards. They can do that in 2020. Till then, more AIM must be taken at the running of the government and expose all the unethical operations. People have to know how many party owned campanies are out they buying millions dollar application for $140,000

  11. When the coast is clear, and soon, many would-be politicians will join the political arena as the stake in governing is high. Not just in millions but in billions and billions. Tempting for many to put their hands on it. What is $14,500 as a bet to put the hands on to govern the billions when the returns is very great?

  12. L.Lian out-gunned the 2 secretary-generals and sent them off with heavy political bruises. She also sent the eminent doc packing to go back to his rectum practice. It is not about high-powered characters, or highly qualified qualifications or credentials, or boasting of one’s past experiences, background or abilities as it will not help to win votes. Voters generally dislike cockiness, arrogance, ego and conceit. When will the politicians and would-be politicians learn how to run their election campaign with a campaign manager or political strategist to win every vote, to make every vote counts?

  13. After the PE BE, half-time 2-0.

    What will be PAP’s counter measures to stop the flood from becoming a deluge? Is the PAP Govt listening and listening well? If not, what is holding them back?

    I repeatedly post over the months: I hope the present Cabinet will embrace the social values of the founding of the PAP and the original mission statement of the HDB to be guided by it to stay relevant in governing, and able to govern effectively and efficiently.

    It is better to lose some of the battles than lose the war.

    But will the Govt truly listen or have the nagging concern of : letting lose the bird will fly, or holding it too tight, the bird will die?

    Are there any valid phobia or dilemma, or paranoid concerns? An illusion that could be the cause to lose the war. After the dust of the PE BE has settled, quietened down and all return to business as normal, Singaporeans will watch on 25th Feb for the 2013 Budget and what will be in it for them? Is the Govt ready to be decisive?

    In this year’s Budget, I hope the Govt will listen again. I hope the Govt will set up:

    the Transport Rebate Fund;
    the Counter Inflation Fund;
    the WorkFare Income Supplement Fund; and
    the Payroll Fund.

    When GST rate is raised in the next few years, the funds should be for the setting up of a Medical Assistance Fund. This is possible when the GST rate is raised from 7 to 10% gradually as the 3% will generate some $4bn for setting up this fund possible.

    I wrote a few pieces on the above. Those interested might wish to check it out.

    Please google tankoktim @ blog.com under Government or Govt’s Budget categories.

    The Govt did listen. Once in 2011 when the Govt implemented the S$1bn Community Silver Trust in the 2011 Budget. How many MPs and would-be politicians know what this Trust is for? I wrote this in my blog.com in 2011: “My letter to the media & Govt on the new S$1b Community Silver Trust”.

    The Govt listened again, and that was last year. The Govt set up the GST Voucher Fund in the 2012 Budget. I wrote a piece in my blog.com as GST is an issue I follow closely. I wrote: “Have a separate ‘GST-Rebate Fund’?” I hope the Govt will listen again in this year’s Budget, which will be announced in Parliament on 25 Feb 2013.

    LTA has announced $700m to build covered walkways, etc. to all the MRT stations. Not a small amount to provide all these facilities.

    If the Govt listens again to present the 2013 Budget, I hope the Govt will set aside $700m for the 4 funds below as initial seed money:

    1] the Transport Rebate Fund;.

    2]the Counter Inflation Fund;.

    3]the WorkFare Income Supplement Fund; and.

    4]the Payroll Fund.

  14. My friend and I had this following conversation the other day. Actually, what we are observing in Singapore politics now is not too different from the dynastic periods of China. In the early years of any Chinese dynasty, the Emperor always put his people’s welfare at the forefront but as the future generations come to reign, they gradually begin to indulge in themselves and their cronies to the detriment of the common men and women. As conditions become harsher, a new leader will almost naturally arise from populace and this is the start of a revolution. By our calculation, each dynasty last about 200-400 years, however we feel that it will be even shorter for Singapore as we have a democracy to short-circuit the change of guards process.

    However, one thing that came up in our conversation is that the rulers will get increasingly desperate as the tide continues to turn against them. This could mean either of two things. One, their desperateness may lead them to implement overly generous policies to bribe the population, like what the Saudi monarch did last year. Two, it may lead them to clamp down even harder on whoever is opposing them, not unlike what Syria or Egypt is and was doing.

    My point is, there is a real chance Singapore politics will get increasingly “porky” or unbearably ugly as opposition continues to make ground. Either that, Singaporeans will continue to suffer from unfair policies that favors the top 10%.

    It’s a choice of lesser of two evils, I suppose.

  15. Hi. You used the analogy of a younger horse to depict WP against a thoroughbred which is PAP in your essay. Can you comment on the validity of your analogy given that WP isn’t much younger than PAP? Isn’t WP at least as old as independent Singapore? Thanks.

    • It is not the age of the Party that matters. Under PAP’s overwhelming rule and how oppositions were dealt with, almost every more credible opposition died. The WP you see today is very much rebuilt slowly from 2001, whereas PAP had always been the single and sometimes only force in the field since 1959.

      • Could you elaborate on your description of “PAP’s overwhelming rule”? In other words, you’re claiming that WP isn’t the old horse that’s been around since 1957 (I checked), but whose “real age” is 12 years old and you attribute the cause of WP’s apparent abnormally stunted growth (following on your equine analogy) to PAP’s “overwhelming rule”. What’s that exactly and were opposition parties prevented from formation under the constitution then?

        You added something about an implied change in 2001, which caused WP to be “built”, despite it being founded in 1957 by David Marshall, the contemporary of Lee Kuan Yew. What happened in 2001? Did PAP change something then (following on your previous allegation)?

        Thanks.

  16. Just reading about the comments by our esteemed PM on “Freedom on Information” in the ST today is enough to convince me that we need more opposition in Parliament to ensure there is enough checks and balance to ensure accountability and transparency. Honestly I find his comments that it would lead to opaquesness and avoidance of records (unless you are talking about secret bank accounts, billions in assets or corruption) and more pee breaks and coffee breaks for meeting that are going to be minuted rather disturbing. It makes me think about skeletons in the cupboard.

  17. Hey Yee JJ, I’m a fan of your blog. I like the calm, measured tone you use. I also like the fact that you do your research & talking to people, before making comments on issues, whether online or in Parliament.

    Some have grumbled that WP is tame / quiet in Parliament. But I make it a point to read your (and other WP postings) on Facebook to ascertain for myself that you guys did raise issues. I do not trust the ST to reflect such info. So on that front, I’m not as perturbed as some in the online community is.

    However, I do have 2 questions that I’ve always been dying to understand but got no answers. Why did WP vote for the Ministerial Salary review proposal and the 2011 budget? I understand – you do not oppose for the sake of opposing. And yes, you did criticise elements of both of these. But why eventually vote FOR it? I wish that WP can be more transparent and accountable in these regards. Otherwise, people are saying that you’re loud in rallies, you’re kinda loud or soft (depending on who you ask) in Parliament, but at the end of the day, you’re wimps because you always go with the PAP in voting. Is this a right perception? Can you, or someone in WP, address this more fully in one of your blog or facebook posting?

    Secondly, I sincerely hope that WP can represent the people in the forthcoming Population White Paper. I downloaded the whole paper and read it through. I’m worried that the WP will just vote for it, although you criticise elements of it.

    THe biggest issue I have is this — I want to understand what went wrong years ago. I presume that a similar analysis was carried out – after all, low birth rates, the need for immigration, suppposedly Singapore-first, and all the PR contained in the White Paper are nothing new. So how did a “carefully thought out” strategy of ramping up the intake of foreigners / PRs and new citizens came to be a big mistake now? Is it just a “lacking 20/20 foresight” as PM puts it? I’m not convinced by that explanation. After all, even PAP MPs were raising concerns about “growth at all costs” years ago. WSJ and other publications warned us that this can drive down wages for Singaporeans.

    In other words, the White Paper cannot be discussed in isolation, without a thorought understanding of what went wrong with the last White Paper.

    Additionally, I hope you can press the Govt to provide alternatives. Why 15k-25k? Why not 10k-15k? What about 5k-10k? In other words, give us the range of alternatives. Let us understand and debate the pros and cons. Don’t just make it a binary choice – herein is the brilliant proposal of 15k-25k we have conceived for you after months of analysis, and herein is the other alternative – ZERO immigration. As you can see, ZERO immigration leads to disaster (graphs shown in te White paper), therefore the only logical conclusion is our proposal. This is too simplistic an analysis.

    I cannot rely on PAP MPs to raise these or speak up. I cannot rely on them to vote the peoples’ concerns. Our only hope is you, and our elected WP representatives in Parliament. Please do not let us down. This issue has major ramifications to the “soul of Singapore” and the kind of Singapore we want to leave to our children and grandchildren. Thank you!!

      • “No, we voted against minister pay. It’s in parliament records”

        is that so? I tried searching the Parliament website but could not find it (its pretty useless website).

        This fact had somehow morphed the other way, then. Its on countless blogs, even the more reputable ones like Andrew Loh and Thoughts of a Cynical Investor. They said that the last stab in the dagger for them, was when WP talked big about ministers pay, but voted FOR it. What a pity!!

      • Thanks for searching parliament records. I realised that the records on the final day only recorded the final decision, which was Agreed to. That’s because the PAP MPs all voted for it, while all the WP MPs had shouted “No” when the Speaker called for “Aye” or “No” to signal agreement or objection. If you look at each of our speeches, we objected. Mine is at: http://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/topic.jsp?currentTopicID=00076518-WA&currentPubID=00076513-WA&topicKey=00076513-WA.00076518-WA_5%23motion%23

        So do please help clarify if you see any blogs that said we voted for the motion. We voted Against it.

      • Thanks for the clarification, I really appreciate it.

        Here’s a small suggestion. Why don’t WP create a section called “WP in Parliament” in WP’s website. And on that site, have some kind of posting about how WP voted, URL links of various speeches made, URL links of questions asked. More importantly, provide some kind of hash tag on the side eg : Transport, AIM, Education, etc. So if a member of the public has the impression that WP didn’t say a word on transport, the hashtag can refer them to all the URL links on speeches made regarding that topic. Importantly, list down WP’s votes in each sitting.

        You may want to get an intern to spend about 3-4 weeks creating something like that, and thereafter the updating should be straight-forward. Over time, the database will grow.

        The current situation is that each MP carries what they speak in their own Facebook page. Unless the public assidiously click on each MP’s facebook page, and read the speech in its entirety, the public will not know who spoke on what. Recall that LTK had to streneously defend WP’s record in Parliament and refer to the >200 speeches made, and list the topics covered. Many just didn’t know this was done. Unless WP itself make it easy for the public to follow, the public will continue not to know.

        The other reason why disinformation exists is that deliberately or otherwise, ST does not cover many of these speeches in its Parliament sitting writeup. Only when “sparks fly” (eg : Shanmugam intimidating Sylvia), do these make it to the headlines. The impression given then is that apart from these, nobody else spoke. Or they were inconsequential.

        Ironically, I find it easier to follow what each Senator in the USA spoke, and how they voted, than the situation with MPs in Singapore. Constructing something like that can be a big advantage for the WP moving forward. It not only shows tech savviness and openness, but shows First World parliamentary attitude towards accountability.

        Next time, LTK can easily say “but we raised the issue of Transport 56 times over the last 3 years and you can find that on our website”.

  18. I was moved by your sincerity and truthfulness when reading this well written and balanced article. I got the link to this article from Fish. It is a fact that most of our MPs from the governing party are so busy holding so many other jobs or directorships. There is even one holding more than 64 directorships! Since they are not full time committed MPs, how can they connect to the ground? Most of the leg work is done by their huge machinery and activists. I feel that that’s not the way a politician shld conduct himself given our changed political landscape. Thank you and your colleagues for serving Singapore from the “correct side!”

  19. Ex-Foreign Minister George Yeo’s succinct posting of “Whither Singapore” may insinuate his view that “Singapore whithers” following Punggol East By-Election win by WP.

    • Dear Pariah – whither and wither are two very different words – about as different as weather and whether. Just because something is foreign doesn’t mean it’s an insult. Time to hit the books, maybe?

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