Responses to my commendation of Ravi’s action and criticism of WP’s inaction (http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/11/05/applause-to-legal-eagle-ravi/) include comments of ‘anti-WP posts’, ‘keep picking on the Worker Party on everything under the sun just because they kept quiet’ or ‘encouraging multi corner fights’ and the like. The views raise valid, broader concerns that need more discussions. Part I directly deals with the sub judice Hecklegate; Part II, the bigger issue of support for Opposition Parties in general. Part I Commentators suggest various reasons (read above link) in defending WP. Some explanations may, conceivably, support using kids’ gloves to show disapproval of WP’s inaction. Or even disregard it altogether. But I beg to differ. Firstly, when elected Oppo MPs do not keep faith with us in our daily struggles and unhappiness (notable not minor ones) through their inactions or silence, would applying a lighter touch for reasons advanced by zealous supporters, not be practising double standards – exactly as PAP is doing? Secondly, consider this sub judice instance; Chen Show Mao – Juris Doc (JD, Stanford U) Lim Sylvia – LL.M (UCL) & M.Sc in Criminal Justice (Michigan State U) Singh Pritam – Juris Doctor (SMU) Sub judice law is a basic concept regardless the trio’s areas of specialization. How creditable are they, top-trained legal eagles, to miss not just the Hecklegate sub judice but also the ‘lack of decorum’ legal compliances? Apologists for WP (or other) who want to elect more non-PAP MPs must understand that it’s the FMMs (fence-sitters, marginal supporters, mal-/mis-informed) we desperately need to make the political Change we Must possible. How will FMMs respond to the hypocrisy of our double-standard kids’ gloves or/and PAP’s sound-of-silence modus operandi? If we demand accountability of MP Intan or MP Alvin for their alleged wrongs, shouldn’t we also call out WP’s (or other) omission to act in our interest? If I were WP Sec-gen, I’d turn this sub judice episode into an opportunity in branding differentiation. I’d publicly register regret for the sub judice omission and commit to be more alert. By keeping silent, Low KT doubles the perception of a WP that can do no wrong – just like PAP. By keeping silent, he replicates, for his WP, PAP’s failed or failing ways. Think again! Part II How then to support Opposition Parties in general? Perhaps, we agree on key common factors while disagreeing how to show support. Our 2 Key Lowest Common Denominators One: Unity is lacking amongst the Indian Chiefs leading the 4 or 5 Oppo parties. Will they change or ‘wayang’ just for the next GE? Fat Hope! However, that’s not necessarily negative for us at this stage. Better that Singaporeans be exposed to many party-diverse voices and visions offered in a democracy-in-progress. Two: End PAP’s dominance, be that <2/3 majority or a minority govt or, hey presto! kick PAP back to 1956 as opposition party. The above 2 factors leave us-the-Citizens to energize, evolve, and indeed, embed the change in the learning process we want to see in a pluralist democracy.¬¬¬ 2 Broad Approaches to Support The Opposition Approach ‘A’ suggests that supporters should go easier on WP (or other) rather than ‘slapping the co-driver’, one who had promoted themselves to be the party we should elect – to slap the PAP driver. By favouring a light touch on the Opposition to end PAP’s dominance, it appears more an airy hope than a strategic plan. For starters, what motivation is there then for the former to think deeper, reach higher or empathize more? Why would FMMs make a switch to another government that cares more for their own than Singaporeans? No wonder the cynical observation, ‘$16K (MP salary) FOR VISITING FUNERAL AND WEDDING is ’. Approach ‘B’, slapping the dozy, torpid co-driver, serves Singapore’s longer-term interest better for at least 2 reasons. Firstly, replicating PAP’s double-standard ways invariably encourages WP (or other) to behave just like PAP MPs. They keep quiet, hide, obfuscate, manipulate data when being called to account. They care more for their $1mil-per-5-year-MP-term salary than advancing citizens’ just cause – to end PAP dominance. They see their job as only and literally First World parliamentarians, seen and heard only in while keeping deafeningly quiet outside parliament. They re-emerge to play their game only come election time…instead of starting to create momentum now in time for the impending GE. When WP (& other) supporters perpetuate the same ecosystem that nurtured PAP-type MPs of recent decades, how will the FMMs vote? Probably cynically, ‘So, what’s the diff? Better the devil we know than we know not’…say sayonara to the votes needed to effect a legal change of government. Secondly, persistent, objective criticisms of WP (or other) serve best to motivate current Oppo MPs to pull up their socks – and, in so doing also a) give notice to new potential ones in-waiting and b) raise the expectations of ALL voters who hear, read, see for themselves and also contribute to our higher demands of our MPs’ conduct. We pay their salaries, remember, to improve our lives – not their part-time MP income? So, given the high stakes, multi-cornered fights are a small price we can ill-afford NOT to pay. The more the merrier. Punggol East by-election has shown that savvy Singaporean voters make a decisive choice – to bury both PAP & Oppo candidates who they want OUT. But the election of WP Lee Li Lian also serves as a potential cautionary tale to educate Singaporeans where Singapore’s longer-term need for a reasonably-well functioning democracy may be unintentionally hijacked thro’ approach ‘A’ – if Ms Lee proves to be a dud. Imagine, in our blind rage to kick out the PAP, opposition MPs elected prove to be dubious, non/under-performing ones. ‘Duds are as duds do’ and one term of such Oppo duds elected into parliament (thanks to approach ‘A’) can and will only ensure that PAP be swept back into power by simply telling voters in GE2021 (?) and beyond, ‘See, we told you so!’ Change we Must but why go casting out one devil only to bring in worst ones? Don’t say it won’t happen just because it hasn’t happened yet. And if it does, how will you answer to our younger generation?
Therefore, “only if we demand higher standards can or will oppo candidates & MPs not take/use supporters for granted. Only when we push them to do more of what’s needed to be done (as seen fr ground level) can they not fall asleep at the wheel. Only when we make clear that they cannot simply ride, and ride ONLY, on our disaffection, our opposition to PAP and hope to be re-elected will our common cause of policy changes or party change be served or better served. You can treat them with a kid’s gloves when they have won the 1/3 seats or form/join the next govt – but even then, for a honeymoon period only. It is not PAP per se you should be looking to change, pal. It is the SYSTEM that needs to be fully overhauled, some parts to be jettisoned. If WP forms the next govt for the next 2 decades, they will grow to be not unlike the PAP. Hey, ‘merito-guanxi’ and ‘power corrupts’ apply to EVERYONE. We must invent EFFECTIVE CHECKS & BALANCE…(the paragraphs in italics are taken from an earlier post < https://2econdsight.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/of-detractors-ahpetc-episode-oppo-party-mr-quality/>) So, to everyone who disparage or disagree with my views earlier on, why settle for superficial makeover when we all can and must do better with surgical remake?
THINK AGAIN! 2cents blogs @2econdsight.wordpress.com