Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Stand down

PM Lee Hsien Loong has done well. Like his father, MM Lee Kuan Yew, he has apologised, but in this instance, on behalf of the Singapore government. He said that the PAP government has not done well in planning for the upsurge of foreigners arriving in Singapore (housing and transport), about the flood in Orchard Road and even Mas Selamat's escape from custody in 2008. This comes on the heels of Minister Khaw Boon Wan's candid admission of "gaps and deficiencies in the system after many opposition parties criticised the lack of hospital beds and medical personnel in their rally speeches" (Yahoo News - 4 May 2011). Minister Mah Bow Tan should listen up.

All these complaints have been raised and given free airing during the last few days of campaigning for the General Elections. That's another plus for the PAP government. No gagging, no censorship although there has been veiled threats. So the democratic process is alive and well in Singapore. The PAP deserves to be returned to power, especially with PM Lee still in charge. Making a mistake is not necessarily a bad thing, so long as the lessons are learnt and steps are taken not to repeat them, as PM Lee has pointed out. And I think the PAP government, with their track record, can just deliver again.

But this is not to say the opposition parties should lose. Quite the opposite. If not for the opposition's criticisms of and exposing the shortcomings of the government, I am sure PM Lee would not have been forced against the wall to be contrite. So PM Lee has demonstrated that Singapore needs an effective opposition to help it govern even better. In this respect, these days of campaigning has brought about a positive process to improve Singapore all round. I hope the PAP government now acknowledges that having real opposition voices in Parliament can only be good for Singapore in the long run, which is the point that the Workers' Party has been making all along.

Majullah Singapura!

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