Sunday, September 04, 2011

PAPolitical Association

I agree with the good professor, Tan Ern Ser. He said that "PA's actions may erode the moral ground of the PAP and dilute its political capital". (reported in Yahoo News Singapore, 2 Sep 2011). He is referring to the People's Association's (PA) policy not to appoint Opposition MPs as advisers to its grassroots organisations because they cannot be expected to implement government policies, for which the PA was set up in the first place. This would have been non-controversial, say 20 or 30 years ago when the PAP dominated the government, and thereby any state organ and statutory board, of which the PA is one. In these many years, we have had an enlightened government which, for the most part, put the people in its centre as it built up the nation's hard infrastructure, and its soft infrastructure, such as the PA. Almost all constituency wards were held by the party and it made sense to have its own MPs become advisers to this grassroot organisation in its constituencies to promote the governments' policies. This is all nice and dandy, and nobody should fault this government strategy to win the hearts and minds of the people. After all, should the Opposition one day come to power, they would want to also make use of this powerful organ to its own advantage.

But what is good in one era may not be so in another for the PAP government. PM Lee had said in May 2011, after the PAP won with reduced margins and lost 6 seats, including a supposed impregnable GRC, that today's electorate is different, and that the PAP government has to do some "soul-searching and studying". He also said that the call for a "transformed PAP...would not go unheeded". That is 3 and half months ago. With this latest PA saga, those words appear to be quite empty. But wait, just this fortnight, DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam, commenting on Dr Tony Tan's slim margin of victory in the Presidential election, said that "politics here has become more pluralistic and the trend will continue...". And what has the PAP done about this? From the same said saga, nothing, zilch, tiada, ஒன்றுமில்லை, 无. It does not appear that anything will change at all, as far as the PAP is concerned.

Perhaps history will record this PA incident to be a turning point in politics in Singapore. Faced with a near lost election and government inertia, erstwhile fence-sitters and moderate conservatives will switch their allegiance to Opposition Parties staking moderate and sensible views, such as the Workers Party. The elephant has started to move, as the electoral pattern in the Presidential elections has shown. When they stampede, there will be no stopping them. And the tragedy will be that the PAP does not know what hit them.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

No problem, wait until a few more GRCs goes to others....