Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was quoted as saying, “You show me one country where the party and government prepare their alternatives, and I will study your example carefully. The job of any party is to make itself effective, dominant and win the next elections.” His last sentence greatly concerns me. I hope the job of the PAP and any other political party in Singapore is not primarily to be dominant and get into power, but rather to govern Singapore for the benefit of all Singaporeans. If parties exists just to be dominant and in power, I worry where Singapore will be in future. Power can easily corrupt and there is no guarantee that the PAP can continue to be as clean as it has been in the past. What would happen if the PAP fails and allow power to corrupt them in future?
I have always thought of the PAP’s hard ruling of Singapore in the past as perhaps justifiable. They have had a part to play in getting us to where we are today and we have much to be grateful for in this regard. However, while it could be argued that the past challenges Singapore faced justified the one-party domination, it is hard to see how such a system that does not allow for checks and balances of those in power, nor recognizes that in this knowledge-intensive age no one group has a monopoly on wisdom, can be good for Singapore’s future.
If the above is true and the PAP believes it to be so, I propose that they cease from trying to eliminate the opposition, but instead help them – at least those opposition parties they think are not ideologically motivated in a negative way but that have the best interest of Singaporeans at heart. Minister Mentor argued that the “quality between what the opposition offers and what the Government offers is so different.” I totally agree that no opposition party has the ability to be in control at the moment. But if this is so, and if we all agree that Singapore would benefit from more than just one good party, why not make it a point to place the greater good of Singapore first – in place of the often dangerous desire to be always in power for the sake of power? If no party has done such a ridiculous thing in preparing “their alternatives”, then let it be the PAP who becomes the first to do so. For since when has the party been afraid not to conform to conventions in ruling Singapore?