Sunday, 4 March 2012

Hougang by-election - don't let it develop into an international joke


Whether there will be by-election in Hougang or not, if there is no action taken by the Prime Minister, it will soon become an international political joke for the PAP as well as Singapore. A mighty and powerful party that controls more than 90% of the seats in the Parliament is so indecisive about a local election and has to take so long to calculate the risk of having a by-election; one will wonder how decisive it can be in bigger national and international issues.     

Perhaps, the PM and the PAP will say they will only look at the bigger issue but not a local small issue.  And there is no urgency to make an early decision constitutionally.  Yes, all big fire starts from small. An unchecked small fire will not only become an international joke, it will also destroy the mighty jungle.   

The development of Hougang by-election, if leaves it untouched, will soon become the competent test of the Prime Minister as we well his PAP government. If the government cannot handle such a local issue – the fundamental voting right of the citizens, then it will show the world how incapable the government is.  And sooner or later, it will become an international joke of Singapore.

Risk and entrepreneurship

The delay or no by-election in Hougang will test the PAP leadership in handling crisis.  How the people outside Singapore look and assess the PAP leadership on this issue will affect our international standing. We always criticize our businessmen that they are not entrepreneur enough, not brave enough, and not willing to take risk. It is not surprise if the ruling party is taking a risk-averse attitude, the GLCs, the local businessmen will also adopt the same attitude, so do the students. Hence, the PAP leadership must take the courage to take the risk for an early by-election in Hougang; don’s set the wrong example for officials, businessmen and students. 

How can it not be an international joke? A basic democratic voting right has to be referred to the High Court for clarification. If we have an independent Election Commission or an autonomous election department, when a seat is vacant, the election commission or department will take over the duty and set a date for a replacement of the Member of Parliament. This, perhaps, also shows how dependent is our election department - how it depends on the guideline and instruction from the PM and cannot do anything about the by-election in Hougang. Perhaps, we should ask the question: should we give the absolute power to a person to decide on the basic voting right of the citizens, especially he seems unwilling to show his competence on this very basic issue. 

Confidence of foreign investors?

If you are foreign investors, how will you judge a government that cannot decide on this simple and straight forward issue of citizen’s right. Why should the PAP government complicate the issue by saying there are other important national issues to be considered.   Is the PM showing the investors that he is not able to handle such a local issue?  Will this small local issue reflect the popular support level of the government that will then affect the confidence of the investors?  And he is so afraid to show it to the foreign investors.

Why let it develop into an international joke of Singapore? It is not about the PAP but all Singaporeans at stake. Do you like to be laughed at this small issue just because the PM and the PAP is incompetent at solving this issue?  It has been quite sometimes the PM had commented on this issue and everyone is waiting for his quick answer.  Yes, perhaps, he is thinking of how to fix the oppositions and it needs longer time than expected.           

This has nothing to do with GE which the PM can take advantage to call the election.  This is a local issue that will not affect the ruling government and the normal operations of the state. It may be strange to think in this way – why the PAP leadership has no opinion on this issue.  Don’t they know that the issue of by-election will affect the reputation of the PAP?   If a PM is so indecisive and so incompetent, may be it is time to change the PM for the betterment of the PAP and Singapore.

How will you judge a PM if he is not willing to show his ability in solving a small local issue but an important right of voting?       


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