When Vincent Wijeysingha posted “A test of maturity in the coming by-election”#1 early this month, he seemed to suggest this is a test of political maturity of Punggol East voters.
However, the word ‘maturity’ should apply to both voters and political parties. These are pre-conditions for a matured democratic Singapore and perhaps, it will bring us a step closer to the First World Parliament.
We cannot expect maturity for voters and immaturity for political parties. Political parties, especially oppositions, have to realise they have no right to remain immature. Do not test the intelligence of the voters. They are surprisingly more mature and intelligence than politicians. The many visits SDP made in Punggol East, especially, yesterday after the announcement of WP candidate, SDP should have a feeling of the ground.
It is delighted to hear the following SDP statement:
However, we have decided to withdraw from the race. Singaporeans have signaled clearly that they do not want to see a three-cornered contest in Punggol East which may dilute the vote and allow a PAP win. We hear their voices and we have heeded them.
In politics, it is equally important to listen as it is to speak. We note the genuine concern that the PAP may get returned if there is a split in the opposition's support between the SDP and WP. For this reason, we are stepping aside.(http://yoursdp.org/news/sdp_heeded_calls_to_withdraw_from_the_by_election/2013-01-15-5531)
SDP may not accept the word maturity for its decision of withdrawal from the race of PE by-election. However, it has clearly indicated in this headline: SDP heeded calls to withdraw from the By-Election
This last minute announcement is good news to the oppositions. It is hoped that both WP and SDP can learn from this experience and work together in the next General Election.
Vincent did spell out some valid points in his post and I quote:
Rather, it is this: that the candidate should be elected who can be trusted both to represent the people’s views in the House and which, therefore, impose on him or her the concomitant ability to present alternative proposals which the House can debate.
The word parliament comes from the Old French 'parler' which means to talk. It is the very function of civilised, modern government that policy determination, execution and review be covered by the most learned and erudite debate leading to the refinement of policy.
An MP equipped to serve both his constituents and the wider population of Singapore must be attended by two handmaidens: a backroom research base composed of competent experts and a series of policies able to counter the deteriorating status quo.
We wish Lee Li Lian very best and hope to see a better and improved WP performance in Parliament later, especially with the encouragement of one more elected MP.