Sunday, April 03, 2011

What Tharman said or my reflections on tv forum

Dear friends,
I wrote the following letter to the forum editor(s) of MSM
(Published today here)

Dear Editor,

I am glad that in tonight’s tv political forum, Minister Tharman openly stated what had long been regarded by some PAP old guards as heresy- that a strong opposition is good for Singapore and even PAP.

Strong opposition is good for Singapore
This does not surprise me as Tharman has always been progressive and intellectually honest. In fact he is of Prime Ministerial material in many Singaporeans’ minds (notwithstanding what MM had said previously about unsuitability of non-Chinese politicians for this post).

However, the growth of a responsible and strong opposition has been thwarted by an uneven playing field. Alleged gerrymandering, opaque and mysterious functionings of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) and the partisan abuse of publicly funded bodies such as the People’s Association quickly comes to mind and these unsavoury practices overwhelmingly favours the PAP.

Short-term measures eg better media ;unfettered access into private estates
For the short-term, especially during this pre-election period, it is vital that impediments be removed for the electorate to get to know all candidates. Although we see obvious improvements, the traditional media can do even more to level the field.
Private condominium management should be more enlightened and understand that Singaporean electorates living there are eager to meet prospective candidates from all parties. I will be writing to my MCST to voice my concerns.

Longterm rectifcations eg levelling field; funding of political parties
In the long term, besides tweaking or abolishing the GRC system , and restructuring the EBRC and rectifying PA’s anomalous relationships , we should seriously consider funding political parties who adhere to tenets that Singaporeans view as desirable eg multi-racial composition ; minimum membership numbers etc. When these parties do not meet these conditions, funding can be withdrawn.

Qualified Optimism
With enlightened ministers like Tharman and energetic politicians like Gerald, Vincent and Josephine, I do not see any reason for pessimism. I believe, as Josephine did, that no matter which party we support or vote for, we are all authors of our collective future.

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan


Anonymous said...

Very well said indeed!

sgcynic said...

"we should seriously consider funding political parties who adhere to tenets that Singaporeans view as desirable eg multi-racial composition ; minimum membership numbers etc."

You are asking for the sky. The PAP government does not even fund opposition Town Councils, upgrading projects, beyond the bare minimum and the least priority. Note the cubicle Chiam See Tong, a duly elected MP, uses for his Meet-the-People Sessions. Ask the government to fund that first.

nofearSingapore said...

Hi sgcynic: we should always have hope that the PAP now may not be the same now as the one my cohort knew. If there are more tharmans and less wongks's things may very quickly change. The old dinosaurs would never be caught on tv saying that opposition is good for us. I like to state the brutal truth and it is a fact that in some countries who treasury civlised democracy, parties are publicly funded. Dr Huang

The Pariah said...

For senior civil servants, political office holders, CEOs, SVPs, there should be sufficient cool-off when they toggle between private and public sectors.

Even for CEOs taking on new appointments, there are no-competition cool-offs.

Today, they are HDB/MAS chiefs. Tomorrow, they are MPs slated for high office in the short term. How can we be sure that in the process of setting policies they would not have leaned towards the political party that they are planning to join?

Today, they are CEO or SVP in some industry. Tomorrow, they are MPs slated for high office. How can we be sure that their policies would not favour their former industries or even specific industry segments of their previous corporate employer?

If anything, the Wall Street implosion ought to have lessons for Singapore - the seamless toggling of Summers, Paulson, and the likes between public and private sector has worked against Main Street and against the country.

The Chinese have a saying that well water shouldn't mix with river water. At least, not without going thru a process of filtration and cool-off.

The Pariah

Anonymous said...

sorry but which parties are publicly funded again?

Anonymous said...

As this Article is about a man and an event, having to be a little personal seems unavoidable.

Me am very impressed with Tharman since the Day he was charged for disclosure of Official Information whence me took notice of him. And dare i say that whoever, no matter how impressed and with the wildest imagination, would have expected a CONVICTED Man to be a Cabinet Minister later. THIS, IF NOTHING ELSE , HAS SHOWN THE EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY OF THE MAN.

Tharman shares a common trait with ALL the other Finance Ministers from Goh Keng Swee to Tony Tan, Hon Sui Sen, and Richar Hu. They were/are all cool dudes, appeared much detached from political issues and only concentrate mostly on their jobs of looking after money matters. Here, it has been shown that they are ONLY INTERESTED IN THEIR JOBS(DUTIES) and not much the AFFAIRS/WELLBEING OF THE PEOPLE. They were/is NOT COMMITTED POLITICIANS.

Goh Keng Swee was the ONLY True Parliamentarian who involved himself with all political issues that concerned any affairs of the STATE AND THE PEOPLE.

I have pondered hard on the almost unbelievable similarities in the characteristics of all the Sin Finance Ministers. Somehow, me came to the impression that they were/is very CAREFUL people, meaning that they are wise to earn their keeps and let others do the job of governing. All the Finance Ministers need to do; handle the money affair.

The Finance Minister will have a handful to handle in Budget and Parliament Debates, making him/her the centre of focus in such meetings. AND it is here that we got to see these cool heads shooting down the Alternative Representatives with sweet sarcasms, teaches them how to satire opponents with humours etc. Not necessarily evil, me says.

Though i had pondered hard, me still have no answer as to why some of these intellectual sheeps are willing and able to be in the companies of folks who are apparently of different characteristics. There must be one thing in common and I suspect it could be money.

To conclude, me will just like to say that Lee Kuan Yew was a much respected man before the late 80s. BUT me thinks the situation is much much different now.

Does our hope for change to the better be possible when hope began right at the moment of our independence, given the situation today?

Hope and wish are proven useless, take action to change it.


nofearSingapore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nofearSingapore said...

anonymous 9.40:
If we believe Tharman and take his statement at face value, we should welcome the building of strong political parties. If it is in the national interest for this to be so, we should then use public funds to help these grow. However my opinion is that we do not want 1. one man shows , 2. racially-based parties 3. those that just come and go within 3 months of each GE. Hence we decide on what is desirable traits of political parties and fund these. At this time, PAP/WP/NSP/SDP easily meet the criteria. What you think? Why be so pessimistic? Did we ever think that a senior PAP minister would ever say that strong opposition is good for us on national tv? Never say never!

nofearSingapore said...

... sorry. I left out RP. I hope it gets over the implosion. I am sure it will be less of a one-man show soon.