Monday, July 15, 2013

The PM Wade In

As the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) try to do a full court press on the opposition Workers’ Party (WP), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has now waded into the conversation. He called on WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiang to investigate the issue of the cleaning of hawker centers in Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East, a constituency overseen by WP.

PM Lee says this affects the integrity of the WP but by going on the attack, he just made things difficult for himself. The PM now faces a few tricky problems. One; the WP has shrewdly refused to rise to the bait. Mr. Low runs a tight ship at the WP and they had basically ignored the issue outright.

Two; the reason why the WP could ignore the issue is because Singaporeans just do not care. Like my post earlier, most Singaporeans do not care about the issue. Most Singaporeans do not view this as a case of “integrity”, but two political parties squabbling over small matters to score political points.

Basically, this is an issue that has no traction. Most Singaporeans are in disbelief that our PM is wading into an issue over the cleaning of a hawker center. What’s next; he going to question road sweepers over the cleaning of the streets in Hougang? He’s the Prime Minister of Singapore and he’s arguing with the opposition over the cleaning of an eating place?

That’s ridiculous. Its one thing if a relatively minor Cabinet minister of the PAP goes on the attack on things like this, but the PM should not be involved in this. He is the head of the Singapore government and frankly most Singaporeans expect him to be worrying about things more important than who cleans a hawker center. 


Anonymous said...

You seem to have got the sequence wrong. The PM did not"wade in". As his statement revealed, the Cabinet HAD decided to take the WP to task on what it characterised as a question of integrity. Balakrishnan was deputed to put this decision in Parliament. You will recall that he started by saying that he was pursuing this despite being advised by some 'well meaning friends' against it.This statement was meant to show that his moral fibre would not let the matter pass. The disingenuity is now laid bare.The whole episode should be looked at against the background of the people's loss of faith and confidence in the government. The loss of a GRC and two by-elections and the election of a President backed by them with only 35% of the vote have set the alarm bells ringing. With rising unemployment, health care costs, housing costs, the poor handling of the haze problem, the Brompton bike and AIM sagas, we have what the Americans call the "perfect storm".There is a very real danger of the PAP getting a trouncing in GE 2016.This situation is aggravated by a split in the PAP ranks, as evidenced by Tan Cheng Bok's share of the vote in the Presidential elections.One blogger wrote that the PAP was desperate to pursue this matter but I believe that it was a serious tactical error when the matter was debated in the Cabinet. What might have succeeded during the days of his father no longer works.People were much more forgiving given his father's role in the history of this country.The PM gilded path has not prepared him for the changed political and social landscape with the internet, etc. At the GE 2011, the PM asked the voters to judge the PAP by its record. It is time to act accordingly.Sop trying to put the tooth paste back into the tube; you will not succeed.

Ghost said...

I don’t think you can call it an error because it doesn’t hurt the PAP. The only thing is that it’s a waste of time because it won’t hurt the WP either. No one cares about the whole thing and the more the PAP talks about it, the more stupid they sound. I mean this is a case about the cleaning of a hawker center for god sake. Not something you expect the PM and a cabinet minister to be commenting on.