Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PA's Folly Undermines PM's Efforts

Soon after the outcome of the recent general election, where the PAP suffered its first loss of a GRC and a 6.5% vote swing, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had promised that the ruling party would do some intense soul-searching and find better ways to reach out and connect with Singaporeans.

It had been a somewhat humbled PAP then through PM Lee that had urged Singaporeans to close ranks and work together with the government to achieve the overriding objective of improving the lives of the people.

Some three months later, during his National Day Rally speech, PM Lee further committed his government to getting its politics and policies right - a commitment that had been accompanied by a slew of policy tweaks for Singaporeans.

And just last week, Mr Lee called for a "harmonious political system where we make decisions in the best interest of Singapore and Singaporeans and keep ourselves safe in this uncertain environment."

He had added that Singapore was "too small to afford an impasse and gridlock, to have two sides blocking one another, so you can't move, you can't solve problems, you can't go ahead".

Yet, there somehow seems to be a huge disconnect between what Mr Lee has been saying and what the various arms of his government, including its para-governmental branches are doing. It appears as though the head and body are not communicating with each other.

This does not bode well for Mr Lee, so early into a new term for his government, which although having secured 81 out of 87 seats in Parliament can only boast of a 60.1% mandate from voters.

The most recent case involving the People's Association (PA) and the  Housing and Development Board (HDB) on one side and the residents of Aljunied GRC on the other is one such example of the incongruency between what Mr Lee is saying and what is actually happening on the ground.

If you ask me, the efforts of PA to ensure that the elected members of parliament for Aljunied GRC are denied the space and opportunity to interact with their constituents is exactly the impasse and gridlock that Mr Lee had said Singapore could ill afford. In my view, the HDB, too, is complicit in undermining the need to get the politics right.

Can the decision makers in PA and HDB honestly and sincerely say that their politicking was in the best interest of Singapore and Singaporeans? Or was it more in the interest of self-preservation and the preservation of the PAP brand of politics?

I also wonder what price for the small victory has PA inflicted on the PAP. While the PAP can take refuge in the five-year term it has until it must submit itself once again to the people's scrutiny, I would suggest that the PAP probably has a very steep hill to climb to regain the trust and confidence of the people before it can be assured to being returned to power in the next general election due by 2016.

In its zeal to fly the PAP flag, PA has effectively helped to nail the PAP's coffin in Aljunied GRC. By denying the Workers Party parliamentarians the opportunity to engage and interact with their constituents socially, PA has made them the underdogs.

This will surely translate into an upsurge of support and sympathy for them, engendering them in the hearts of their constituents and transforming them into the defacto leaders of the community.

On a larger scale, the fallout from PA's folly will also have a very telling impact on Mr Lee's prime ministership. How will we be able to trust PM Lee when what he says appears to be mere rhetoric, sounding nice to the ears but actually having no bite or substance or any real intent? 

It is my hope that the PA fiasco is not an example of the outcome of PAP's efforts to do some intense soul-searching and find better ways to reach out and connect with Singaporeans. If it is, then I really do feel sorry for Mr Lee and the well-intentioned members of the PAP because short of a miracle, the outcome of GE2016 could surely see the dawn of a new government of the day.


Majid Ali said...

Please help me for Christ sake

Anonymous said...

"PA's Folly Undermines PM's Efforts"

Dear Maverick
I believe LHL is the Chairman of PA.

Surely no competent Prime Minister will undermine his own efforts.

Anonymous said...

PM Lee must look into the matter, otherwise his calls
on Singaporeans to work together
cannot be taken seriously.


Anonymous said...

Since when did anyone take LHL seriously. Till today, he needs hsi father to say something before he is taken seriously. He is a dud

Anonymous said...

PM is a Headless chicken.Everybody knows these thing happened.It is indeed folly for PAP to continued with it.The trust is broken.