Friday, August 28, 2015

Sylvia Lim: Will powerful ruling party model meet S’poreans’ needs?


AUGUST 27, 2015

SINGAPORE — In today’s increasingly complex environment where the Government does not have the answer to everything, will a “very powerful” ruling party model still be able to serve Singaporeans’ needs?

That was the question Workers’ Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim put to the electorate today (Aug 27), in response to a journalist’s query on how her party is able to offer voters a better choice, as compared to the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).

Several PAP leaders have framed the General Election (GE) on Sept 11 in terms of leadership renewal, and the need to have strong leadership amid a fast-changing external landscape.

On its part, the WP, at a press conference to introduce its first batch of candidates today, pointed to the importance of having an entrenched Opposition in Parliament, as Singapore moves into an unknown future, and for Singaporeans to be aware of how their voting powers can serve as a check on the Government.

Speaking at the press conference to introduce the WP’s second slate of candidates at its headquarters in Syed Alwi Road, Ms Lim said today: “Because of the more complex environment ... even the Government doesn’t have the answer to everything.

“Therefore, the question will be whether Singaporeans will be better served by a ruling party that’s very powerful or another model?”

Reiterating the WP’s slogan of Empower Your Future, she noted that it refers to a Singaporean voter’s bargaining power with the Government.

[Side issue: Can one empower the future? Or can only people be empowered? Glad WP's theme is not "Empowering your English".]

“Through (exercising) of (their) vote, the people can express their views on whether they’re happy or not with the government policies, and thereby become empowered because we would expect that the Government will respond to the results of any General Election,” she added.

[Elections are very blunt instruments. Based on some of the comments online, people may object to the "Stop at Two" policy or the "Graduate Moms" policy. Even now. When both of those policies are dead. So they vote in opposition to... kill dead policies from the past? 


Or say you voted in opposition because you were unhappy with the liberal foreign workers policy (or any other policy you are unhappy with). Say the problem has been solved or reduced. Are you going to vote out the opposition? 

And say another policy comes along - a medical insurance policy. And for some reason the opposition you voted in is against it. But you like that policy! How?

Blunt instrument.

It may be also that you do not like certain aspect of a policy - say the age criteria starts as 65, but you feel it should start at 60, would having an opposition in parliament help? You want a tweak not a termination.

Blunt instrument.

Here's a comment from Facebook addressing the key theme of Sylvia's comment, that because we live in a more "complex environment" even the govt does have all the answers. If so, should it be so powerful? This in the context or perhaps an elaboration of WP's theme, "Empower Your Future" (sic):
If the problem is lack of knowledge ("The govt doesn't know everything"), why is your solution about weakening your opponent?
I like your logic. Self-serving logic.
Here's a counter argument: Knowledge is power. If the govt doesn't have the answer to everything, the solution is for the govt to gather knowledge and find answers.
Instead of telling people that a powerful government is to be feared (the Politics of Fear, Politics of irrationality), why don't your impress the people with your brilliant ideas for the solution of problems that the govt does not have?
No? That is not your suggestion?
Your argument is this: "The govt doesn't know everything. And it is too powerful. We have to weaken it. So that maybe somebody else might have a solution, and can speak up, but it is not the WP, we just want to empower your future, by reducing the power of the Govt who doesn't know everything anyway and so cannot solve all your problems. So remember, vote WP!"
Did I get your message right?
A govt that doesn't know everything is better than a govt than doesn't know ANYTHING.
And when you say "empower your future" what you mean is your strategy is to weaken the govt so that people are relatively more powerful, lah?
So it's not "empower the future". It's "weaken the government"? So glad you explained your election theme.

Yes, the govt doesn't know everything, but "you know nothing, Jon Snow."

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