Monday, August 31, 2009

Low Thia Khiang is a disappointment

News this morning tells of a landslide win for the Japanese opposition party, which leads me to think about the possibility of a PAP defeat at the polls in Singapore. Then I thought about who would be our new Prime Minister... there is only one likely candidate, but forget about it. Low Thia Khiang is not PM material.

It took me some time to catch up with NMP Viswa Sadasivan's speech in parliament, and I struggled to find anything incendiary. While the Minister Mentor seemed to have grossly overreacted, one has to remember that he is haunted by his long legacy of "pragmatism". Generals are always fighting the last war, and this old general still sees the world through 1950s lenses.

What is genuinely disappointing is Low Thia Khiang's response. At first sign of trouble, he chooses to wash his hands clean. The Pledge should not be brought up in parliamentary debates? Then when should the Pledge be used? In political rallies like he did during the last General Election? How many times have we seen him in parliament, on the verge of asking really piercing questions, only to back away at the last minute? I think he has done an excellent job in Hougang, *if* he thinks his role is just that of a very well paid village elder.

But as an opposition MP in the parliament, he has only done his job with only occasional brilliance, and even then, with great reluctance. Instead, we have to rely on PAP MPs like Tan Soo Khoon to play the role of opposition in the parliament.

If ever Singapore has a freak election, I seriously doubt he will even want to try to be Singapore's PM. I think he will wash his hands as quickly as he did with NMP Viswa's speech, and declare he will have nothing to do with it.

Despite widespread panning of PM Lee's electoral reforms to expand the number of Non Constituency MPs (NCMP), I think it is a constructive and necessary step.

We need new faces at work in parliament to give the electorate options, even if they have to start as powerless NMPs and NCMPs. (After watching Ling How Doong at work in parliament, who will want him to run a town council again?)

If we have to choose between the insipid and disinterested like Mr Low and Mr Chiam See Tong, or radical liberals like the SDP, it simply makes Singaporean democracy a bigger and more frustrating joke than it needs to be.

PS I am not related to any political party and will probably spoil my vote if I am forced to vote today.

1 comment:

  1. I beg to differ. Mr low thia khiang was the only nmp for the workers party before the 2011 GE when wp won Ajunied GRC. Which means that there would be no NMPs from the wp to second his argument and thus I thunk that mr low is already very courageous by standing up against the sea of pap NMPs so as to protect the interests of Singapore. We should not criticize him but encourage him and the workers party to bring change in to the stagnant political scene in singapore