Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Room for political robustness


Singapore can prosper even if differences exist

Letter from Poh Lee Heng

I refer to “Singapore beyond Lee Kuan Yew” (April 22).

I am 45 years old and have seen and benefited from the transition of Singapore from Third World to First under the strong but dominant leadership of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. I am very pleased that there is at least a debate about the future of Singapore beyond Mr Lee.

There should be more such debates as this is an issue of great national interest. The more we debate about it, the better we will be prepared for any unexpected scenario.

Mr Ho Kwon Ping is spot-on by saying that “for Singapore’s sake, the People’s Action Party (PAP) had better be sustainably competent, because there is no dependable, tested Opposition party as fallback for the country. The price of the PAP’s extraordinarily successful half-century of governance is that the system is now particularly vulnerable to the internal self-renewal of the PAP”.

The Singapore political system is highly efficient but not robust and as Mr Ho had pointed out, very dependent on the PAP.

China’s political system is efficient compared with India’s but India’s system is relatively more robust.

For a party to be in power for so long and remain corrupt-free and efficient is due to the strong leadership of Mr Lee and its current leaders.

In addition, the current leadership is self-disciplined and constantly reminding themselves of their duty toward the people of Singapore.

But in the absence of a strong leader, there is no guarantee that it will continue to do so.

I personally would rather live with a certain amount of instability due to political differences, in exchange for political robustness. I think Singapore has matured vastly over the last 20 years and can survive and prosper even if there are political differences.

Mr Lee, Singapore’s founding father, is in a great position to put our political system on a road map to robustness and this should cut across party interests.

I hope that Singapore will continue to be a great country for my children who are now in their teenage years.

From TODAY, Voices – Thursday, 23-April-2009

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