“The signal we want to send to the electorate is we want you to speak and debate, we want a good election in which the issues are raised and joined and we discuss the serious matters which face Singapore.”
Those are the words of PAP’s Lee Hsien Loong before the party went on to sue the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) for defamation ahead of nomination day. (“Election or no election, I’ve to act swiftly”, Straits Times, 23 April 2006)
Like most of the rhetoric uttered by members of the ruling party in recent years, the latest developments have shown how hollow those words are. Since nomination day, the PAP has wasted much time trying to discredit Workers’ Party’s James Gomez rather than “discuss the serious matters which face Singapore”. Only when they realised how futile their attempt to provoke a response from Workers Party did foreign minister George Yeo finally give up and say his team will move on and focus on issues impacting Aljunied residents. Well, it’s about time. The WP has already moved on, and it is hard to debate the issues when the other party still clings on to the past.
Speaking of debate, the constant drone of sycophantic support for the official line from the local media cannot by any stretch of the imagination be mistaken for public debate. Until the government has the courage to accept constructive criticisms without resorting to rebutting every critic line by line, we will have a long way to go.