Pritam Singh wants to evolution-ise S'pore politics - but is he the right man for the job?Apr 28, 2023 | 🚀 Fathership AI
During a recent debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address last Friday (Apr 21), Pritam Singh, the leader of Singapore's opposition Workers' Party (WP), stated that their goal of having one-third of Parliament's seats is crucial for establishing political balance.
Currently, the ruling PAP has a super-majority, allowing them to amend the Constitution at will.
But can Pritam Singh meet the expectations of a competent government?
Inconsistencies and Controversies
AHTC allegations: Pritam Singh and other WP MPs were embroiled in a scandal involving financial mismanagement and breach of fiduciary duties in AHTC. The High Court, in a damning verdict in 2019, found them dishonest, and the Court of Appeal upheld these findings in 2020, ordering them to pay damages.
Raeesah Khan incident: Pritam Singh faced public outcry for his handling of the controversy surrounding WP MP Raeesah Khan, who confessed to lying in Parliament.
The WP leadership was slammed for its lack of transparency and slow response to the issue, raising doubts about Pritam Singh's commitment to accountability.
The committee investigating the matter concluded that Pritam Singh played a crucial role in perpetuating the lie, stating, "He was the primary cause, the operating brain, for Ms Khan repeating the untruth in Parliament."
Inconsistencies in WP's stance on national issues: Pritam Singh has been under fire for the party's inconsistent positions on critical issues like financial reserves, GST, housing affordability, and foreign workers.
The WP's shifting stance on foreign workers, for instance, raises alarm about policy coherence and credibility, potentially jeopardizing Singapore's capacity to attract and retain global talent.
On housing affordability, MP Louis Chua made contradictory statements, first claiming housing was affordable as a professional, and later asserting it was unaffordable as a politician. Such inconsistencies sow doubt and mistrust among Singaporeans, casting a cloud over the party's commitment to honesty and transparency.
"Evolution" or just populism?
Singh stated that the WP seeks an "evolution" of Singapore politics towards the permanent presence of elected opposition MPs, rather than a "revolution" that includes a change of government at this stage of Singapore's political development. However, this could change, as he warned that a rogue government could emerge from within the PAP if they rest on their laurels.
In response, DPM Lawrence Wong acknowledged the need for both serious government and opposition in Singapore's maturing democracy. However, he noted that their views on the opposition's proposals differ and that Singapore must learn from other developed democracies that have become dysfunctional due to politics.
He rejected all forms of populism and emphasized the importance of honesty and integrity in policymaking, stating that the opposition should call out the government if they fall short of these standards.
Observers worry that Pritam Singh's leadership could lead to wavering policies and a lack of transparency, which may ultimately undermine the public's trust in the government.
The uncertainties and policy flip-flops could make Singapore a less attractive destination for foreign investments, as investors rely on stable and predictable policies to make informed decisions. In turn, this could negatively impact Singapore's economic stability, job creation, and overall growth.
Furthermore, the potential consequences of Pritam Singh's leadership extend beyond the immediate economic realm.
His handling of controversies and inconsistencies might also tarnish Singapore's reputation for good governance, transparency, and accountability on the global stage.
In a world where image and credibility matter, any damage to Singapore's reputation could have far-reaching effects on its ability to maintain its competitive edge and attract both talent and investments.
It is crucial for Singaporeans to critically evaluate Pritam Singh's character and capabilities, and to consider whether he is the right person to bring about the political evolution that he envisions for the country.
In doing so, Singaporeans must weigh the potential risks and benefits, and make a well-informed choice for the future of Singapore.