Singapore—People’s Voice Singapore held a rally on Saturday, March 16, called ‘Where is the Accountability in our Singapore?” at Hong Ling Park from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. At the rally, Lim Tean held President Halimah Yacob primarily responsible for the lack of accountability in the nation.
Mr Lim is an opposition politician and a lawyer as well as the founding leader of People’s Voice. He was the last to speak in the lineup of eight speakers, which included controversial blogger Leong Sze Hian.
His 20-minute speech highlighted the lack of accountability in the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP). The speech has been uploaded on youtube and can be found here.
First, he went back in time and recounted a situation with the country’s second Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, “I tell you, accountability in Singapore, public accountability in Singapore ended the day Goh Chok Tong said in 2015, shortly before the general elections ‘we are our own checks, don’t fall for the seductive lie that there must be checks and balances’.”
He next singled out Singapore’s Minister of Health. “Gan Kim Yong cannot forever say that he is not responsible for this data breach, another data breach. Under his watch, there have been 3 data breaches. The very serious one that happened last year that involved 1.5million people. The HIV leak that was disclosed only this year but was known much earlier, and what we learned yesterday about the unlawful disclosure of the identities of the blood donors.”
But perhaps his most pointed criticism was reserved for President Halimah Yacob.
“And I tell you the second reason why accountability is in such a poor state in our public life today. It is because we have a useless President!”
The crowd applauded Mr Lim when he said this.
He went on to say, “Most people think that the president’s only role is to hold the second key to the reserves. That is not correct. Besides being the guardian of the reserves, she is supposed to be the guardian of the integrity of the public service. She can at anytime call a Commission of Inquiry, under the Commission of Inquiry Act, to investigate into various aspects of public life, and the integrity of the public service is foremost and always one of them.
Now I am suggesting to her, if she is doing her job properly, she would not have allowed the new Auditor-General, who is the wife of a Senior Minister of State, to be appointed.”
Again, applause was heard.
He added, “Ridiculous! It was ridiculous listening to Chan Chun Sing in Parliament trying to justify, all right? Is it any wonder why 96 percent of the public, who took part in the poll conducted by The Online Citizen… thought that it was a conflict of interest?
Hey, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist, you don’t have to be a genius to know that that is a conflict of interest situation.”
On February 28 in Parliament, Chan Chun Sing declared that there is no conflict of interest in the appointment of the new Auditor-General Goh Soon Poh, despite the fact that she’s married to the Senior Minister of State for Defence.
Mr Chan is the Minister-in-charge of the Public Service, as well as the Minister for Trade and Industry. Heng Chee How is the Senior Minister of State for Defence.
He cited Ms Goh’s many years of service in the public sector and assured that proper procedures were followed regarding her appointment.
At the rally on March 16, Mr Lim also took aim at the absence of a free media as another reason for the lack of accountability in Singapore. He said, “And the third reason why accountability, public accountability is almost non-existent in our country, is because we don’t have a Free Press, we do not have the 4th estate as the Americans call it. Our state media are nothing more than propaganda broadsheets for the PAP,” which was also greeted with applause by the audience.