PM Lee Hsien Loong was in his element when he delivered his first major Speech since the last election. He conjured up Obama, Xi Jinping, Lee Kuan Yew, Tunku Abdul Rahman, and even J B Jeyaretnam (well not really – but he alluded to the opposition’s election in 1984), to convince the people that changes to our political system were necessary.
He shared of political systems in the USA, Europe, India and China to bring home the point that “there is no perfect model anywhere in the world, much less one that we can import wholesale and apply in Singapore,” but that we have to find a system which would take us forward.
And before announcing the pending changes, he played a pentatonic melody to ease the concerns of the electorate.
|PITCH 1 –||Accountable, honest, competent, effective, high quality government.|
|PITCH 2 –||The political system must be free, fair, open and contestable.|
|PITCH 3 –||The Government must be kept on its toes so that it is motivated to look after the interests of Singaporeans.|
|PITCH 4 –||Our political system must uphold a multi-racial society.|
|PITCH 5 –||We must safeguard Singapore’s’ oil in the ground’ – our reserves, and the integrity of the public service.|
- Well, who can argue against these, right?
Sometimes things said 30 years ago are “still worth reading,” at other times 25 years is too long, “(like a shoe) mended and adjusted…from time to time.”
So, what are the changes that are coming?
- Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP)
- The maximum number of NCMPs will be raised from 9 to 12; and
- They will be upgraded from “second-class” to the first. (Not sure if the NCMP allowance will keep pace with the upgrade in class.)
2. Smaller Group Representation Constituencies (GRC) and more single member constituencies (SMC)
3. Elected President (EP)
- Qualifying criteria of EP will be reviewed.
- $100 million company bosses may no longer qualify to be EP.
- Council of Presidential Advisors (CPA) to have veto powers.
- Government with 2/3 majority vote in parliament, can out-veto President’s veto of key appointment holders and supply bills, if EP’s veto does not come with the veto of CPA.
- Minorities will have better chance of being EP.
The Prime Minister was certainly in his element in delivering his Speech, and with the confidence that the majority in the choir will perform to his tune, he did so like a maestro with a baton in his hand.
This video should school you on pentatone music.
PM Lee’s full text of Speech HERE.