Former minister Raymond Lim says the next stage of Singapore’s development “is dependent on the young Singaporeans… whether we move from one party dominance to a two-party see-saw”.
Young Singaporeans are just one deciding factor. There are many other issues that will determine if Singapore will become a two-party system: PAP’s mistakes and its understanding of the ground, the unity within the Opposition and the kind of candidates that the Opposition can draw.
As expected, Lim used an out-dated argument to question the need for a two-party system. Does such a system bring about consensus? And does it have the capacity to implement the decisions after consensus is reached.
Again, as expected, he pointed to the current gridlock in the US. He used a Barack Obama quote to make his point: “Is this change that we can believe in”?
We need to move away from arguments like these to come to a clearer understanding of the issues at stake:
One, single party dominance has its weaknesses. The main one is the lack of a responsible and robust check and balance system that sits outside government. However hard you try to manufacture such a system within government it will just not work. See how the recent housing and immigration policies have brought about so much pain for the people.
Two, the deep desire for change among the citizenry is not going to go away. And this desire is not just seen among the young, but also among the senior citizens.
Three, Singaporean are mature enough to sift the good from the bad. There are enough Singaporeans who have the maturity and ability to see which politicians and party are capable. The results of the last general election, presidential election and the two by-elections are clear indicators. It is timely to remember that a number of politicians even lost their deposits.
Forty eight years after independence and it is time to chuck some of the archaic thinking about politics into the dustbin of history.