Prominent opposition politicians have expressed support for an appeal calling on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to split the ruling People’s Action Party into two parties, before his successor take over as head of government after the next General Election.
Former presidential candidate and ex-chief executive of NTUC Income, Tan Kin Lian, made the appeal on social media.
Noting that “most people will remember his bad policies, and his legacy will be negative,” when Lee steps down, Tan offered that Lee can make one “important change” to Singapore’s political landscape so that people will remember his legacy more positively. Tan suggested:
“What is this important change? It is not abolishing GST, stopping the inflow of foreigners, returning CPF at age 55 and abolishing the GRC system. While each of these measures is important, it will not by itself have a significant impact.
“In my view, the most important change is to allow the PAP to be split into two parties. He can ask his ministers and MPs to choose whether they wish to remain in the PAP or to move to an alternative party to be split from the PAP.”
Noting that such a move will encourage “genuine and democratic competition” that will result in “better policies for Singapore,” Tan asserted:
“Without his blessing, the ministers and MPs will not make this move. They will not want to be seen to be disloyal or traitors and be involved in an acrimonious separation. There is too much at stake for them financially and socially.
“With his blessing, two strong parties will formed from the from the original PAP. It will allow a genuine contest between these parties. Some of the non PAP politicians may wish to join either of the parties.”
Under this “more vibrant political landscape,” Tan believes that institutions like the GRC system and the elected presidency would “probably be abolished” and replaced by an upper house system. Tan further cautioned:
“If we continue without this change, the future for Singapore will be bleak. The existing policies of the PAP will be continued and will cause more harm to the country and the livelihood of the people.
“Do not be misled into thinking that Singapore is now a prosperous country; it is not. We appear to be prosperous because of fictitious wealth created by an property bubble. The broader economy is high cost and uncompetitive.
“If the PAP continues the existing policies, the economic and social conditions for most people will continue to get worse. One day, the PAP will be overthrown and will become totally irrelevant, like the Barisan Nasional in Malaysia. The future for Singapore will be most uncertain.”
Tan asserted: “LHL has a choice. He can depart from the political scene with a bad legacy. Or he can make one important change that will create a better future for Singapore.”
Interestingly, Tan’s suggestion appears to be seconded by other prominent opposition politicians.
The Singapore Democratic Party’s chairman Dr Paul Tambyah is one of the Singaporeans who “liked” Tan’s proposal on Facebook, while People’s Power Party secretary-general Goh Meng Seng shared Tan’s appeal on his own social media wall.