Earlier today Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam urged Singaporeans to have confidence in the Government. He tried to explain that Ministerial Committees are not uncommon and that he himself chairs several of such Committees.
He acknowledged that the PAP-led government had its share of policies that have turned out quite wrong at different points in our history, but dismissed it as a challenge in governance that will never disappear, and is a challenge everywhere in the world.
His post touched especially on the integrity of the different generations of PAP leaders and said that they were all men of honour. DPM Tharman said that PM Lee is committed to the system of preserving the rule of law, and of policy-making that balances public against private interests.
Readers of various media outlets who responded to DPM Tharman’s message of support for PM Lee criticised him for it.
Facebook user Seng Herng Yueng who responded to our post of the story in Facebook said: “Isn’t it the job of DPM to represent the interests of the citizens ? Has he forgotten his due diligence ? So instead of questioning the PM on so many of the alleged lapses (procuring deed of gift, installing personal lawyer as AG and so many more..) he went ahead to defend him ? I hv lost respect for this supposed last good guy of pap.”
The commenters with the most likes in The Straits Times report of the story in their Facebook similarly disapproved his message of support.
Joseph Kee: “Tharman, I always thought you are the clear thinking type but you joined the fray. There is nothing new in what you said which TCH had already said. Its the big glaring conflict of interest as a committee formed by ministers all of whom reports to the central figure of this whole controversy. I would expect the government to be smarter than that.Now it seems, when it was found out of this formation of the committee, the government is trying to wriggle its way out with all sorts of excuse.”
Lucy Chong: “Yes, set up ministerial committees to look into more urgent affairs like radicalized Muslims in our midst and armed forces. Leave private affairs and Wills of others alone. Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s dignity and legacy are being tarnished by unnecessary government interference. Advise your comrades to do the right thing.”
Leong Lim: “Our honourable minister Tharman, please don’t worry in this family affair & the committee that set up to deal with the options. Why don’t u set up more committees to look into improving our country’s economy, state welfare for the underprivileged & the senior citizens, creating more jobs instead of young abled bodied young people driving Uber & Grab. It’s a waste of our education system in training only drivers!”
Commenters with most number of likes in the Channel NewsAsia’s report in their Facebook also censured the DPM.
Frederick Lim: “Why is Oxley38 committee a secret and PM claimed he doesn’t know about it? You mean ministers can set up committees without approval from the boss? And why a secret committee is set up for a family dispute? Don’t claim national interest now when GCT (Goh Chok Tong) said it was a petty family dispute.”
Lupin Duabuipanda: “I don’t see a special committee being set up when the National Library at Stamford Rd is given up for a bypass , or the iconic Rochor Center being given up for (wait a min)… A bypass. And don’t get me start on Sungei Rd.”
Danny Yong: “The fact is you guys are trying to put aside the late LKY’s (Lee Kuan Yew’s) last wishes, plain and simple. That is a total disrespect to a great man.”
Wanbao Readers were similarly critical.
Jeffery Toh: “现在大家想知道是，立遗嘱是否有法律保障？如果是没有，那立遗嘱意义何在？这才是真正的重点！如果喜欢喜欢就推翻。。。。那以后那有人敢相信立遗嘱是有保障！” (Facebook auto translation: Now we all want to know whether there is any legal protection for the will. If not, what is the meaning of this will? That’s the real point! If you like it, you’ll be able to believe that a will is guaranteed!)
Peter Leow: “建国总理在立遗嘱时情形和遗嘱的内容那么重要的东西，应该都有人记录在案和保护好，都有几个版本，我不知道怎么说服人民对政府办事有信心？” (Facebook auto translation: I wonder how to convince people to have faith in the government when the prime minister is so important in the circumstances of his will and the contents of the will.)