While Singaporeans who watched the People’s Action Party (PAP) Central Executive Committee (CEC) results closely to get a clearer picture of who will become Singapore’s fourth PM may have been disappointed since all three PM frontrunners were elected into the CEC, the election has sparked much debate on social media.
Some decried the fact that Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was among the five senior politicians that retired from the ruling party’s highest decision making body, since his exit from the CEC solidified the fact that there is no chance he could become the next PM.
Prominent figures like ex-GIC chief economist Yeoh Lam Keong and academic Cherian George joined the chorus of voices that were upset that Tharman – the “people’s choice” for PM – effectively dropped out of the PM race.
The election results also showed that no person over the age of 60 is a part of the new CEC, except Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
For others, the CEC election was a source of disappointed. One such disappointed Singaporean, Facebook user Joseph Nathan, asked on social media why the ruling party has “gotten so out of touch” with the aspirations of its citizens.
Describing that he was a firm PAP supporter, Nathan shared how he feels the party has become “misaligned” over the years:
“During Singapore early years, many citizens voted firmly for our First Cabinet despite their many imperfections because the people can see their sincerity & dedication. Collectively with our Merdeka & Pioneer generations, and support from international agencies, SG transits from Third World to First World. SG was a collective success.
“We were considered by many as a miracle, a case-study of socio-economic success. I was pro-PAP and would debunk naysayers as l could see that our leaders were committed in addressing citizens’ welfare & situational needs, 24/7.
“Somehow, the PAP that l used to know has lost its orientation, purpose & sense of compassion. This is dividing the country as politic transcends almost every facade of our society.”
Touching on high ministerial salaries, Nathan noted that the people aren’t necessarily upset by the actual salaries ministers are paid but that the people take issue with the reasoning behind the salary framework.
Asserting that such critical feedback is deflected by a “defensive Government,” Nathan argued that turning the issue into an “us vs them” situation ends up “further dividing Singapore”:
“When our 3G leaders were paid highly, there were much negative sentiment. To put things into perspective, Singaporeans aren’t entirely angry about paying our leaders well.
“They are against the methodology used to formulate the salary and question the calibre of some of these leaders, especially those who were parachuted into parliament & fast-tracked into ministerial positions.
“These two simple questions were valid feedbacks and remain so. Sadly, somehow, the whole matter was ultimately framed as one of “us vs them”, further dividing SG. PAP missed these critical feedbacks by it being defensive.”
Linking an online report covering the CEC election, Nathan asserted that the 4G leadership transition “will further compound such “misalignment” as the calibre of some of the 4G leaders remain questionable – Singaporeans are not fully convince about their sincerity, capability & commitment.”
He added that “PM has just a couple of months earlier wondered openly if those shortlisted 4G leaders are ready. With nothing much having done or change, PM will have to try much harder to convince Singaporeans to accept these 4G leaders as the best SG can produce or offer.”
Criticising the new PAP leadership for being unable to pick up on ground sentiments, Nathan asserted that the latest CEC election shows just how “out of touch” the party is:
“For many Singaporeans, it is going to be a very hard pill to swallow. The PAP that l used to know and the current PAP are vastly two very different entities. The older one listen & respond but the newer one just cannot pick up the ground-signals.
“By its latest annoucement, l think PAP has yet again missed another critical feedbacks, showing just how “out of touch” its party-agenda are, when benchmarked to its citizens’ true aspirations.
“Singapore deserves better…”
Read his post in full here: