SINGAPORE: A local Reddit user questioned whether one’s moral choices and practices affect their leadership abilities in the wake of the numerous political scandals just in the past week.
“Infidelity is not a crime in Singapore, but it could be viewed as having questionable morality. However, does it have a direct effect to one’s ability to do well in politics? Let’s discuss,” wrote u/kimjeongpwn on r/Singapore on Tuesday (July 18).
The post author clarified that both parties “are currently in the same boat” given that former House Speaker Tan Chuan Jin and fellow PAP MP Cheng Li Hui resigned due to their extramarital affair, and as of Wednesday (Jul 18), so have Workers’ Party MP Leon Perera (Aljunied GRC) and Nicole Seah, who had headed the WP Youth Wing.
u/kimjeongpwn noted that many commenters on Reddit had noted the “morality aspects of the parties involved” and that many have been quick to judge.
“There may not be any correlation between these two factors, but certainly, one can argue that if a politician is unable to keep their marriage vows, then they most certainly cannot be trusted to do a good enough job to service the country.
Suppose these affected individuals continue to service the people – do you think they will be trusted by the general public to continue to do a good job?”
The post author added in a later edit that US President Bill Clinton could be an example of “how infidelity and one’s ability to be a politician are not necessarily correlated,” having continued his presidency despite a scandal and had high approval ratings overall.
Many people weighed in on the post, which generated over 300 comments.
“Infidelity isn’t a crime but hiding it while continuing to pretend to be a role model to younger generations is doing great disservice to this country,” wrote one.
“I know all politicians lie to some extent but there is a certain–audacity, for the lack of a better word–in wanting the public to believe in you when even your own spouse can’t,” another weighed in.
“If you can cheat on your spouse, you’ll probably have no qualms cheating your voters,” wrote a third Redditor.
Another chimed in, “If a person cannot even conduct him/herself well as a parent/partner of a family, how can they be trusted to be in a position to represent us in policies that shape the country and its future?”
One quoted a study looking at infidelity and professional conduct, and another provided the link to it.
“Infidelity can be a source of embarrassment. This can potentially lead the person especially lawmakers or even key office holders to be the subject of blackmail, extortion or undue pressure. Never mind how deep the affairs (sic) was, the government or the party cannot afford to take chances with such individuals to carry out their duties w/o fear or favour already,” a Redditor opined.
“The fact that someone of political standing is willing to risk their family’s well-being etc for short term lust poses a potential problem to the stability of the country in the long term. It means that this person might be susceptible to bribes, blackmail, etc. this person is a walking weak link,” another agreed.