Ambassador at large, Bilahari Kausikan has been making the headlines of late, offering his opinions on issues ranging from Dr. Ang See Chai’s citizenship status to legal procedure. In the latest of his string of public wisdom contributions he has proffered his two cents worth in relation to how opposition politicians should conduct themselves at Parliamentary sessions and how they should relate with the press. (https://theindependent.sg.sg/staying-in-character-ambassador-kausikan-continues-attacks-on-opposition/)
I am puzzled by the deductions of his reasoning. He has admitted that Singapore currently lacks a shared framework by which questions of national interest can be discussed. Yet, he resists the idea that opposition politicians should take part in any such duscussion. How then can a framework be formed if no one is permitted to partake? Further, who shall be the arbiter of what the framework of national interests should be?
Mr Kausikan made a sweeping assumption that 50 years is far too short to develop such a framework and that “perhaps” we will one day have such a framework. Is 50 years deemed too short because such a framework was never permitted to develop? The word “perhaps” is also not very reassuring. Is the government not committed to the development of such a framework? If not, why not?
Clearly, Mr Kausikan’s statements provide more questions than answers.
To muddy the waters further, Mr Kausikan has taken issue with opposition MP Pitram Singh’s questions in relation to Singapore’s middle eastern policy in Parliament. If state issues such as international relations cannot be discussed in Parliament, where else can they be discussed?
Mr Kausikan has accused Mr Singh of not doing his homework. Is that not a case of pot calling kettle black? Obviously, Mr Kausikan has not done his homework as to the purposes of parliamentary sessions.
Obviously, Mr Kausikan is more than entitled to give his opinions. That said, he seems to imply that quid pro quo should not apply to those in opposition politics?
This is as puzzling as it is contradictory. By suggesting that no framework of national interests exist, it would be logical to then come up with solutions of how such a framework can be developed. After all, wouldn’t such a framework forge our national identity further for the benefit of the nation? Instead, Mr Kausikan casts doubt on whether such a system would ever come about and does not appear to be the least bit interested in whether or not such a framework should ever come about.
How can a country endure if no one knows what the national interest is? How do people feel invested in the future of the country if no one has a stake? The government has always stressed the importance of shared values. Surely, shared values should be part and parcel of collective national interests?
Instead of advocating the development of such a framework, Mr Kausikan appears to be actively against the development of such a framework at all? Something that is illogical at best and disingenuous at worst.
Further, Mr Kausikan has accused the SDP of not answering questions of increased social spending. I wonder if he fails to see the irony of that question. For someone who has through his statements raised many questions that he has not answered, it seems a little rich to be attacking the SDP.
Is Mr Kausikan simply lambasting the opposition parties for the sake of it?
Is Kausikan lambasting opposition just for the sake of it?