Workers’ Party (WP) member Yee Jenn Jong has criticised remarks ex-Senior Minister S Jayakumar made about the opposition in his new book, ‘Governing: A Singapore Perspective’.
In the 192-page volume, which provides an inside look into Prof Jayakumar’s three-decade long political career, Prof Jayakumar revealed that he emailed a warning about the WP to a cabinet minister a few days after the 2020 election in which the WP clinched an unprecedented 10 parliamentary seats.
Claiming that the WP will aim to replace the Government down the road, the former Deputy Prime Minister and Senior Minister wrote: “A few days after GE 2020, on 15 July 2020, I emailed this view to a Cabinet minister: ‘We should not be beguiled by WP’s stance that they only want to check the Government. This time their line was to prevent a clean sweep of all seats.
“‘At the next GE – their aim will be to prevent PAP having a two-thirds majority. Further down the road, we should not rule out them (in concert with other opposition parties) trying to prevent PAP winning a majority of seats. They will do so if they have enough winnable candidates.”
He added: “‘As I see it, the camel has gotten its nose into the PAP tent. It will want to occupy the whole tent in 2, 3 or 4 elections down the road.’”
Calling out Prof Jayakumar for “playing the fear game” and imply that Singapore will descend into chaos unless only one party rules forever, Mr Yee asserted on Facebook: “The tent belongs to Singapore, not to a political party.
“Whether the camel will occupy the tent or not in 2, 3 or 4 elections depends on the people of Singapore and whether good and committed people will continue to join the WP and for that matter, other political parties. It also depends on whether the current occupiers of the tent will show themselves competent to stay there.”
He added: “No government in history has ruled forever and no party has the monopoly of wisdom. Our system allows for checks and balances, as well as change in government if the real owners of the tent deem so. Stop playing the fear game and paint that only one party should rule forever else there will be chaos.”
The former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament made similar comments in the July hustings when he disputed the implication that Singapore will collapse if the PAP does not get a strong mandate.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had cautioned during an election rally that investors, friends and adversaries of Singapore will use the election results to see if Singaporeans are united and still strongly support their leaders. The PAP also argued that Singapore’s foreign direct investment (FDI) from multinational corporations (MNCs) could be impacted if the PAP loses more seats in Parliament.
Pointing out that Singapore did not collapse when the PAP lost two full ministers and a senior minister of state when the WP won Aljunied GRC in the 2011 general election, Mr Yee called on Singaporeans to vote fearlessly.
His colleague, Leon Perera, also said then: “I remember that, in the past, this view was used by the PAP very frequently and loudly at every GE. Yet, the stock of FDI grew after the 2011 GE where the WP won the GRC of Aljunied as fully elected MPs for the first time – from approximately $665 billion in 2010 to $1.27 trillion in 2015.”
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