Letter to ST Forum from Mr Gerald Giam

The Editor
Straits Times Forum

Dear Sir,

I refer to Ms Indranee Rajah’s letter (‘WP’s fictional First World Parliament’, ST, 19 April). The Workers’ Party (WP) does not share Ms Rajah’s cynicism of democratic politics.

The fact that WP’s vision of a First World Parliament does not model itself after any particular developed country should not be surprising to Ms Rajah. After all, we do hear, ever so often, the People’s Action Party (PAP) proclaiming that it runs a First World Government. After which country’s government, then, does the PAP model itself? Does the PAP not instead trumpet itself as a model for other governments to follow?

Ms Rajah states that having Constitutional amendments blocked will be ‘preventing effective governance’. Perhaps she misread the media reports, which correctly quoted WP chairman Sylvia Lim as saying that opposition party MPs would vote against Constitutional amendments made for partisan advantage.

How many democracies have amended their Constitutions as frequently as in Singapore, in ways which fundamentally change the political system and power balance in governance? In fact, having another political party to defend the Constitution against amendments which are not in the national interest is fundamental to safeguarding the rights and interests of the people.

Ms Rajah suggests that the Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) scheme can act as a check on the Government. A Parliament with NCMPs and without elected opposition MPs will be in danger of becoming a national feedback unit and not what it should be—an organ of state with diverse representatives, each carrying a political mandate from the people.

WP has explained its vision of First World Parliament to Singaporeans. How the First World Parliament will evolve eventually depends on Singaporeans—on how voters vote. The PAP would understandably want to muddy the waters and cause confusion. We believe that Singaporeans are educated and mature enough to see through this.

Executive Council Member
The Workers’ Party