[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Friday, March 14, 2008

[Malaysian elections and Singapore 2011]
The first thing that struck me about the Malaysian elections is the notion of a "two-party" system of government. That is the first step to a healthy democracy. Think republicans and democrats.

With a "two-party" system there will be more conflict in Parliamentary debates. Conflict is an important element in democracies. In authoritarian states, conflict is minimised or there is no conflict - people "Just Follow Law" and listen to an autocratic wise man. I can write a whole load about conflict but I shall save you from reading all that. If what the man says works out then outcomes are good. If outcomes are bad, we just need to admit his mistake and "move on" to solve the mis-judgement.

That said, would Singapore want to forsake and sacrifice economic growth just to become more democratic and pluralist? Economic growth would always be our number one priority. Does economic growth come about because we are politically stable? Or is it because we are politically stable which leads to economic growth? Does it matter?

Singapore is politically stable. Many countries look at our successful model and want to emulate it. They want to learn from us. My prof tells stories of SM Goh in the Middle East making friends and teaching them how to run their countries - teaching them the "Singapore model". Not the Singapore girl but the Singapore model of governance.

Singapore's model is unique. In fact, Singapore is unique. So much so that the Singapore Tourism Board brands Singapore as "Uniquely Singapore." We have to remember our unique roots. The path that we took to independence was bloody. And because of that we have to be careful about politics especially with race and religion intertwined. Remember Tang Liang Hong who was called an "anti-Christian Chinese chauvinist" in the 1997 elections? We have to be very careful what kind of leaders we want.

Singapore is the least corrupt nation in the world. And that is a strong point for Singapore. Malaysia's downfall according to recent media reports cited corruption as a key factor.

Singapore has a weak opposition. Some opposition parties are incredibly unpopular and unrealistic. Some need an injection of new blood. Others are daring and even sent a team to undermine the Prime Minister's ward. But as long as the opposition remains weak, we will never be like Malaysia in the recent elections.

Singapore has to appeal to the young voters using new media. I think Chua Mui Hoong pointed this out in her column. I think we are taking baby steps. But we did start out. Malaysia's blogger-turned-politician Jeff Ooi is a good example of "harnessing new media".

How voters vote will be determined by the fullfilling of promises by the winning party. Has the country been run properly? Were bread and butter issues tackled well? Does the PAP choose to be the king that rules with the eyes wide open and ears on the ground? Does that Yale, Harvard or Oxford graduate "hear only the good things" from his advisers and make the right judgement and implement the right policies? Or would he be like the king that has a blindfold over his eyes? Or the President that was behind the invasion of Iraq?

The PAP is almost mid-term since the elections in 2006. The answer to how Singaporeans will vote in 2011 is based on a confluence of factors.

The Prime Minister will have to make his choice very carefully and decide who he wants on his team to continue running the marathon to the next general elections. Just like what Mas Selamat is doing now - he is also running another marathon. The marathon to escape from the authorities.

Photo credit: Calvin Yang

Nope. I am not going to talk about DPM Wong today. Please don't call my handphone. And I don't want letters too. I really mean it. It's scary.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite an interesting read. Just couldn't figure the relationship between Mas Selamat running in para-marathon (for limpers)and PM and his team running the elective-marathon. Is PM running running to escape his own authorities? One is supposedly a fugitive on the run who has hoodwinked a larger number of 'complacent' people. The other Leader of team of talented people who run the country including the authorities... blackpearl

Sunday, March 16, 2008 2:09:00 am


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