By Chris Kuan
Channel News Asia reported “To tackle social and political issues, return to ‘honest politics’: DPM Tharman“.
My sparring partner, Cynical Investor cheekily inferred “A reasonable reading of what the headline implies is that Tharman is saying that the PAP has to return to “honest politics” to “tackle social and political issues”, which in turn implies that the PAP is practising dishonest politics?”. Or another cock-up reporting by our unprofessional Mainstream Media?
No, the Sage of Singapore, was not referring to Singapore but the politics of the western liberal democracies. But then you can decide for yourself if the Singapore way of politics is so much better if the means to prevent the polarisation and the disquieting divisiveness and to return to “honest politics” is to handcuff political discourse and the airing of socio-economic choices and consequences by restricting information and relying on the biased political narratives and sliming of alternatives by the ruling party dutifully reported by the state-controlled media.
Yes if one wish to stick one’s head in the sand. Otherwise no.
Mr. Tharman himself set a good example in the Bukit Batok By-Elections by restricting himself to criticising the Singapore Democratic Party’s economic ideas but his criticism was nevertheless biased and unfair because the restriction of the information to back any alternative idea or strategy.
He can do us all a favour as an example by opening up the information of the intricacies of the reserves and the state finance so that we can have an open discussion of both the necessity and the consequences of fiscal sustainability, and alternatives views of this crucial factors, not just the biased ruling party ‘s version. I can go on with other examples but you get the point.
By the way, he can also tell his colleagues to play the ball not the man when it comes to an adult way to political discourse. We have quite enough of these preening but useless tantrums.
Editor’s note – If you refer to the parliamentary questions, a bulk of the questions filed by opposition members are to get figures and statistics on national issues, such as education, labour and etc. Many of such information are not accessible to the public, nor the members of Parliament. Even when answers are given by the ministries, the information is limited to only certain years which limits the questioning MP or members of public from extrapolating the data to form true extent of the issue at hand.