Distasteful clash over what should have been a sensible debate on GST hike

by Chua Seng Chwee

(In regards to the exchange between Minister of Law and Home Affairs, K Shanmugam and MP for Aljunied GRC, Sylvia Lim on 1 March) – My take as a Concerned Senior Citizen who has eaten more salt than any of the Members of Parliament:

This impudence, intolerance, bullying, belittling etc towards Opposition MPs must stop!

It reinforces an already ugly perception of elitism, arrogance and rudeness that has been the hallmark of Senior Ministers, in particular K Shanmugam, Chan Chun Sing, Khaw Boon Wan, Dr Balakrishnan, who behave as if they are disciplinary school masters waving a cane, pointing fingers and picking on students they dislike (for little or no reason) in a publicly televised “classroom”.

They forget that people like Sylvia Lim are Elected Representatives of their constituency and act as the voice of the voters they represent. Is it so difficult to behave and act in a gracious, considerate and gentlemanly manner?

Try displaying that same arrogance and bullying tactics in front of the constituents who voted for you, as well as those who didn’t, and see what happens come the next General Election. (As I see it, you all will be losing a lot of votes in the next GE, for reasons that are so apparent perhaps not to you but surely to the silent, disappointed voters, 70 percent of whom happened to vote for your party in the last GE.)

If you can smile, display grace, kindness, warmth and respect for your constituents, why can’t you do the same to your Opposites in Parliament? Or are we merely witnessing unashamed hypocrisy or " political wayang" to retain and win more votes?

Just because this is the Year of the Dog, doesn’t mean that Govt Ministers and MPs are entitled to treat their political Opposites as one! Yes, they are your Opposites, not your Opponents. They are just as loyal and concerned over the nation as any of the PAP members are! And they have every right to question and query the PM and Govt Ministers because that’s precisely why they are in Parliament and being paid by taxpayers, to play that role!

Why be so irritated, suspicious, angry? Waiting for every opportunity to bully and belittle them for exercising their erstwhile Parliamentary role?

And don’t ever forget: they are just as human and worthy of being heard and respected as fellow humans and fellow Parliamentarians instead of being viewed as under class “Opponents” or scheming , ill intent , political foes and therefore not entitled or even worthy of the treatment you confer on your constituents or for that matter, the servants, guard dogs and policemen providing the security for your proud elitist homes!

Would it make the PAP Govt, in particular, the Senior Minister, happy if there is not even a single opposing force or dissenting voice in Parliament? In that case, what kind of a shit house ‘Parliamentary Democracy’ are we living in where a member of an Opposition party cannot even open her mouth to make a comment, offer a dissenting view or given the courtesy to say something without being accused of causing panic to, or casting aspersions on, a thin-skinned governing party ?

This was first published as a Facebook post and reproduced with permission