The Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) has everything to gain to paint the four Singaporeans who met the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in a bad light.
Firstly, it is no secret that relations between Dr. M and the Lee family who wield all power in the island state have not always been smooth sailing.
The surprise elections across the causeway which unseated the hitherto entrenched UMNO party have caused shockwaves throughout South East Asia and of course, Singapore. Talks of Singapore also “doing a Malaysia” in its next election must have certainly caused the PAP some discomfort. Dr. M cancelling the much anticipated and high profile High Speed Rail must have also caused the PAP government a certain level of embarrassment. Besides, now that Dr M has deposed of Najib who in Lee Hsien Loong’s own words, had an excellent relationship with him – what skeletons might come out of the closet? Najib is, after all, being charged for all manner of corruption.
To distract Singaporeans from seeing any similarities between itself and its closest neighbour, the PAP government will have to discredit Dr M and make him out to be “out to get Singapore” so to speak. Yet, it cannot directly criticise Dr. M because the truth of the matter is that we need Malaysia. So what alternative is there but to attack the four Singaporeans? By making this meeting about false loyalties, it is hoped that Singaporeans will be distracted by emotive notions of loyalty. Rather than see events in Malaysia as an inspiration for change, they will be sidetracked by the alleged traitors.
Going back to basics, what does loyalty to country even mean? To my mind, it means, putting the interests of the country above self-interest. Looking at how events have panned out, the four Singaporeans have put their country ahead of themselves. By meeting Dr. M, they have gained absolutely nothing – no money, no career advancement and certainly no popularity. In fact, they have exposed themselves to the ire of the public, stoked by their very own government! While we may or may not agree with their views – the fact of the matter is that they had loyal intentions.
Now, back to the PAP government who is preaching loyalty. They have everything to gain to ensure that Dr M, Malaysia and the four Singaporeans look bad. If Dr M looks inspirational, this might encourage Singaporeans to think outside the PAP. If events in Malaysia look too exciting, Singaporeans might take courage from across the causeway and also vote for the opposition. If the 4 Singaporeans are not taken down, they may act as leaders to a cause.
But what is the government trying to protect? The PAP or the country? If it is the latter, then surely they should be happy with whoever the best person is – and the best person is the one that the public chooses. So why so eager to slam down any actions that could encourage Singaporeans to vote outside the PAP however remote? Is it to protect the party so that they can protect their own jobs, statuses and high salaries? Is that loyal?
You be the judge.