by Judy Tan
I refer to Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s clarification that he does not receive a salary despite holding the “Emeritus” title and that he still “quietly” works for the benefit of our country “without getting in the way of the younger leaders”.
While I welcome ESM Goh’s remarks, I can’t help but notice the inconsistency in his statements, the reluctance in grading the performance of the current government, in addition to the continued silence on the annual and variant bonuses his political office holding colleagues receive. This does not come as a surprise actually, as ESM Goh and his cohort of Members of Parliament are known not to have a stance on any issues nationally! Even Mr Low Thia Khiang has the courage to grade the PAP government to which he took some flak during the last election.
On not getting in the way of younger ministers, ESM Goh has already issued a direct challenge to them which deadline expires at the end of this month, to select the next leader among them and that set off a tug of war between himself and the Prime Minister on social media which was dismissed as internally divisive and childish.
I also disagree with the editorial of TISG regarding: “With ESM Goh’s latest post, those dreams (do a Mahathir) have been left shattered”. I do not believe that change can only come from certain personalities or former leaders which is underestimating the will of the people in a parliamentary system. When life becomes unbearably burdensome where education, jobs, housing, and medical care become out of reach, the people will themselves elect even Dr. Chee to replace Dr Lily Neo who by the way, is in retirement mode. It is not a matter of “if” but “when”. This was predicted by the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew himself, when he said there will be declining standards of the People’s Action Party after his passing and the younger generation would like to try out the “other side”.
Before we grade the performance of our government before the next General Election, we must first rate the various MPs who make up the present composite. Have they served you well? Do they speak up or represent your interest in parliament? Are you truly heard from your interactions with your MP during their walkabout and community events? Do they defend or protect you from the overwhelming dominance and might of the government agencies when you land on the wrong side? And lastly, do they empathise with you when appeals written on your behalf face repeated rejections and apathy? Or do you even see them at Meet-the-People sessions?
We should perhaps, start a page where we can share and exchange our “experiences” with the MPs and upload replies from the various agencies to get a gauge of where we stand in the eyes of our representatives and the policy makers!
I would love to begin by sharing the response I recently obtained from Legal Aid after my MP wrote in that they (LAB), do not handle the matters I raised and hope to seek my understanding that they refused to direct the MP’s petition to the right agency.