I disagree with Trade and Industry Minister, Mr Chan Chun Sing’s opinion that it is disingenuous on the part of the Workers’ Party (WP) to take up seats pursuant to the Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) scheme despite having long standing objections to the scheme.
The NCMP scheme was approved by Parliament and as such part of the system. Even if the WP disagree with it, it is entirely appropriate to abide by all rules and regulations whether or not it agrees with it. That is a mark of parliamentary responsibility and not disingenuous.
Is Mr Chan suggesting that the WP should flout Parliamentary authority in order to declare their objections? Surely, that would be a counterproductive and childish move that would serve no purpose apart from coming across as attention seeking.
I don’t agree with all the laws of Singapore but I still obey them all. Is Mr Chan suggesting that I should break laws I disagree with?
The WP had campaigned under the banner of a “first world Parliament”. This would mean that it is obliged to respect Parliament to begin with. By that vein, the WP is honour bound to respect what the current Parliamentary system is and work to change it democratically by following the rules. If the WP were to create upset by turning down what Parliament entitles and oblige them to do, they would not be respecting the will of Parliament and thereby not doing their part to create a first world Parliament. It is interesting that what I view as a mark of respect for the system is viewed by Mr Chan as disingenuous. Is Mr Chan looking for a way to discredit the WP ahead of the elections next year? If that is not his intention, it could come across as a petty dig at the WP just for the sake of it.
I think it is absolutely right of the WP to take up its NCMP seats regardless of whether they agree with the scheme. As long as the scheme is in place and as long as they qualify for it, they should obey the rules set down by Parliament and take up those seats.
Instead of seeing hypocrisy, I see it as a willingness on the part of the WP to work with that they have, a willingness to compromise so as to ensure that they can slowly chip away and make the changes it believes in. Rushing in like a bull in a china shop is not the WP’s style.
Like it or not, this is the style of opposition that most Singaporeans find palatable. In playing by the rules, the WP is playing to win. Is that disingenuous or is that playing smart?