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Dr Tan Cheng Bock at the NUSS guide house (Photo - Terry Xu)

Can Dr Tan Cheng Bock hold the government accountable when six Workers’ Party MPs have failed to do so?

Dr Tan Cheng Bock has said that he wants to enter Parliament again to hold the government accountable on issues such the country’s reserves and the Central Provident Fund.

It would suggest that there are currently no opposition Members of Parliament, when in fact there are six elected Workers’ Party MPs.

Have the WP MPs not done enough to provide checks and balances, to push for transparency and accountability, such that their presence have hardly been felt?

Or have they been held back by roadblocks, by the Speaker of Parliament, and their hands (not to mention their mouths) are tied?

It is clear that the government’s self-declared mantra of “ownself check ownself” is bunkum (to borrow a word from K Shanmugam).

It is also clear that government does not see itself as accountable to the current opposition MPs.

In fact, it took an editorial in Lianhe Zaobao criticising the government for complacency for 4G leader Heng Swee Keat to come out with a response. The government went to the extent of putting up a wordy commentary in  Lianhe Zaobao and The Straits Times to reject suggestions that it has slackened and gone soft.

In contrast, the government had hardly ever deemed it necessary to make any concerted response to criticism from the opposition.

Is it because the opposition had not rallied the ground enough, or made its case vigorously enough, for it to be taken seriously?

Can someone like Dr Tan Cheng Bock make a difference and provide the sort of opposition that has been sorely lacking?

The status quo needs to change. It is not a healthy situation to have the government respond to a newspaper editorial but not to the opposition who are supposed to be the voice of the people.