Singapore must reject an elitist, aristocratic form of governance in which “power is only held by a few”, said the Workers’ Party (WP) secretary-general Pritam Singh.
In a televised political party broadcast on Thursday night (2 July), Mr Singh reiterated the importance of building “a democracy where power is in the hands of the many” and where effective “checks and balances to safeguard Singapore” can be secured for future generations.
Singapore, he stressed in his speech last night, needs to be protected “against complete dominance of Parliament by one party, which could allow a tiny number of people to control everything”.
Only impartial and “strong political, economic, civic and community institutions” will serve as “true safeguards” for Singaporeans, said Mr Singh.
“Even with only six elected seats in Parliament, the WP has contributed significantly to the democratic processes in our country,” said Mr Singh, citing issues the party has raised in the last Parliament term such as “the GST test balloon, the Keppel Offshore and Marine scandal and the constitutional amendment on the Reserved Presidential Election, amongst many, many others”.
“Not a single PAP [People’s Action Party] MP filed a parliamentary question on the corruption disclosures at Keppel Offshore and Marine. Only Workers’ Party MPs did. As for the GST, we pressed the government to reveal its expenditure and revenue projections before making Singaporeans pay more,” he noted.
“By discussing governance, we help you to keep the government accountable. By raising bread-and-butter issues, we remind the government of the things that it may forget or ignore,” said Mr Singh.
Earlier, Mr Singh — in a message to voters, published on the party’s website — said that WP has also urged the Government “to reveal its expenditure and revenue projections before looking to raise the GST”.
“Voters would remember how the PAP tried to force the WP to apologise when it questioned the motive behind the early announcement of the upcoming GST hike,” he wrote.
“We have seen from the experiences of other countries that power can fall into the wrong hands. The PAP is not immune to such a risk. PAP self-checking can fail,” Mr Singh highlighted yesterday.
“If the wrong people show their true colours only after reaching our highest offices, Singapore is finished,” he cautioned.
PAP does not need all elected seats to obtain mandate to govern: WP chief Pritam Singh
Amid anxieties evoked by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn, Mr Singh raised concerns about how the PAP “could end up with one hundred per cent of the elected seats in Parliament”.
He reiterated, however, that the PAP “does not need all elected seats to have the mandate to govern” Singapore.
In his message to voters on WP’s website, Mr Singh said that Singapore’s COVID-19 experience “thus far informs all Singaporeans that the decision-making processes of the fourth-generation or 4G PAP leadership leaves more to be desired” and “must be checked by a constructive opposition”.
“An elected opposition is necessary to keep the ruling party on its toes and to challenge the PAP for the betterment of Singapore,” he wrote.
Beyond COVID-19, Mr Singh said in his message that WP seeks to continue engaging Parliament on a range of pertinent, ongoing issues faced by Singaporeans.
“These will include immediate concerns like fair hiring for Singaporean workers and PMETs, regardless of age or gender. Then there are broader issues like inequality and social mobility, to specific issues like fiscal sustainability and climate change. All these issues and more, will require parliamentary scrutiny, and challenge if necessary,” he wrote.
In the televised broadcast yesterday, Mr Singh also stressed that voting for WP “will prompt other sincere and capable people to come forward in future elections to contest” under the party’s banner.
“Your vote shows our party stalwarts and volunteers that their efforts at parliamentary research, Meet-the-People sessions, house visits and food distribution are recognised. Your vote will bring in new volunteers and candidates,” he said.
Read Mr Pritam Singh’s message for voters in Singapore’s four national languages here.