During the parliamentary debate on President Halimah Yacob’s address at the opening of the second session of parliament, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong underscored the importance of support from Singaporeans for the country’s new generation of leaders.
In the second speech of his term in the 14th Parliament on Wednesday (19 Apr), PM Lee stated, “Many Singaporeans take this good reputation for granted… But they do not realize how important this high standing we enjoy is to us, nor how astonishing it is for a small island state with no natural resources to enjoy this standing.”
Prime Minister Lee acknowledged the challenges of upholding a country’s ideals and values beyond its founding generation and emphasized the crucial roles honesty, integrity, and a well-functioning system play in Singapore’s success.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Singaporeans witnessed the importance of strong political leadership.
PM Lee said, “The MTF ministers were in the hot seat, but the whole 4G team played a key role. It was a formative experience for the 4G ministers handling the crisis. They got the measure of each other and gained confidence in each other’s judgment and abilities.”
Last year, Deputy Prime Minister Wong was chosen by the 4G ministers as their leader.
PM Lee urged Singaporeans to support Lawrence Wong and the 4G ministers wholeheartedly: “I ask you to give Lawrence and the 4G ministers your fullest support… Help me make this leadership succession a success for Singapore and for you.”
Netizens say, “It takes two hands to clap” and asked PM Lee to read comments to understand people’s struggles
However, Mr Lee’s call did not resonate with some Singaporean netizens as they criticised his speech online.
Some voiced their lack of confidence in the 4G ministers, while others lamented the increasing struggles of ordinary Singaporeans, over issues such as the costs of living, housing, jobs, and foreign workers, which opposition parties have consistently raised in Parliament but have been neglected by the ruling party.
One netizen commented on The Straits Times’ and CNA’s Facebook post and said that PAP leaders should listen to the concerns of medium and lower-income citizens, solve their problems, and expressed concern about the perceived arrogance of some ministers during parliamentary debates.
A netizen, who self-professed to be an elderly wheelchair-bound auntie, said while PAP leaders keep urging citizens to support their party, they should also support the people with a great heart.
“It takes two hands to clap. Singaporeans are very hardworking but the jobs are given to foreign talents. MPs ONLY AVAILABLE during General Elections. How to support your party and meet the people section never go back to the residents to find out whether their problems are solved. ”
People feel cost of living is increasing while 4G team believes it is still “affordable”
Certain netizens pointed out the cost of living issues, as ordinary Singaporeans are burdened with the inflation and hiking price of housing, daily necessities and etc, but the ruling party team still believed that these are still affordable.
PAP 4G Leadership ‘out of touch’
Some comments criticized the 4G leadership for being out of touch with modern Singapore and focused solely on financial performance indicators, resulting in high prices for COE, ERP, and housing and an influx of selected foreigners.
4G leaders need to prove themselves
Someone commented, ‘For Singapore, we will support!’ However, he expressed concern that the costs of living, housing, jobs, and foreign workers are still major issues, and that the leadership of DPM and his team is underwhelming.
‘Opposition doing a good job’ when PM Lee need to ask for support for 4G leaders
A netizen observed that when the supreme leader of PAP had to canvas for support, he argued that it indicated that the opposition parties are doing a good job by asking the right questions.
The netizen believed that PM Lee probably fully aware that the credibility of his 4G team is diminishing day by day.
“Vote more opposition MPs into Parliament so PAP Ministers can work harder”
There are also comments that argued for voters to elect more opposition MPs so to ensure that PAP ministers will work even harder and justify their compensation with meaningful results that benefit taxpayers.
Some defended 4G team’s capabilities
However, Some comments defended the capabilities of the 4G team, especially in their handling of the pandemic crisis.
A netizen who claims to have observed the team’s actions during the crisis stated that they were able to avoid loss of life where possible through good and timely decision-making.
“True leadership traits are demonstrated when leaders provide solutions to problems without making empty promises”
A comment then argued that, indeed Singapore overcome current issues such as the covid pandemic and food sources. But this is also because of the strong foundation laid by Singapore’s founding politicians.
The netizen said the ongoing challenge of HDB pricing issues, which remains to be seen if it can be resolved, added that true leadership traits are demonstrated when leaders provide solutions to problems without making empty promises.