by Augustine Low

The Ministers in colonial bungalows controversy came hot on the heels of the Keppel bribery scandal, which came hot on the heels of the SPH Media circulation fiasco, which came hot on the heels of the Parti Liyani-Liew Mun Leong scandal.

Each time they say there’s nothing wrong with the system, no overhaul needed, only minor scratches, let’s move on.

The gaping holes are not plugged, resulting in decay and then rot.

The controversy over ministers occupying colonial bungalows is still raging and still there is deafening silence.

Silence breeds speculation, and speculation sows distrust.

If all is above board, and people are making a mountain out of a molehill, all the more reason for the facts to be presented and the record to be set straight.

Waiting till July when Parliament sits would mean two more months of endless speculation by the people.

That is surely not good for the country. Why not put speculation to bed and let the country move on?

It is most revealing when we backtrack to a 40-minute speech in Parliament last February by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who essentially gave a lesson to the Workers’ Party over the Raeesah Khan affair.

To quote PM Lee briefly:

“It is incumbent on all of us – each succeeding generation – to protect and build upon this system that we have inherited. This requires us to uphold integrity, enforce rules and standards, apply the same rules equally to everyone, make sure nobody is above the law. If we can do that – consistently, persistently, unflinchingly – then we have a shot at making things work. People can trust our leaders, our systems, and our institutions.”

Ironically, the lesson that PM Lee intended for the WP can be seen as a lesson for ownself and his own party

Will he heed his own words about enforcing rules and standards, applying the same rules equally to everyone, and making sure nobody is above the law?

Will he shore up trust in leaders, systems and institutions?

The people are losing hope.

Unless there is recognition that there are systemic failures, unless there are genuine attempts to dismantle what’s broken and rebuild afresh, the rot will set in and become permanent.

The biggest losers are the people. Bit by bit, the country we call home are slipping away from us.

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