Tuesday, 26 September 2023

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The sharp contrast of PM Anwar pledging completely clean government and PM Lee saying “no system can be completely infallible”

by Augustine Low

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said last Sunday (16 Jul) that every minister in his Cabinet is clean.

He added: “We need to clean up and save the country. It we don’t clean up, this country will go to the dogs.”

In contrast, Singapore’s PM Lee Hsien Loong, speaking following news of the corruption probe on Minister S Iswaran and the resignations of two People’s Action Party (PAP) Members of Parliament, Tan Chuan-Jin and Cheng Li Hui, said yesterday:

“No system can be completely infallible. You appoint people, sometimes things go wrong, you have to find out and you have to put it right.”

One is unequivocal about cleaning up and making sure his country does not “go to the dogs.”

The other leaves some room for fallibility and ambiguity.

PM Lee stuck to old talking points and assurances about Singaporeans giving the PAP the mandate to form the government and improve their lives, adding: “Without party discipline, without integrity, we are nothing. This is an absolute requirement.”

The irony is surely not lost that PM Lee has been at the helm since 2004 while PM Anwar only assumed the post last November.

As the saying goes, “a new broom sweeps clean.”

PM Lee said in 2020 that after seeing Singapore through the COVID-19 pandemic, he would target handing over the country “intact and in working order” to the next Prime Minister.

The country today in 2023 seems to have drifted a lot further away than in 2020 from being considered “intact and in working order.”

With controversy after controversy, scandal after scandal, indiscretion on top of impropriety, indecision coupled with inconsistency, will we ever see the day when PM-in-waiting Lawrence Wong is deemed ready to take over the reins?

Or would Lawrence Wong by then be disheartened about taking over a ship trying desperately to stay afloat in stormy waters?

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