Could the coronavirus make our Prime Minister postpone his plan to step down?

These are topsy turvy times.

Who would have thought that you could be hauled to prison for up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000 for queuing or sitting less than one metre away from another person.

And who would have imagined that while the law compels that you keep one metre apart, more than 2.6 million people could be made to vote en masse in a general election.

The virus might even have a say in Singapore’s leadership renewal.

This was the exchange in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday, 29 March.

Fareed: Prime Minister, there are a lot of people in Singapore, who tell me that they wish you would stay on, your plan to leave office. You have elections, at some point (that) have to happen. Could this crisis make you decide to postpone that decision to leave politics?

PM Lee: I think this crisis keeps my hands full. Let us just focus on that for now.

PM Lee declined to give a straight answer to a straightforward question. All of a sudden, he was coy when previously he was categorical about stepping down before turning 70 (he’s now 68) for the sake of leadership renewal.

We have been led to believe that sometime after the next general election, Heng Swee Keat and the 4G team would take over the leadership of the country

Thanks to the virus, will we now see PM Lee staying longer in office?

We have to wonder when there is ever a right time for the 4G team to take over. The crisis could take a long time to play out. PM Lee himself predicted in the same interview with CNN that it would take several years for the coronavirus to run its course.

What the virus also shows us is that there is no such thing as a sure bet and an iron rice bowl. Remember, people used to say: At least I have a driving licence, worse come to worse, if I lose my job, I can drive a taxi. Sad to say, taxi drivers no longer make ends meet.

Even the once venerable Singapore Airlines is – horror of horrors – in need of a massive multi-billion dollar bailout.

The virus also opened our ears to what Singaporeans are thought of as –  idiots for hoarding and panic buying.

The penalties for not keeping one metre apart are quite something else. Six months jail and/or a $10,000 fine! No wonder international media went to town with it, CNN calling the penalties “draconian.”

Singaporeans are once again made to look like the kind of people (idiots?) who can only be trusted to follow rules and guidelines under threat of “draconian” penalties.

There’s going to be a lot more that the virus will let out. Stay humble and stay tuned.

 

Augustine Low

* The author is a proud but concerned citizen. Voicing independent, unplugged opinion is his contribution to citizen engagement.

 

 

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19 Responses to “Could the coronavirus make our Prime Minister postpone his plan to step down?”

  • oxygen:

    DICTATORSHIP NEVER WORKS in any crisis, the environmental turbulence dictates terms of survival imperatives.

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  • Keep the team:

    Keep the team for now.
    Better to concentrate on the Virus problem now that we have community spread.
    Before it goes real bad like Italy case.
    Save lives is more important now.

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  • VTO. No change.:

    Time to have a total renewal.
    Stop going over the cliff like lemmings following one another.

    We have seen how the old are treated. $5 an hour to clear tables. CPF locked up. HDB going to zero. Gathered into large dangerous dinners to continue voting their old age into poverty.

    Young Singaporeans will face an even worse old age in Singapore. Even the young age is not good.

    Many Singaporeans are kept in the dark. When they get $300 handout, they say where else in the world you can get such generous government. Sigh!

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  • PAPVID-20:

    Behind the scene, before the CNN interview……

    “Fareed, here, take this. Remember to include this question in your questions. Very important! Remember, you MUST remember to ask this question during the interview.”

    On a slip of paper ……
    “Prime Minister, there are a lot of people in Singapore, who tell me that they wish you would stay on, your plan to leave office. You have elections, at some point (that) have to happen. Could this crisis make you decide to postpone that decision to leave politics?

    Ta-da! Ownself prepare the question for ownself. Ownself say “a lot of people” in sg wish he would stay on. Whahahaha……. A lot of people? I think it’s the first time a lot of people heard this!

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  • Don:

    He will find an excuse to stay on. Still unfinished business….got to see his son come in first. Another Emperor Lee. Akan datang.

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  • The Pink Putin:

    At all times, one thing is paramount: the health and safety of Singaporeans…Minister Lawrence Wong .1 april 2020
    Yet Prince Pinkie Putin want to do a Pandemic GE.
    ”It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.” Aung San SK

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  • China China China:

    It is far better to draw $million salary and able to stay elitist then to sit at home and controlled by the CEO of Temasek?

    If former family members decide to sue him, Lucy will have to step down from his post and return to private sector to defend him. I don’t think Singh wants his business anymore.

    Anyway, seeing that the IT home learning for primary schools has failed on the 1st Day (not any other day), I don’t think he got any courage (never mind holding the general rank) to have e-Voting!

    There will be Putin to contend with and russia russia russia or is it China China China? Since Xi does not like him?

    Hey what about the It son who invented e-parking? Not there yet?

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  • My sad country:

    You stand along the footpath.
    You smile and hold a plain piece of paper that says “Have a good morning.”

    Then the police appear. You are arrested for protesting without a permit. You get charged and spend time in jail.

    My country is in such a sad state.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    That Piece of Shit from CNN is Fake as CNN itself…well paid for conducting an interview with Father & Son…pure sycophantic beginning to end

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  • Life goes on:

    While loony may have announced his wish to step down and pass on the baton, deep inside his heart lurks an unfathomable desire to hang on to position and power come what may, corona or not.

    Like dead old coot, loony cannot and most likely will not let go until his dying breath on earth.

    Really sad and pathetic

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  • Boh Kia See:

    I never think that the Clown will actually step down. He follows the old fart, who died on the job. the pay is just too good to give away. He will be waiting for his son to be ready to join him and the Cabinet. There is just too much at stake for him and the PAP to step down or even lose an election. That is why the GE will go ahead early regardless.

    The PAP is giving out cash to citizens–ladling the cream on the cake before the election. If you know the PAP, you will know that there will be a time when you will have to pay back. It is lightly to be immediately after the election. That is the PAP way and it is in their DNA.

    People are suffering, especially those at the lower rungs of the ladder. It is not because they are lazy–they work very hard, it is because of the PAP policy to turn Singapore into an Indian State –giving free passage to Indians to come and take away our jobs. It seems no Singaporeans can do those jobs just as no Singaporeans can qualify to become a candidate for President. Yet the number of Singaporeans contributing to the economy of other countries is phenomenal Citizens here are written out of the market by the PAP.

    If citizens want to keep what was given out to them under the name of the Virus, they should vote the PAP out. If not, it would be collected back under one guise of another after the election.

    VTO!!

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  • never voted pap:

    after waiting for over 50 years what is a few months more?

    sooner, pap clown, as well as pap clown wife and their S$m gang, goes to jail.

    later, pap clown, as well as pap clown wife and their S$m gang, also goes to jail.

    sooner, goes to jail. later, also goes to jail.

    so, no problem. a matter of a few more months.

    the most important point is, not how long pap clown keeps power, but rather pap clown goes to jail for sure when New Government forms.

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  • opposition dude:

    It doesn’t matter whether he hands over to stroke Heng or not because both are equally shit. If he hands over then we can see for ourselves just how inept Heng is. If he doesn’t hand over then we can say the much vaunted 4G cannot make it in a crisis. Either way this is a no win situation for PAP.

    If he still wants to hold the election he will do so, never mind that 4 have died and 1000 have been infected. The party comes above all else you know.

    Just assume the election will be called lah.

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  • MarBowling:

    Heng Sweet Cake must be thanking Covid 19 for appearing at the RIGHT TIME! How fortunate for him that it Appears out of nowhere when his Big Boss is still squatting on the Imperial Throne. If it appears when he is the PeeM, it would be see peh jialuck for him. He may or will suffer a 2nd stroke and say bye bye. What do you think?

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  • A doggie's life:

    MarBowling:
    Heng Sweet Cake must be thanking Covid 19 for appearing at the RIGHT TIME! How fortunate for him that it Appears out of nowhere when his Big Boss is still squatting on the Imperial Throne. If it appears when he is the PeeM, it would be see peh jialuck for him. He may or will suffer a 2nd stroke and say bye bye. What do you think?

    Heng ah, stroke man would sigh a sense of relief. Otherwise, he is heading for sudden death in no time for taking over the throne.

    Hehe, never mind if pinky boss see him no up, stroke man is happy collecting million just doing some budgeting here and there.

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  • TruBlu:

    So,will KHAW BOON WAN be able to show his talents again?

    Or was it fluke shot then?

    WHERE ARE OUR MASKS?

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  • PAP mandate strong:

    South Korea also have their election on coming April.

    Seems that people never kpkb , show any signs of scared shitless.

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  • Harder Truths:

    You mean ‘pretend to step down’ right?
    Who believes he really will give up his throne?
    Not until his son is in power.

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  • countering pap IB:

    PAP mandate strong:
    South Korea also have their election on coming April.

    Seems that people never kpkb , show any signs of scared shitless.

    You cannot say half the statement. The pap half. You must also say the other half, the truth.

    Your pap statement, South Korea election in April. This is true but only half the statement.

    The other half of the statement, all South Koreans MUST wear mask whether kenna or not kenna, and this is the most important truth.

    You pay master pap, cheapskate, gives 4 mask per family of 7. Do you mean the other 3 no need to vote?

    We understand you cheapskate Msians need cents per post to live. But, have a cock brain please. Tell the whole story lah.

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