The PAP government now wants to check the opposition that is supposed to check them

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Minister Lawrence Wong started the ball rolling last week. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong confirmed it on Saturday.

Post GE2020, the government’s message to the opposition is: Don’t just ask questions to check the government, the government also wants to check and scrutinise you.

PM Lee was explicit: “The main thing is we are recognising the leader of the main opposition party in Parliament and we hope that this will lead to the opposition in Parliament playing a more constructive and more substantive role, not just asking questions of the government, but also putting up alternatives, putting up proposals and being scrutinised so that Singaporeans can understand what the trade-offs are, what the choices are.”

We always knew there was a catch to appointing Pritam Singh Leader of the Opposition – there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch from the People’s Action Party.

However, a fundamental role of the opposition is to ask questions of the government. That’s how it constructively keeps the government in check. That’s why many Singaporeans voted for them, sending in opposition Members of Parliament to deny the government a blank cheque.

There shouldn’t be a barrier to the opposition asking questions that PAP MPs would never ask. When answers are not forthcoming, they should keep asking until answers are given. It’s no less than what the electorate expects of the 10 WP MPs and two Non-Constituency MPs from the Progress Singapore Party.

PM Lee unveiled his new cabinet on Saturday. Josephine Teo retained her Manpower Minister portfolio while Gan Kim Yong retained his Health Minister position despite massive COVID-19 mishandling under their watch.

Before the general election, Singaporeans were assured that there would be a right time for review and accountability for COVID-19 shortcomings. The opposition are in Parliament precisely to seek transparency and accountability for such ineptitude and it is their duty to ask many questions.

So the government’s new mantra of “don’t just ask questions” is nothing more than a red herring.

PM Lee’s contention that the opposition must put up proposals for scrutiny is reasonable – so long as the intent is for constructive debate and exchange and not to dig a hole for the opposition. Is it too cynical to imagine that the process could begin with the end in mind?

PM Lee also talked about letting Singaporeans “understand what the trade-offs are, what the choices are.” Wouldn’t it be best to have live broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings, so people can see and judge for themselves?

It is understandable that the appointment of Pritam Singh as Leader of the Opposition comes with strings attached. But the WP must be cognisant that those strings could be designed to tie a noose.

 

Augustine Low

 

 

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38 Responses to “The PAP government now wants to check the opposition that is supposed to check them”

  • Opposition role:

    The people vote the Opposition so that it will do its job for the people.
    Responsible to the people and not to the Government..
    Hope they will do a decent job this time.

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  • Why Spore Needs 34 Ministers ?:

    Japan has a population of 128 million people and they need only 19 Ministers to rule the country efficiently.

    Singapore has a population of 6 million people and we need 34 Ministers to run the small island.

    Is it so difficult to rule Singapore ? Looks like we are wasting taxpayer money and still they are many cockup everywhere. KNNBCCB

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  • Why Oppo Must Give Alternative:

    The PAP Ministers are paid the world highest salaries when the rest of the population are having trouble putting food on the table. Some of them are earning more than the US President.

    So since they are being very well paid, why should the Opposition party give them alternative plans . Make their the PAP’s job easier is it ?

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  • NotMyProblem:

    That’s the reason why I have mentioned before, always vote for the Opposition and your constituency will have two sets of MPs. One set of real Opposition MPs would work for you the other set of fake PAP’s MPs will check the real MPs for you.

    For those constituencies which voted PAP’s MPs would not have this advantage. No one checks on them.

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  • Hammer:

    WP with only 10 MPs should just continue to ask questions as the residents’ voices in Parliament

    They are not in a strong position to suggest or formulate policies to be questioned by PAP govt.

    Hope WP Sec-Gen Pritam will be smart to define his role as Leader of Opposition and not be dictated by PAP govt!

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  • wp,beware of that fixing guy:

    i doubt much will change even with added wp members and few nnmps.
    the ‘fixing’ will come as surely as the sun rises in the east.
    this vindictive pm wont let it go as he may have lost face not getting the strong mandate he begged sgs for.

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  • opposition dude:

    Relax Augustine Low, you are jumping the gun for all the wrong reasons.

    PAP thinks they are so clever to set a trap and that’s fine. After all they did so with AIM back then and it didn’t work so this time it will be the same.

    Look forward to WP presenting their policies for PAP to shoot them down, it’s to be expected. PAP’s simplistic thinking is to whack WP on their policies with their usual “We have a better policy than yours” or “Your policy would not work because businesses would say no to it” and that would be the end of it, no need for anymore discussion. This is the way PAP does things after all so this will definitely be expected.

    But not to worry because we will definitely be looking at WP’s ideas and policies as well. Just like SDP, who aren’t even in pariament mind you, who have claimed that PAP stole their ideas and implemented them I await to see what WP will bring to parliament.

    So, let us all pass judgement by the time this election cycle ends. We will see if WP have done better or worse than before and whether PAP will change its ways of doing things.

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  • Democratic=free to do anything:

    Hehaha…Like I said before, Seng Kang will have by election soon.

    Yes, we PAP will hang Wayang Party high and dry.

    Politics is not a walk in the park.

    Opposition, in their earnest to gain power, they will squandered away our reserve by promising:
    1. giving away tax money to help irresponsible old man like Zhenzidanwho screw around. When they had finished their money on women, they demand that government help them.

    2. giving away tax money to help LGBT group to promote same sex marriage.

    There are many irresponsible people around. COVID-19 had shown many irresponsible people who supposed to be quarantine but still roam about the street spreading the virus.

    These people will pretend to be pitiful, never want to take responsibility for the consequences brought upon themselves by their very own decisions and actions.

    GE2024.PAP.Guarantee.Win.Again
    Majullah $PAP$ $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$
    Lazy Singaporeans mustbe Cheaper, Better, Faster

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  • Then opp shld replace minister:

    Minister are highly paid. They are paid to come up with policies. If gov expect opp to come up with policies, then shouldnt the salary of the minister be shared with the opp? Imagine opp paid $16000 per mth but minister millions per annum ie. more than $100K per mth. Where is the logic? So Ministerr can just sit to collect their million $ and expect opp to serve them what they are supposed to do.

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  • The scriptwriter obviously made a mistake. I think the word should be “fix” and not “check”.

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  • this is a trap, QED:

    The counter title to the straits times are too many to write, so I will give a few:

    PAP has to go beyond not answering the questions

    PAP has to be beyond baby-proofing themselves and demanding for million dollar payout sans million dollar accountability.

    PAP has to go beyond Lee and Co.

    PAP has to go beyond the days of Machiavellianism

    … … …

    Until the very day the scale of power is balanced, fair play returns, and the incompetent disappears, the party to vote for is a no brainer.

    As long as those in power is off the mark, the vote will be to go against it, be it PAP or whoever (but right now, it is the PAP).

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  • Pritam for next PM?:

    It’s alright for PS to be recognized by the other side as Leader of the Opposition, but he must not allow himself to be perceived as receiving the “anointing” from LHL, or he could lose his credibility and the trust of Opposition supporters. IF WP had won the GE, PS could well be the new PM of SG! Perhaps, after the next GE, SG will have her first non-Chinese PM! Modi’s followers here might even welcome the thought of an Indian PM!

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  • Hear ye the Emperor Dowager...:

    (We hope that this will lead to the opposition in Parliament playing a more constructive and more substantive role, not just asking questions of the government, but also putting up alternatives, putting up proposals and being scrutinised so that Singaporeans can understand what the trade-offs are, what the choices are.)

    The argument is fallacious in at least two aspects because:

    (I) Every MP of the majority or minority party inclusively IS the Government – not only the Pappy partisans.

    (II) How may the minority party MPs be constructive and substantive with regards to initiating proposals if government data in many instances in the past years have not been made available when requested by minority party MPs.

    Also, and most importantly, Singaporeans do understand that only in this parliament among the first-world parliaments of the world do majority party MPs have one or many other appointments with Government Linked Companies that remunerate them with salaries which are strictly confidential to the majority party administration.

    How can you wanna scrutinise minors when you yourselves are above scrutinization? Hiya…. asking you to set the ethical benchmark is like imploring the emperor to forget dynastic ambitions lah….

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  • Tooclevertoolate:

    I have said this before. It is a good opportunity for PAP to turn their “lost”(in the election) to a “gain” by casting the spotlight on tbe greater presence of the opposition.
    Anybody can criticise, and many of us do it for free online(some much better than the opposition and pap members who draw insane and unjustifiable/ unrighteous amount of money doing it).
    To be in parliament, you need to offer solutions to solve social issues and present an alternative vision to inequality favouring the rich and the elitist laws.

    It is easy to seduce the people with false hope or vision for a ticket into parliament but when the spotlight turns on the opposition to deliver, watch them cop out with lame excuses. Face it , nobody wants the responsibility nor accountability(all the problems with Singapore) since PAP and the founders had clained full credit for singapore success and progress. But now the success is full of “holes” battled by the storm.
    If not for draconian laws, the people would have revolted long ago but then again, may not because they are really not that “intelligent” or discerning(curse of multiracialism/multireligious and its restrictive or blinding laws)
    Meanwhile, PAP is buying time with people’s reserves to appease the growing discontent on the ground. As the success or fruits of meriticracy begin to unravel, would they come to realize the folly of their wisdom or the founder’s wisdom?

    Even the oppositions are clueless, knows no better, because they too trusted in their…elites.

    A nation which foundation is founded on the greatness or the superiority of the elite will one day face the grim reality of falling from grace like a brick slipping off a high tower.

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  • xoxo:

    Be$t n Brighte$t?
    More like JUNK BONDS.
    Heard of LEHMAN mini-bond$?
    These clowns are worth only that!
    Lawrence must be thinking he is such a great TASK FORCE LEEder?

    He is just another TALK KOK KING.

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  • Where is the money?:

    Citizens ask what happen to the remaining $23,225 distributed.

    Leader of the Opposition must ask where is the salary money for him, the Shadow PM, and his Shadow Ministers.

    All other countries pay their Shadow PM and Shadow Ministers. Ask for the money. If you don’t want the money, you can publicly donate to a charity.

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  • Harder Truths:

    Being Realistic – the Clown Caravan can still do as it pleases. Opposition can ask any question -just like President Ong – the response will be useless.

    Meanwhile, as people are focused on ‘Parliamentary Proceedings’ that mean exactly squat – the pappy war machine against the locals rolls on.

    Watch for a flood of new migrants escaping CoVID infested South Asia. Plus businessmen and PMETs’ from HK escaping from China’s new security laws.

    Not to worry, the ballsless balls carriers will soon know what long-term unemployment feels like.

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  • sengkang boy:

    wow! Lee Ah Long says he wants Pritam Sing to be WORTHY LOYAL OPPOSITION LEEder.

    Pritam stood next to Ah Long looking shiok?

    I always thought that a REAL OPPO LEAder is anointed by the oppo elders instead?
    Maybe times have changed.
    This sengkang boy still thinking of *brotherhood* among oppo sgs.
    Guess i am old fashion.

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  • TUMASIK Patriot:

    Constructive Proposals-Constructive Questions & Constructive Criticism go hand in hand in any loyal Opposition or Govt in Parliament…

    Not CONvincing in order to CONfuse with its overwhelming MPs talking shit half the time the clock started ticking with sneaky eye L Wong with Pinky following through who next???

    Pritam & Co…just Perform what the voters expect from you not what the Idiots demand

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  • Tremendous:

    The village chief is holding the oppo villagers to higher standards than his own men. People don’t even see how his own men made up of a huge bunch of part timers show up in parliplace or at places where villagers live, much less ask questions. The village chief wants a system that rewards silence. Is this good for the village ?

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  • Oppo Leader:

    People should know that this is part of the Parliament system inherited from the UK. It is not a gift from LHL, and WP is not appointed as a employee/subsidiary of PAP.

    In UK, the oppo leader is considered a loyal appointment to the Queen. In Singapore, eh, better be loyal to citizens who vote you in. There is no Queen to be loyal to, and the other figure head is, I don’t know what to say.

    Don’t make misguided comments that downgrade WP or Pritam for this appointment.

    sengkang boy:
    wow! Lee Ah Long says he wants Pritam Sing to be WORTHY LOYAL OPPOSITION LEEder.

    Pritam stood next to Ah Long looking shiok?

    I always thought that a REAL OPPO LEAder is anointed by the oppo elders instead?
    Maybe times have changed.
    This sengkang boy still thinking of *brotherhood* among oppo sgs.
    Guess i am old fashion.

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  • Westminster:

    The Opposition role is to check the government n ask questions……..this is exactly the Westminster model!

    So how is it that Opposition now plans and the government. checkmates?

    Moreover, if the government provides support staff to Pritam, the head of the support staff should hold an

    appointment no less than Deputy Secretary or of Service Quality Manager rank…..

    .no LESS. TOO LOW CAN’t get INFO from the Ministries! ESP HDB! And the POLICE!

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  • Sak:

    Wp become foreign talent.

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  • Hubris and Nemesis:

    Don’t just ask questions to check the government, the government also wants to check and scrutinise you.

    This is hubris leading to nemesis.
    Gutter politcs aka loongkang poitics has no place in a democratic world. It’s unsocratic and disaristotle.

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  • Mephisto:

    The SDP has for decades been publishing full policies. Has that helped it much ? No. It has helped the ruling party though. The WP needs a full manifesto. So we know what it stands for. But it is not their job to propose alternative policies and help the government look good. The opposition does what the people want the opposition to do, not what the government dictates.

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  • PAP.GUARANTEE.FLOP.GE2024:

    Later lose again, double embarrassment.
    YOu have no problems having more foreigners to poke your backside.

    Democratic=free to do anything:
    Hehaha…Like I said before, Seng Kang will have by election soon.

    Yes, we PAP will hang Wayang Party high and dry.

    Politics is not a walk in the park.

    Opposition, in their earnest to gain power, they will squandered away our reserve by promising:
    1. giving away tax money to help irresponsible old man like Zhenzidanwho screw around. When they had finished their money on women, they demand that government help them.

    2. giving away tax money to help LGBT group to promote same sex marriage.

    There are many irresponsible people around. COVID-19 had shown many irresponsible people who supposed to be quarantine but still roam about the street spreading the virus.

    These people will pretend to be pitiful, never want to take responsibility for the consequences brought upon themselves by their very own decisions and actions.

    GE2024.PAP.Guarantee.Win.Again
    Majullah $PAP$ $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$
    Lazy Singaporeans mustbe Cheaper, Better, Faster

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  • SG ELECTION IS A JOKE!!!:

    election is about winning and forM the next govt.
    WP / ncmps will talk cock in parliament and propose new policy but it will get hammer down by MIW. They will further insult that their proposal is no sound and not to Sinkie interest, blah , blah, blah.

    We have seen it many times.
    - live broadcast debate
    - min. wage
    - HDB construction cost
    - immigration / new citizens / sinkie population numbers
    list goes on..

    What reply do we get so far??? only insults.

    So Election is all about winning and form the next govt.
    Change the policy and dig out the worms.
    In Sinkie, Oppos just to want get into parliament but not willing to be next govt. This is the most stupidiest thinking in the whole world in terms of Election.

    we will get screwed for another 5 years. Dumb sinkies!!!

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  • A:

    I think it is very dangerous now because holding to power instead of getting out as promised envisage more changes to law to stay in power

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  • Merobok:

    Even before Parliament starts, you have a smart Alec telling the WP what they should do and not do!
    Every time they point a finger three others are pointing backward!
    Perhaps, Lawrence wong should tell his comrades in Parliament to be present whenever a sitting is convened and to do their homework and not to sleep!
    Please remember, you are not paid to sleep!
    What did he mean not to ask questions? Then might as well have a tea party during every session!

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  • WangSha YeFong crosstalk:

    In short, WOULD they do anything if it’s not In Their Favor?

    That’s all we need to ask ourselves.

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  • Lampah Min pmd pawnd:

    Given there has always been Jerry and Mandarins, no one really can prove they can win without Jerry and Mandarins.

    They are weakened over the decades without knowing how to win fairly .

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  • Ahlim:

    Yes,during parliament.PM all along got good impression of wp.i think.

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  • Time to fix opposition!:

    QUOTE: “so long as the intent is for constructive debate and exchange and not to dig a hole for the opposition. Is it too cynical to imagine that the process could begin with the end in mind?” UNQUOTE.

    Is it too cynical? No, it’s not because PM already said that if there are more than 10,15 or 20 opposition in Parliament, he will be spending his highly expensive tax-payers time to fix the opposition and therefore will have no time to manage the country.

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  • Leader of the opposition:

    With the increase support and resources ,hope the LO will do Singapore proud.
    Be accountable to the people of Singapore.

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  • REGIME CHANGE is the solution:

    PAP’s view of “check” is to ask “loaded (trick) questions” to make the opposition look bad. It is easy for PAP MPs to do it because the Government’s lack of openness and transparency. Anyway, the opposition answer to any question asked by PAP MPs is the same: “What is the point of the question?” Sounds familiar.

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  • Shadow Cabinet leh?:

    For 5 decades, PAP pretend to be ignorant about the appointment of Leader of the Opposition.

    It looks like PAP is continuing to pretend to be ignorant about the appointment of Shadow Cabinet and Shadow Ministers. Look at other countries such as UK, Australia and Canada. All have paid Shadow Ministers.

    A Leader of the Opposition, also known as Shadow PM in UK and other countries, is incomplete without his shadow cabinet.

    PAP. don’t pretend to be ignorant. So many lawyers in gov.

    Ravi, want to sue gov for appointment of shadow ministers? It’s a fight for the democratic parliamentary system.

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  • Pritam shortchanged by PM:

    In good Commonwealth countries that followed the UK Parliament system, the Leader of the Opposition enjoys substantially high pay.

    For example, look at Canada.
    “The Leader of the Opposition is entitled to the same levels of pay and protection as a Cabinet minister.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leader_of_the_Official_Opposition_(Canada)

    For Singapore to pay its Leader of the Opposition and extra MP allowance is a very bad insult. The LO should get at least a starting Cabinet Minister pay.

    PAP, you want Pritam to propose alternative policies, how you put the LO salary at such a derisory level?

    If he can come up with good policies at such low pay, are you ministers going to cut your own pay?

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  • LO:

    LO Pritam should use all the resources provided to get a good team of full timer to assist him to do a good job as LO.
    Take up the opportunity to help Singapore and it will do good for the Opposition future…

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