Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Improving The Odds

So did the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) withdraw from the by-election because, as claimed by SDP chief Chee Soon Juan, "Singaporeans have signalled clearly that they do not want a multi-corner fight in Punggol East which may dilute the votes and allow the PAP to win"? Or did the SDP central executive committee (CEC) over rule it's pugnacious boss? Unleashed by the surprise discharge of his bankruptcy shackles, Chee must be anxious to do battle with his nemesis in parliament, while the latter is still standing on his wobbly feet.

The exchange of words in the House is supposed to be protected by parliamentary privilege. Without being turned into magnets for lawyers' letters of demand.

Mr Pritam Singh's (Aljunied GRC) parliamentary question on Monday, about Singapore's decision to abstain from a United Nations vote to upgrade Palestine status to a non-member observer state, was ignored by Foreign Minister Shanmugam. Instead, latter has issued a written reply, to challenge Mr Singh to state that a change in Singapore's position would make the country more secure. Making clear his pugnative stance, Shanmugam threatened to "take serious note if it was indeed the Aljunied MP's view". When the school bully asks you to meet you outside the class, should you respond?

Words spoken in the course of parliamentary proceedings are privileged, that is, immune from any action in the courts. This privilege allows Members to speak freely and frankly without fear of legal consequences, according to the Parliamentary Glossary on the website.

Dr Chee will have to wait a while before he get to test his oratory skills in parliament. Hopefully, the rules would not be changed by then. The 60.1 percent may be appreciate this: by giving the ruling party the "mandate", they are also providing carte blanche, the legal right to change the rules as they see fit. That's why the Punggol East by-election is important.

23 comments:

  1. Time change but their behavior remains the same.
    Singaporeans need to wake up and work together in 2016 to stop the big school bully whose relatives are the principal, the discipline master, the teacher and the executioner.

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    1. I rather let them remain the same. The lesser dafts of the 60.1% will certainly wake up and the day is coming sooner than later.

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  2. My wish is that PAP continues to rule for a few more terms but with less than 75% majority. This will give stability to the country and at the same time allowing oppositions to keep their action in check. Current composition in Parliament is still not ideal. PAP can simply ignore objections from oppositions. What do you think?

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    1. They cant even calibrate the inflow of foreigners,the shortage of housing, hospital beds and transportation without causing enormous problems.You think we can determine the no. of alternative voice we can let in? No way, if the tipping point is reached, it will just topple over.We must be ready for such an eventuality when the ruling party has lost it.

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    2. What stability? At this rate, all our CPF will be gambled away by Ho Jinx. I say, the sooner we get rid of PAP, the better. Do you know that our public debt has exceeded 100% of GDP?

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    3. Aiyah, that is public debt lah. No big deal - not external debt. Debt instruments issued to broadened the bond market.

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    4. Yours is the kind of thinking that put us in this predicament. The PAP has been in absolute power since beginning and where are we now in terms of satisfaction and happiness factors?
      If oppositions are never given a chance just because we fear for the unknown, then we just have ourselves to blame.

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  3. 60.1% in a fairer proportional representative electoral system would have kill off their two-third majority right to amend the constitution. How the hell could they still obtained more than 90% of the parliamentarty seats to change the laws as they please to suit them?
    So all what they said about the objectives of the GRCs is alot of BS.
    And blame of those 60.1% who gave them them that blanket vote

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  4. Tattler

    All warfare is based on deception

    fish 'n' chips

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  5. The doctor is not impressive. Ah Lian has better experience.

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  6. How do they passed their PSLE Comprehensions? Dont know how answer a simple direct question. I am impressed, coming from a Law Minister?

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  7. "Mr Pritam Singh's (Aljunied GRC) parliamentary question ... was ignored by Foreign Minister Shanmugam."

    The Parliament is the rightful place for a National Conversation.
    The current NatCON is a wayang.
    And WP is correct to decline participating in the NatCON.

    You want a real National Conversation?
    Vote Opposition.
    It's the only way.

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  8. the current land and home affairs minister is very good soldier for the empire that we have..........

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  9. what has security of the country got to do with Singapore's voting or not?

    sham talks cock.

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    1. I mean security depends on many factors.

      but voting implies recognition.

      you can be a graduate but still get knock down by a car. but that risk doesn't make you not want the recognition of a graduate.

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  10. "Dr Chee will have to wait a while before he get to test his oratory skills in parliament. Hopefully, the rules would not be changed by then. "

    We too, for despite 7 (or is it 8?) whatever number of WP MPs, and the rules being the way they have been since 1965, the 60.1% have not heard much from the WP MPs on issues of housing, transport, income inequality and healthcare. Why do I have the strange feeling that electing WP would be like Obama's election: 'Yes we can, more of the same, bankers keep their profit, taxpayers suckered, more food stamps, more tax increase, and more DRONES over your heads'? Its becoming a real nightmare for the remaining 39.9% - WP is actually more of the same!

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    1. Welcome to the real world, where there are no perfect choices.

      Between Romney and Obama, "disappointed" Democrats will be yelling away if Romney is elected and started implementing his agenda (slashing Medicare, Social Security etc). At that time, in contrast, the "more-of-the-same" Obama will be yearned for.

      The other problem is that we (and the Democrats in USA, especially young voters) unfairly project our hopes/aspirations on the elected. It becomes difficult to live up to expectations.

      Ask PAP if they'll be happy to have Hougang, Aljunied back and to win Punggol BE. They'll take it anytime.

      I always ask disillusioned friends this - is LTK/Sylvia's style in Parliament after GE2011, vs before GE2011 (when only LTK was elected and Sylvia was NCMP), any different? No. Still the same. Don't oppose for the sake of oppose. Step in at critical junctures. Occasionally, get bullied by the PAP when they ask questions. In other words, they delivered what they did - maybe we unfairly projected some of our hopes on them? Just like young voters at Obama.

      This Punggol BE is a high stakes situation for PAP. Heard from grapevine they're starting to get worried. Their grassroots leaders telling them 50/50 chance. Because WP has turned this into a referendum on whether you think PAP has done enough since GE2011 (in which case, vote PAP) or you want more change (in which case, vote against PAP). In other words, the choice is framed as for-PAP or against-PAP.

      If PAP wins with roughly the same margin as before, or better, you can kiss "AIM-gate" and everything else goodbye. PAP will read the result as people are happy with the way they've "changed" since GE2011. And all the chatter about "AIM" is just "a small, vocal minority on-line".

      If PAP lose, or its winning margin is noticeably reduced, then the message is clear - PAP is still not changing fast enough. The PAP grassroots will be totally demoralized. They already were, after the Hougang BE. Now it will be a bigger despair. That the leaders have "lost touch".

      Think of the big picture and vote accordingly!!

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    2. This is a good reply. But some (opposition voters who think WP are not fringe enough) will point that the WP is not doing enough to justify its manifesto.

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    3. With PAP's lousy policies over last 10 years;
      How anybody can encourage PAP by voting for them is really beyond me.

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    4. Actually, to be fair to WP, they did push out quite a bit of policy stuff at parliament. But it doesn't get much coverage online - I'm not sure why. For example Yee Jenn Jong did critique childcare quite comprehensively and propose new policy for that. WP also critiqued gov't subsidy of public transport and (briefly) proposed nationalisation again. (Source: summaries of parliamentary speeches on WP's website.)

      I mean these are not as big things as SDP's ideas about healthcare and housing (well maybe transport is), but they're something. WP might not be as aggressive as SDP when it comes to policy, and they're more centre than left (relative to SDP) - but I guess that's what appeals to some SGeans.

      There's just no critical mass in parliament. PAP still ignores questions as they like (esp Shanmugam - he's good at hijacking and de-railing discussions).

      Re: how some people can vote for the PAP - in any change there will be winners and losers - the potential losers will vote for the PAP. The thing is, losses are more salient to people than gains (c.f. Kahneman and Tversky), so those with something to lose fight harder than those with something to gain (also some people with something to gain - are maybe not as thoughtful as those with something to lose).

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  11. Our Law Minister is not setting a very good example of what a Minister should be, isn't it ?

    Suka suka challenge people, suka suka send lawyer's letter. Pritam Singh was only raising a very legitimate question on our behalf. Nobody is accusing him of anything what, so why get so worked up for what ?

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    Replies
    1. This bully mugs everyone. The name fits: Shan-mug-'em.




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