Friday, June 5, 2009

Change we need???

Change but no Change

The word CHANGE worked wonders for President Obama. It would only be wise for others to follow, but when the followers have very different ideas about change in mind, the results can be funny.

“CHANGE is in the air for Singapore’s political system,” reports a local a newsPAPer. ”But change must be tethered to fundamental principles — three, according to Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.”

First, they must be fair to all contesting parties and “not be biased in favour of one party or the other”, said Mr Goh, ahead of details to be announced this week by the Prime Minister.

Oh, of course. We certainly wouldn’t want any changes resulting in one party controlling all the newsPAPers, the TV and radio stations. I can’t imagine what would happen if our newsPAPers become a mouthpiece for Dr Chee Soon Juan. How come this first fundamental principle sounds funny even without any input from Mr Brown?

Second, they must result in a strong, effective Government. “We do not want a system which ends up with a weak, hung Parliament. And then you have a coalition Parliament that is politically unstable for Singapore.”

Huh? Level the playing field, but we must still win all? Why can’t a coalition government be stable? Because the strong government says so?

And third, these changes must “facilitate representation for diverse views in Parliament, including views of the Opposition parties”.

But such facilitation to previously disadvantaged opposition parties may well result in a “mixed” parliament and a government that is not as “strong” as it wants to be. How should this apparent contradiction be resolved? I’m sure SM Goh and the folks with him have their plans in place. I’m just not so sure if CHANGE has any real meaning when all is said and done. Imagine saying such things to the American people in President Obama’s shoes. Why not copy all the way and promise some change we can believe?

By Dr. Chan Joon Yee.

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