Thursday, June 26, 2008

5 more years of mistakes could also ruin Singapore

Sounds like MM wants to secure another 5 year tenure for the PAP before he himself becomes incapacitated.

We have heard him weave this doomsday prognosis for an opposition-ruled Singapore before. But what struck me was his comment that our "existence depends on performance" and his heavy emphasis on good leaders.

Knowing this, MM should realize that a vote for an opposition candidate will not be out of, as he put it, boredom or fickleness. If anything, it is an evaluation on the performance and capability of the PAP leaders. Should this performance not be up to the mark, or citizens are left realing over mistakes by incapable leaders (you know who), believe you me, the vote is anything but fickle.

The tough decisions, for which we are supposed to trust the government o make, should not be limited to how much and when to raise the price of ERP, GST, Utilities, HDBs...etc.

If the PAP is serious about defending their turf, political will is needed. Political will to weed out under performers is necessary because 5 more years of mistakes could also ruin Singapore.

June 26, 2008
5 Years all it takes to ruin Singapore

'I know how we got here and I know how we can unscramble it,'
he says
By Lydia Lim

ONE freak election result is all it will take to wipe out Singapore's
success in building up the city state, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew warned last

This could happen if voters became bored and decided to give the
'vociferous opposition' a chance - out of 'light-heartedness, fickleness or
sheer madness'.

'In five years, you can ruin this place and it's very difficult to pick up
the pieces,' he told 650 participants of a dinner forum at the Shangri-La Hotel.

Mr Lee was responding to a Bangladesh delegate who asked if Singapore would continue to thrive in his absence. The delegate also expressed sorrow at the news of Mrs Lee's illness, and Mr Lee thanked him.

In his reply, Mr Lee returned to themes he has spoken on often - the need for a system to ensure good leaders emerge, and the danger that voters plumping for more opposition MPs might end up with an unintended change of government.

Larger countries rich in resources can survive such a freak outcome, but not Singapore, he said.

'When you're Singapore and your existence depends on performance - extraordinary performance, better than your competitors - when that performance disappears because the system on which it's been based becomes eroded, then you've lost everything,' he said.

'I try to tell the younger generation that and they say the old man is playing the same record, we've heard it all before. I happen to know how we got here and I know how we can unscramble it.'

He said a country needed three elements to succeed.

First, a government that people have confidence in and will trust when tough decisions need to be taken.

Second, leaders who are above board, who make decisions based on necessity, not how they will personally benefit. He said Singaporeans know they have such leaders because, over the years, 'we have not got richer, Singapore has'.

Third and most importantly, a country needs able men in charge.

The problem with popular democracy, he said, is that during elections, candidates are not judged on how well they can govern, but on their persuasive power.

The forum, chaired by Mr Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, was a highlight of the first World Cities Summit and International ater Week.

In his opening remarks, Mr Lee spoke for 20 minutes off the cuff, recounting his 40 years of striving to build up Singapore's independent water supply. He was determined because as long as Singapore was totally reliant on its neighbours for water, it would remain a 'satellite'.

During a 30-minute question-and-answer session, participants from around the world probed him about water management and political leadership.

He also presented the first Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize to Dr Andrew Benedek, a pioneer in the field of membrane technology for water treatment.

A key outcome of several sessions held yesterday was the setting up of an informal network of 16 countries - comprising the Asean 10, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand - to share ideas and expertise on how to go about pursuing sustainable development.

And the World Bank announced plans to set up in Singapore a regional hub for training urban planners, which will draw on the Republic's success in city development.

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