BY JEREMY AU YONG
MR LOW Thia Khiang (Hougang) stood in Parliament yesterday not so much to join the debate on the motion tabled by Nominated MP Viswa Sadasivan, but to dismiss it altogether.
In a terse speech, Mr Low (right) made it clear he wanted nothing to do with the debate, and stated firmly that the National Pledge should not be brought up unnecessarily.
He said: “The National Pledge represents a spiritual part of our nation and unless it is really necessary and justifiable, we should not invoke it for the sake of argument.”
A day earlier, Mr Viswa had asked Parliament to reaffirm its commitment to the principles enshrined in the National Pledge “when debating national issues, especially economic policies”.
Mr Low gave his own explanation of the Pledge, saying it basically comprised three parts:
The first part, “We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language and religion”, was simply a statement of fact.
The second part, “to build a democratic society based on justice and equality”, was the guiding principle by which Singapore as a society should forge ahead.
The third and final part, “so as achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation”, was an expression of Singapore’s ultimate goals as a nation.
The Pledge, said Mr Low, should be read as a whole, not broken down and “over-analysed”.
“My view is that we should read and understand the Pledge as a reminder of the fundamental statement of what we want to be as a people, as a society and as a nation,” said Mr Low.
“Some may want to argue over the details or even how to formulate or implement policies to conform to every word of the Pledge. But I believe we should leave the Pledge as it is and not attempt to interpret it in one’s own way, breaking it down into its component parts for application in argument.”
That said, however, he did indulge in a little interpretation of his own.
The Pledge, he noted, referred to “we, the citizens of Singapore”, rather than “the government of Singapore”.
“Therefore each of us as citizens, if we find government policies or social behaviours which are not right for Singapore, then as a citizen we should make it right for Singapore,” he declared with a flourish.