Straits Times: Don’t give up on political process

FORUM

I REFER to the letter, “Do not expect Singaporeans to follow doctor’s orders blindly” (ST, Aug 22), by Mr Lim Wee Liang.

The writer said that “Singaporeans who…find that the Government does not listen to feedback, may seek a place where they will be heard – in another country.”

I am of the view that Singaporeans, who feel that they are not heard by the Government or had been ignored by it, should take active steps to make the Government listen, rather than contemplate leaving the country in which they were born and bred, and where their families are.

If you feel strongly that the Government should be more responsive to the needs of Singaporeans, then play an active role in the process of changing its attitude. This is a political process that all of us as citizens have the right to participate in.

Despite all the restrictions and limitations imposed on opposition political parties by the People’s Action Party government, Singaporeans have the power and the choice to make it listen.

As long as there is a General Election and the Government is subject to the voting process of the people, there is a threat to it to heed the needs of the people or lose in the next election.

Singaporeans, especially those who feel that their views and needs have been ignored, should take this mechanism seriously and help make the electoral process work more efficiently. This will strengthen our political system, make the Government work harder for the people and safeguard the interests of Singaporeans.

The threat of the electoral process was evident in the recent debate in Parliament on the public transport fare increases.

MP Tan Soo Khoon, in moving his motion, related that a stranger told him to warn the Government of the repercussions at election. He said: “He said that he observed that every time after an election, the PAP increased prices and, by the time the next election came, people would have forgotten and just vote for the PAP again. He then smiled at me and said, ‘Mr Tan, just tell your leaders, next time round, we would not forget’.”

The decisive factor that made me and many others come forward to play an active role and join the Workers’ Party is precisely this shared feeling that the Government is not responsive enough to the plight and needs of the people. We also share the writer’s view that Singaporeans should not be expected “to listen to ‘doctor’s orders’ just because the physician says so”.

We believe that by participating in the political process, we would help ensure good governance and contribute to the development of an open political process and a civil society.

If as citizens born and bred in this land, we are unwilling to try and make the Government and the system work to our benefit, we have ourselves to blame.

LOW THIA KHIANG
MP for Hougang
Workers’ Party secretary-general