Low Thia Khiang: One-party rule will weaken, destabilise Singapore

Low Thia Khiang: One-party rule will weaken, destabilise Singapore
PHOTO: Zaobao

A one-party rule will weaken and destabilise Singapore as the lack of representation in Parliament would make Singaporeans feel frustrated and suppressed and could be a ticking time bomb, Workers' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang said last night.

At its rally in Ubi Avenue 1, Mr Low said the People's Action Party (PAP) had obtained just 60.1 per cent of total vote share at the 2011 polls and yet had more than 90 per cent of elected MPs, which is "worrying and unhealthy".

This showed the country had a skewed political system and an imbalanced Parliament, he added.

"Lack of representation will only make Singaporeans frustrated and suppressed. It is a time bomb waiting to explode. We must not wait till then," Mr Low added, as he urged voters to send more WP members into Parliament.

He said Singapore must not fall into a situation where "our survival depends only on the PAP or just any one party". Mr Low added: "We must not allow Parliament to continue with one-party rule, knowing it will weaken and destabilise our country."

Two other candidates, Mr Pritam Singh and Ms He Ting Ru, also spoke against a one-party system.

Said Mr Singh, who is contesting Aljunied GRC on a team led by Mr Low: "The issues and problems we face today are structural and a function of 50 years of a one-party dominant state. We need to strengthen our national institutions, some of which are uniquely placed to play a non-partisan role for the good of all Singaporeans, regardless of political parties."

He cited the Human Biomedical Research Bill passed in Parliament last month to illustrate the importance of having diverse representation. WP MPs had abstained from voting on the Bill as they felt a further study by a parliamentary select committee was necessary, but the call was not heeded, he added.

Mr Singh explained the work covered by the Bill "involves... introducing human cells into an animal before it is born". "As the PAP had a super majority in Parliament, the Bill was passed... But are MPs suitably qualified to comment and debate on such highly technical Bills?" he asked.

Ms He, a Marine Parade GRC hopeful, criticised the PAP for warning voters that more opposition MPs will cause instability.

"To them, it doesn't matter if diverse voices are respectable, rational and responsible. It is either their way, their own voices or the highway," she said.

The real instability is the PAP's ideal of a one-party dominance, where people "put all power into the hands of a few", said Ms He.

Instead, WP envisages a "stable Singapore with a strong opposition empowered to work together despite any differences, and move forward with Singaporeans".

She disagrees one needs to choose between stability and excitement. "Must Singaporeans make that choice not to get excited about our own country? How can this be? Singapore may be young and a work in progress.

"But there is much to be excited about as we shape the political direction and future of our country."

leepearl@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on September 8, 2015.
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