SINGAPORE - Politics in Singapore must be constructive, if policies to better the country are to be realised, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday, as he criticised the opposition Workers' Party (WP) for not being up to par.
He said he found it striking that WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiang's speech in Parliament to debate the President's Address offered "no critiques, no suggestions, no alternatives - nothing" on the Government's way forward.
On Monday, Mr Low had kick-started a fiery debate on the topic of constructive politics, which was raised by President Tony Tan Keng Yam, on May 16, in his call to put the nation and Singaporeans first.
Mr Low said then that "in whatever way politics is described and coloured, it is still politics" - a view which Mr Lee lambasted yesterday as being "breathtakingly cynical".
"Constructive politics can help us to scale new heights. Wrong politics will doom us," said Mr Lee.
Constructive politics, Mr Lee said, must develop effective policies for Singaporeans and solve problems. Besides having a robust debate, high standards of integrity must also be maintained.
The WP chief defended his position, saying that with Singapore becoming "more diversified", it was important to discuss how the Government will deal with different views.
Mr Low said that going by Mr Lee's speech, it appeared that "constructive" politics was dictated by the People's Action Party (PAP), rather than "in terms of the society that is moving forward".
Mr Low said that while his colleagues from the WP would talk about a range of issues, he had chosen to focus on constructive politics.
This, however, drew a sharp rebuttal from Mr Lee, who said that as a leader, Mr Low had a "responsibility" to state where the WP stands on the big issues.