“What is the opposition’s job? It’s not to help the PAP do a better job. Their job is to make life miserable for me so that I screw up and they can come and sit where I am here and take charge.
“Right now we have Low Thia Khiang, Chiam See Tong, Steve Chia. We can deal with them. Suppose you had 10, 15, 20 opposition members in Parliament. Instead of spending my time thinking what is the right policy for Singapore, I’m going to spend all my time thinking what’s the right way to fix them, to buy my supporters votes, how can I solve this week’s problem and forget about next year’s challenges?”– Lee Hsien Loong, 2006
He got a lot of flak for the above speech, but PM Lee is right.
Do you think Labour’s job is to help the Coalition in the UK make better policies? Do you think the Republicans exist to make Obama’s life easier for him?
Of course not! As opposition, they are there to make sure that the Govt do not ride roughshod over their constituents’ concerns, but at the same time, as politicians, they all covet power for themselves and thus they’ll pounce on any slipup the Govt makes.
Do you expect the “opposition” in Singapore to be any different, especially if there’s 10 or 15 of them?
If not, then we would expect a lot more politicking in and out of the House, which is why PM Lee says his time will be occupied with fixing opp MP’s and vice versa, both sides trying to blame each other publicly for anything that goes wrong.
With this context I find nothing wrong with what PM Lee said.
However, what is wrong is that he thinks he can’t do his job properly in the face of 15 opp MP’s, because he will have no time to do so after fixing the opp every week.
If I pay $3m for a PM, I expect the guy to be a superman. So having to fix 15 opp MP’s is not an excuse for not being able to do the job properly! If you really can’t do it, please step down. There’s lots of people we can hire for $3m a year who will be able to do the job, despite strong opposition.