The Death of PAP

PM Lee was right. This election is about renewal, at least for PAP. Because after this election PAP will only exist in name as a political party. But for all intents and purposes, it will no longer be a political party.

Today’s PAP is made up of an inner circle of ex-generals, ex-civil service high flyers, and selected ex-civil servants, and backbenchers comprising low-flying civil servants and unionists with some lawyers, doctors, bankers, etc.

But practically none of them are career politicians!

Since they’re not politicians by choice, they don’t think like politicians, they don’t care about opinion polls, they don’t worry about elections. They’re bureaucrats and technocrats, doing what they think is right for the country, but without feeling for the ground.

They select their own to join them in their inner circle, by “talent-spotting” high fliers and “grooming” their successors. The risk of elections is minimised with GRC’s.

MP’s, on the other hand, are left to fend for themselves.

Is it any wonder why Wooden head has admitted defeat recruiting MP candidates from the private sector?

And why not? Would anyone want to go in, knowing that if you’re not one of the anointed “potential” office holders, you’ll probably never get into the inner circle? Would you go in, knowing that potential “office-holders” have already been chosen in advance, and your role is just to fill up the back benches and follow the party whip? Would you go in, knowing you can serve 25 years and never break into the inner circle, because you’re not elite?

For a successful lawyer, banker, doctor, etc who doesn’t need the MP allowance– why put up with all this, and the crap of being an MP? How much time do you really have to listen to residents’ problems? Would you really want to put up with all this?

So taken to its logical conclusion, I believe the PAP will soon no longer have politicians, it will have only bureaucrats, technocrats and ex-military and civil service elites.

The PAP that was a political party will be dead once the old man is gone. A new PAP will take its place. It will no longer be a political party, but only a bridge for the civil service/military elite to cross into government.

But hopefully, the old man’s prediction will come true, and PAP’s hegemony will be broken in the next 10 years.


About politicalwritings

Someone who sees beyond PAP and "opposition" in Singapore politics. To understand more please see the Top 10 link below.
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12 Responses to The Death of PAP

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 25 Apr 2011 « The Singapore Daily

  2. sg lee says:

    If there is a career politician that does not think deeply about solutions to the country problems but merely feel the ground, check the opinion polls, then choose a policy position most likely to win an election, is it good?

    If a career politician become a minister, will he resign out out of principle over a wrong policy instituted by the prime minister or merely keep his mouth shut so that he can continue his career? The career politician have problems finding jobs outside.

    • Thanks. That depends on whether you believe politics should serve the people, or the people should simply trust in the wisdom of barely-elected leaders.

      History has shown that there can be great, benevolent emperors who did great things for their empire. However, democracy is founded on the belief that the majority of people are more often right than wrong, and that the govt must respect the wishes if the majority.

      So what do you believe?

  3. Jezebella says:

    Really, you gotta start from somewhere. There is no diploma or degree that teaches you how to be a politicians or country policy-making! So the emphasis on the career-politician doesn’t really cut it. And yes, there will still be plenty of reasons to join the PAP. You just need to think further about it.

  4. Nyen says:


    I believe being a career politician is a bad thing.

    What you’re describing as bureaucrats and technocrats ARE what you would call career politician.

    • Nope. Career politicians are like US senators, they sit in office for many years. Difference is that they are not inducted into a party like PAP inducts military generals and civil servants.

      • Nyen says:

        Hmm…I think there is a misconception. Senators do sit in office for a long time, but they were once lawyers (Obama before he became President) and even military officers (John McCann, Obama’s rival during the last elections). The difference is, they were not “inducted” as you would say into their parties, but joined their parties based on their beliefs and ideology.

        A career politician sees politics as a the term suggests, a “career”. The danger of having a “career” politician represent the people in a democracy is that he/she does not as you said in the article represent the people. They see it as a job, a career, nothing more, nothing less. Thus, the issue of having a high salaries for our MPs and Ministers creates this problem of “career politicians”, people who have no feel for the ground. People who are good at what they do, but do not represent the people.

      • Nyen says:

        On and by the way, Senators are part of the upper house of the US legislature. They have elections every 4 years for these senate seats too =)

  5. Jonnny90 says:


    I believe being a career politician is a bad thing.

    What you’re describing as bureaucrats and technocrats ARE what you would call career politician.

    • Thank you. But I disagree. A career politician depends on votes for his job. So he works for it. Our pap types live largely on walkovers. That’s why they have the audacity to say that they do what’s “right” and not what’s “popular”. If the democratic system’s weakness is that it promotes short-term thinking, the pap system’s weakness is that it allows a total disconnect from the ground, along with no accountability.

  6. Anyway, the purpose of this piece is to highlight the change that’s taken place. That pap is no longer a party of down-to-earth politicians with fire in their bellies and ears to the ground, but a machine for bringing in high-flyers to rule the country.

    The political party that was the pap is no more.

  7. Pingback: What if I get fielded in Hougang or Aljunied? | Political Writings

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