Minister Ong: Singapore’s success was due to a one-party system

Speaking at the Institute of Policy Studies’ (IPS) Singapore Perspectives conference, joint Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said that Singapore’s success was largely due to a one party system and the republic would not have come so far if it had a multi-party system.

Citing examples such as Obama’s Affordable Care Act and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Ong said that it was possible that a government could “work on one set of policies for five years, then someone new comes along and says, let’s redo everything… It can be frustrating and very demoralising.”

He added that should there be more than one political party, there would be “jostling on the ground” and a possibly “toxic mix” should parties align themselves along lines such as a race, language or religion and would possibly “sow discord and [divide society]”.

Nonetheless, his views seem to have drawn disagreement amongst the online sphere.

One netizen Pat Leong took reference to the UK, asking if the latter was “ruined under the multi-party system? The parliamentary debates are more robust compared to the petty politicking in Singapore” and commented instead that “petty politicking will ruin Singapore.”

Another Sean Yeo commented that the first generation of PAP leaders were “extraordinary on ordinary pay” which is the “other way round” from today’s PAP leaders. Adding on was Dexter Teo who asked if today’s “lift [and] MRT breakdowns.. floods” are the high standards of today’s leaders.

Perhaps in light of such comments, PAP Founding Chairman and DPM Toh Chin Chye said in 1984: “When the PAP and the opposition were 26-25, the government was sensitive to issues and was circumspect. When you’ve got a strong opposition, there’s consultation.”

What do you think?

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