WP’s fictional First World Parliament

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to the 19 Apr 2011 letter by Ms Indranee Rajah.

Ms Rajah claims that there is no successful model for the Workers’ Party’s vision of a first world parliament. Ms Rajah should first define what she means by successful. Does she mean successful economically? The rise of one-party China shows that you don’t need a first world parliament to be successful economically. That is because the root of economic success lies fundamentally elsewhere, not with the government, not with the type of parliament. If we look at how the West continues to dominate innovation and how East Asia has grown by leaps and bounds, it is difficult not to come to terms with the hard truth that economic success has a lot to do with society and culture.

But does that mean that the type of parliament doesn’t matter therefore? Of course not. Without an effective parliament, our people are just workers in a successful corporation. With an effective parliament, our people can then become shareholders of this same successful corporation. It is because of our one-party system that we have ended up becoming workers rather than owners of this country. The one-party decides everything, including their own million dollar salaries while the people are left with scraps issued once every five years just before elections. As far as it concerns putting people first, there are many successful examples of first world multi-party parliaments, notably those in Continental Europe.

Ms Rajah claims that there are many examples where governance, economy and the people suffer because of multi-party gridlock. Ms Rajah must not automatically assume that gridlock is bad, no gridlock is good. If the government consistently comes up with unacceptable proposals, we will need all the gridlock we can have to prevent these unacceptable proposals from being passed. The smooth passing of unacceptable government bills is not a good thing.

Ms Rajah cannot believe that the Workers’ Party acts only in the national interests, not party interests. Isn’t this a dead giveaway that the PAP doesn’t only act in the national interests but sometimes in their party’s interests instead?

Ms Rajah claims that you can check the government by simply speaking up in parliament. That is not enough. If we don’t have the power to disapprove government bills, we will always be held ransom by the government.

Ms Rajah says blocking government proposals is preventing effective governance. There are many examples of multi-party Western nations scoring high on the World Bank’s governance indicator.

Ms Rajah points to the US, Taiwan and Belgium as examples where beneficial policies are not passed. But even in the case of the US, the parliament has always approved bills at moments when they count most. Taiwan continues to be prosperous despite its parliamentary theatrics. Belgium shows that a country can function properly for quite some time even without a parliament. That’s because we don’t need a parliament to tell us how to work every day. We don’t need a parliament to have conscience when making decisions that affect people’s lives. We only need a parliament to prevent people with no conscience from making unconscionable decisions that detriment people’s lives.

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One Response to “WP’s fictional First World Parliament”

  1. Chaikin Says:

    And this Indranee woman is a Senior Counsel?
    I suspect that it is a Party letter, and she signed it off.

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