The inconvenie​nt truth about WP’s campaign slogan

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to the 23 Apr 2011 letter by Ms Indranee Rajah.

Ms Rajah claims that the Workers’ Party is twisting in every possible way to explain away its campaign theme of a First World parliament. That is not true. Along the way, the Workers’ Party has elaborated more in response to public queries and has clarified its campaign theme.

Ms Rajah claims that the Workers’ Party finds it inconvenient to identify countries as models for a First World parliament because of what is happening in most of the First World. Does Ms Rajah have proof to say so or is she saying it because she feels like it? As a lawyer, she should know better not to insinuate without proof. The Workers’ Party has already explained that it wants to evolve its own model that works for Singapore. Ms Rajah can refuse to accept the Workers’ Party’s reasons but she has no right to declare the reasons false unless she can prove it.

In any case, if we refer to the World Bank’s indicator for government effectiveness, what is happening in most of the First World isn’t as bad as Ms Rajah makes it out to be. Countries like Denmark, Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, Lichtenstein and Hong Kong have done as well as before if not better. Countries like Switzerland, Canada, Luxembourg and Australia have only dipped slightly. Countries like Norway and the Netherlands continue to do well despite larger dips. Therefore, Ms Rajah’s claim that parliaments of First World countries aren’t exemplary because of what is happening to their countries now isn’t quite valid.

Also, what is happening now is just a snapshot of what has happened over many decades. The Global Financial Crisis is touted as a once-a-lifetime event. Do we judge First World countries on the basis of this single event only? If this had been 1997 and we are in the midst of the Asian Financial Crisis, would Ms Rajah be able to say the same?

Ms Rajah claims that there is nothing unique about scrutinising government policies since we already have non-constituency MPs doing it. Ms Rajah is ignoring the right of the opposition MP to block government policies.

Ms Rajah now claims that blocking government policies is about gaining power. Must Ms Rajah and the PAP always see things through their own power hungry eyes? The most innocent thing can become tainted when seen through tainted eyes.

Ms Rajah should realise that even if the vision of a First World parliament is inspired by those found in First World countries, it doesn’t automatically follow that those countries must be the ones to model after. Ms Rajah cannot preclude the Workers’ Party from adapting existing examples into a model that suits Singapore.

The inconvenient truth that Ms Rajah points to is merely caused by her own convenient but illegal insinuations.

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