Change must be fair, says Chok Tong
Chok Tong has spelt out three fundamental principles for change in the political system. First, 'they must be fair to all contesting parties and "not be biased in favour of one party or the other".' Second, 'they must result in a strong, effective Govt.' And third, they must 'facilitate representation for diverse views in parliament, including views of Opposition parties.' For Chok Tong to talk about a fairer system and the representation of diverse views, including opposition views, is a sign that there is an opening up, a change in the PAP's dominant ideology. Before this, the PAP's position is to win all the seats at all costs, be there opposition in Parliament or otherwise. Perhaps PAP has become wiser, knowing that there are values to have real alternative views, and that they really do not have the monopoly of talent and wisdom. Perhaps they also realised that a time has come when the people forming the opposition parties are decent and respectable people that will contest the election fairly and not to do Singapore in. And many could have very similar values with the PAP except with some differences here and there. Now we will have to see what are the changes and whether they conform to this new paradigm shift, to be more inclusive, more willing to listen and accept opposition as part and parcel of a mature political system. In the first principle above, it wil be interesting to see how this could be done to be seen as being fair by the opposition parties and not fair according to what PAP thinks is fair. The third principle is much easier to attain by working out some formula for greater participation in Parliament. The most tricky part is the second principle. How could a system ensure that there will be 'a strong, effective Govt?' Strong means a big majority. Effective means the candidates must be straight As material. To make these compatible with the second principle will not be easy. We will wait and see the details.