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10/19/2011

Are opposition parties enemies of the state?

This issue has cropped up with Chen Show Mao telling the ruling govt that they are just providing an alternative voice, maybe a govt in waiting, and not the enemy of the state. For decades, the political opposition has been tacitly seen or projected as enemies of the state with many ended up in jail or humiliated. In earlier days there were the communist inspired doctrine of armed revolution to topple legitimate govt and practicing the art of statecraft is a matter of life and death. Has anything changed? Are the opposition parties still being seen as enemies of the state?

Who are looking at opposition parties as enemies of the state or enemies of the people? Is such a label valid and deserving? Political parties naturally see each other as opponents in the political contest for the right to govern a country. The mature western polities have accepted and are willing to live with multi parties and no longer see each other as enemies. In third world polities, the immaturity and ruthlessness of their political leaders will conveniently put opposition party members behind bars as enemies of the parties but dressed up as enemies of the people and the state. And they have full control of all the govt machinery, including civil servants, the military and the police to be their hatchet men, to do the dirty works for them. The motivations of their civil servants, the military, police and grassroots organizations are varied. What is fearful and frightening is that these people refused to think, refused to differentiate between right and wrong, or for self interests, willingly do harm to fellow citizens simply because the ruling govt made them to do it.

The unthinking civil servants and uniformed officers could unintentionally or intentionally become accomplices in oppressing the people, the opposition parties, as if they are the enemies of the state. In the course of political development and the maturing of statehood, civil servants and uniformed officers tend to distance themselves from becoming cronies of unscrupulous political leaders and refuse to have innocent blood tainting their hands. The war crime trial in Phnom Penh against Khmer Rouge leaders is a living example of how civil servants went about killing fellow citizens without questioning their conscience.

The maturity of statehood, of arriving at the first world of civilized nations can be measured by such developments. Civil servants and uniformed officers must develop an independent mindset, and not be compromised into oppressing citizens on grounds of political differences. It is also unbecoming for govts to compromise civil servants and uniformed officers by expecting them to conduct political inquisition or persecution of the people.

In mature polities, such things are now passé. Civil servants and uniformed officers are well educated, sophisticated and know their rights and duties as public officers of the state and not officers of a ruling party. They are public servants paid by public money to serve the people and the state, not to serve any political party. When such a state is arrived, statehood has reached manhood.

And political parties, including dissenting and diversed views and voices will be accommodated as part and parcel of, or family, of the polity. The new term for such a development is inclusiveness. They are not enemies of the state but patriots wanting to make the country a better place for all. The western states are quite comfortable at this level of their political development.

Are we in the same happy state of affair? Can we claim that we are a mature polity where politics and affairs of the state are quite distinct to everyone?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

The minister of education talks about teaching pupils and students on character building and learning right values. It all must start with PAP ministers and MPs. Do they all have what needs to be called good character? Do they themselves have right moral values? Pupils, students, teachers and the public at large will always watch at how the PAP ministers and MPs conduct themselves. So far they have nothing to show exemplary good character or exemplary right values. Labelling Singaporeans who disagree with PAP policies as daft is outright show of arrogance and disrespect. Arresting, imprisoning and bankrupting opposition leaders is totally unacceptable and clearly shows the bad and negative side of warped sadistic characters. When politicians taking advantage of the people and the country to pay themselves high insane stratospheric salaries they have lost the high moral ground to talk about character building and learning right values. No one can believe them any more. People have come to know that they are just simply selfish, self satisfying, self aggrandizing and self important and all these personify their disastrous self egos. They are there to serve the money and not the people. That's the reason why the people are suffering and are so unhappy. If they don't change , come 2016 will change for them.

SG

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi SG,

The early history of politics here was quite violent and politicians can be seriously hurt. The old politicians could have operated on the basis that either they killed or be killed, they maimed or be maimed.

Today the politicians from all parties are pretty sensible and non violent people. In reality they can all be very friendly.
There is a need for a mindset change to treat everyone as friends rather than foes and make politiking less vicious.

The ruling party must set the trend and the opposition parties could reciprocate. Then everyone can have a good nite sleep.

Our politics can be gentler and more gracious and less harrassments from all corners. It is a quid pro quo thing. Be nice and people will return kindness with kindness.

And criticism or alternative views must be tolerated as long as they are sensible and rational.

Anonymous said...

The motto of live by the sword and die by the sword should be burnt and forgotten.

Let the new motto be, live graciously and die graciously.

Jonathan said...

Politics is about power struggle. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's political philosophy stems from Niccolò Machiavelli. This philosophy believes that if you can crush your opponents in a single move, then don't do it with two. Whether this philosophy is effective in amassing power depends on whether the electorate favours the embodiments of such philosophy.

For civil servants, especially the police, it can be a hard time for them. There is no way not to obey commands and laws. I sometimes feel that the old school PAP politicians have skilfully set up a fight between the "people" and the "police", which they just watch the show without getting the blame. 鹬蚌相争,渔翁得利。

In this sense, I agree with SDP's strategy, which is to rectify the laws by gaining seats in the Parliament. Having voices in the Parliament is not enough. The important issue is about the power to vote and whether there is such a critical mass.

Anonymous said...

redbean.

I have seen enough of Singapore politic in olden days. The days of LKY and Barisan Socialis kind of politic is over. Singapore citizens of today are educated and matured enough and will not be susceptible to rioting like in the old days.

I hope the old Lee retires from politic completely before he lost more respect from the people. Let the younger Lee run his own show with the politic requires in today's environment. Confrontational politic will not work in Singapore. Voters are wise enough to know when PAP and their BackBenchers opposed a good idea from the Opposition for the sake of opposing. They will eventually pay just like it as happened in Aljunid and Hougang.

Anonymous said...

In politic, if You are not with me, You are my foe. No other interpretation.
And
no one works with enemy except TRAITORS.

patriot

notanotherspinstory said...

Demonising and belittling the opposition has certainly backfired.

PAP now play smart, start to give opposition more respect and space.
It's not coming from sincerity, it's plainly a political move to appear to be fair. They still have a long way to go to give opposition equal respect.

Anonymous said...

It is not possible for opposition parties to be enemies of the state as they will be out-lawed in no time,especially in Spore.

But some opposition parties are enemies of their ruling government.

Singapore is rather fortunate that at least at this stage winnable opposition party,the W.P.s are not enemies of PAP.

The next move is up to PAP,but it is obvious many PAP MPs who already see W.P as ther enemy.

They are cowboy US president George Busg big fans.

That is-you are either with me or my enemy!

we can see the true color of PAP decision makers before the next general elections.

But I have little doubt that our ex-MM LKY was a true fan of Ex-George Bush.

And it is obvious they both belong to the extreme right.

Anonymous said...

It is very difficult to have politicians,any politicians any where in the world,to appreciate critisms or alternative views.

That is why in addition to check them,the politicians,we must institions which act as checks and balances to ruling politicians any where in the world.

Anonymous said...

I believe that up to this stage,PAP still firmly believe in the founder's LKY heartfelt sincere hard truth"
That Singapore is a small place that could not afford the luxury or our progress will not be there.

So the real question is how many and how much LKY succesors believe in this hard fact?