Singapore Election 2011

Latest news and updates about Singapore's 14th GE

‘Caretaker’ PM Lee before GE result known: Potential office-holders will be thrown into deep end

Posted by singaporege2011 on April 23, 2011

Though the result of the coming general election is still not known, caretaker Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong appears to be confident that the PAP will be voted into power again. Strictly speaking, PM Lee is only a ‘caretaker’ PM now as parliament has already been dissolved.

In an interview with the state media, PM Lee proclaimed that PAP candidates who are potential office-holders will be ‘thrown into the deep end’ immediately after their election so that they can get up to speed quickly.

‘We will throw them into the deep end. That is the first step. Then we will see how they work out. There is no other way. It is not realistic to expect a future prime minister to have the same luxury which I had,’ he added.

PM Lee appears to be counting his chicks before the eggs are hatched. It is not realistic to talk about potential office-holders now because the PAP may not win the next general election despite being the favorites to do so.

In the 2008 Malaysian general election, nobody expect the Penang to fall into the hands of the opposition, including the opposition parties themselves. The Gerakan Party, a component party of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, had governed Penang for more than forty years.

Even before the election, Gerakan was wrecked by in-fighting over the successor of Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon who would leave Penang and become a minister in the federal government. Its members were so confident that they would win Penang again and a venue was booked to celebrate its ‘re-election’. Even the opposition was campaigning on having a strong opposition in the state assembly to check on the Gerakan government instead of an alternative vision for Penang if they came into power.

When the results of the election came in, jaws dropped. The opposition Pakatan Rakyat swept 29 out of 40 seats in the Penang state assembly with the Democratic Action Party winning all the 19 seats it contested. Its Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng became the Chief Minister of Penang.

Though the Malaysian opposition has no prior experience of running a state, they soon proved to be more than capable to the task. After three years of rule under the opposition, Penang is now the most liveable city in Malaysia. It attracted the highest foreign direct investment among Malaysian states last year and has the highest per capita income.

The future office-holders of Singapore should be for Singaoreans to decide and not the caretaker Prime Minister or his party. The PAP is merely a political party like all others. Only when it won the next election can it claim to have the mandate to govern Singapore.

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