Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Timing of PM Lee's Apology

The Prime Minister has finally said "sorry" for the many mistakes of his government such as tardiness in addressing shortfalls in housing and transport including the escape of detained terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari and flooding of Orchard Road. PM Lee kept a discreet posture then. It would have been remarkable if this apology had been expressed by PM Lee long before the present hustings but the fact that he has chosen this moment to say it loses much of its significance, despite what the Straits Times spin doctor says.

However, it shows great humility on the part of PM Lee but then is this not a last minute effort to win back votes when opposition pressure is gaining ground in their campaign focussing on the same mistakes for which PM Lee has apologised? This only goes to prove that more opposition voices in Parliament are an imperative to provide a check and balance from time to time to the PAP government's shortcomings, The voters' eager desire for change is never so loud and clear and it sends a shudder to the pompous PAP leadership. A lot of scrambling is going on to try to contain the situation but PM Lee's apology may be viewed as a little too late to stem the opposition tide. There are still two more days of electioneering for PM Lee to win over the voters.

PM Lee's comment on his eminent father MM Lee is both instructive and revealing. It shows MM Lee to be an anachronism in the government and yet he is tolerated. He draws a $3m plus annual salary and all he does is "forecasting" in his own words. Is this a fair charge on the taxpayers' fund? Most of the time he creates a booboo whenever he open his big mouth. Foreign Minister George Yeo found to his consternation the damage of the uncalled for warning of "ruminate and repent" to Aljunied voters by MM Lee. The Minister Mentor is filthy rich and why does he still want to draw on the taxpayers' fund? In fact, he could gain public approbation by donating his sinecure salary to a charity or charities and offer his services to the government on a voluntary basis. Is he that popular when there are calls, especially by the netizens, for him to retire?

The campaign for Aljunied GRC is gathering momentum and the PAP team helmed by George Yeo is directing their fire-power at the character of the Workers' Party (WP) team. WP Secretary-general Low Thia Khiang is portrayed as a politically ambitious man whose ambition does not stop at just capturing the Aljunied GRC. Psychologically, the WP may be slightly in a advantageous position but then the state of play can still be fluid. PM Lee sounded a note of optimism when he said PAP could win Aljunied and will muster PAP top guns to lend support to George Yeo in his campaign to try to clinch a PAP victory. MM Lee's stern warning words "ruminate and repent" may be a dampening factor.


leokh said...

MM Lee still wants the job because he still wants to be in control like this is his kingdom....his son and all other PMs in the past are just puppets....

hotjava said...

My dad's reaction to PM Lee's apology:

PM, this is not your mistake. The mistake lies in us, the voters. We trusted and voted PAP for too long. We are correcting it now,correcting our vote…and voting the opposition.
Thank you for your apology,we are more sorry than you. We are disgusted with ministers like Wong Kan Seng, Mah Bow Tan, Lim Swee Say, Lim Hng Kiang who are arrogant, insensitive and frankly should be replaced. Lim Hwee Hua, and even Goh Chok Tong is questionable. Lee Kuan Yew is out of touch with the times and should get out. Paying him S$3 million a year to do 'forecasting' is an abuse of public funds

rogerpoh said...

Name me one country where ex PMs or Presidents stay on in the cabinet when they step down? Clearly they have feet of clay. They quibble on increasing the allowance on public assistance but gleefully award themselves pay increases to their already inflated salaries.

soojenn said...

Apology? At this time...where is the apology for the mismangement of town council funds, losses in billions by Temasek & GIC.

They take actions.. so why has Wong Kan Seng not been sacked?

Don't want to take up too much space on yor site.. link at

5A said...

The apology would have been a masterstroke had PM's timing been better. However, this fiasco could be a blessing in disguise for the ruling party.

Sya said...

Do you know if this is the full text of his press statement? Or is there more?

"Hard Truths was a book based on 32 hours of interviews over a period of two years. I made this one comment on the Muslims integrating with other communities probably two or three years ago. Ministers and MPs, both Malay and non-Malay, have since told me that Singapore Malays have indeed made special efforts to integrate with the other communities, especially since 9/11, and that my call is out of date. Muslims are a valued and respected community, who have done a good deal to strengthen our harmony and social cohesion. And I would encourage our Muslim community leaders, Muslim religious leaders, to continue to do the good work. The work is not done. I think it will never be done, but we have to keep on doing it, and we can keep on making progress. We recognise these changing norms. But at the same time, we ought to be careful not to let them evolve so that differences in food, dress, customs and so on keep us apart or reduce our common space. Singapore Muslims have been conscious of this and have made that special effort to try and bridge the links between them and the other communities. I stand corrected. I hope that this trend will continue in the future."

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