There is a Chinese saying:When a person is about to die, his or her words are kind (人之将死，其言也善）。One cannot help having the impression that this is an apt description of the antics of PM Lee Hsien Loong when he was addressing some 500 PAP activists at the Party Seminar at the Lasalle College of the Arts on Saturday 24 November. The fact that there is a necessity to galvanise PAP activists into vigorous action at this time is a clear indication that the PAP leadership realise that the gound is anything but favourable to the party.
Of course, PM Lee did not find it tedious to reiterate what he has been exhorting PAP activists that it is their responsibility to lead their discussions on the party's ideals, ideas and policies together with the people in order to persuade them to see things more in the way they do. They did not allow the opportunity to slip by to engage in the party's own version of the national conversation exercise.As loyal PAP members they are duty-bound to give credibility to the so-called national conversation,,ridiculed by considerable percentage of the public as more of the nature of a farce.Well, the PAP has no alternative without the loss of face but to continue this quite unpopular exercise regardless of the disdain it attracts.
The PAP leadership realise that they are facing the predicament of a declining confidence of a discerning electorate in the next General Election in 2016. So they are now placed in a position where they have to stretch their so-called ingenuity to introduce so-called pro-people measures ro salvage a desparate situation. But in the course of their flap, they could also be excused for foisting such a grotesque innovation as the National Conversation.
The issue that will loom large in the electors' calculus in GE 2016 will be the astronomical ministerial salary which the PAP leaders will find hard to wish away.PM Lee could not find competently qualified ministerial candidates from the private sector willing to join the party, so it would seem that any Tom, Dick and Harry from the SAF would be roped in to make up the deficit to enjoy the unprecedented whopping millions of dollars annual salary. It is mind-boggling how an army major or brigadier general can be considered a natural or automatic choice to substitute as a minister. It seems to be a standard or routine that when the prime minister cannot find any suitable candidate from the private sector willing to stand as PAP candidate, he will promptly bring in an army man as a substitute.
That is why the emphasis in on opposition unity to face the PAP in GE 2016. The whopping ministerial salary may not be the main issue but it will be a plus in favour of the opposition parties in their election campaign to show that most PAP ministers are self-serving politicians who are in the game for the taxpayers' money. For a small country like Singapore, the PM and PAP ministers are the highest paid ministers in the world, even more than what the American President is getting. Is PM Lee trying to show that he has a heavier responsibility than the American President whose responsibility covers the whole world? Singapore's electorate are getting more sophisticated and should, by discernment, be more receptive to the opposition campaign