There had been so much hype on the "Ask the PM" TV forum that Singaporeans could be excused if they expected some really epoch-making pronouncements to be made by PM Lee Hsien Loong at the forum. But what came out of this comic opera was a regurgitation of so-called political and social issues purportedly for the amelioration of the plebeian which had been diffused ad nauseam from time to time. It could hardly be objective when the interview is managed by a Straits Times staff and an editor. If PM Lee expected his so-called political expertise and eloquence at the forum to mesmerise the electorate, he could be in for a not so mild disappointment. The reaction from discerning Singaporeans could at best be said to be lukewarm but PM Lee being made of more sterner stuff may find this episode a kind of challenge. Although he has claimed to be immune to cyberspace criticism, he will find it edifying to visit the website TR Emeritus to read a vitriolic article by a very penetrating writer Molly Meek who very expertly demolished the presentation by PM Lee at the forum until what remained was a fig-leaf to conceal the disconfiture.
From his disclosure at the forum, PM Lee is thinking of a career as prime minister up to or very near to seventy. He is now sixty-one. Although he assured Singaporeans that he had a fourth generation team in waiting he had qualified that by saying the team lacked experience which is a way of saying that he could go on holding the prime minister's post ad infinitum. So we have to get used to being ruled by a group of prime minister and ministers who are more concerned with their astronomical (some say obscene) salaries of millions of dollars from taxpayers' money than with serving the people.
There are incontrovertible signs that a very good percentage of the electorate are showing disaffection towards the PAP leadership under PM Lee and could deal a severe blow to their prospects in GE 2016, There is already a precedent in Aljunied GRC in GE 2011 and subsequent by-elections in Hougang SMC and Punggol East SMC. This is an irreversible political trend but may not be sufficiently dynamic to bring about a fall of the PAP Government. There will however be more inroads by a united opposition into a number of GRCs and SMCs, provided there is unity within the opposition parties.
PM Lee and his beleaguered ministers could not be blissfully oblivious to all these undertones inimical to their prospects in GE 2016. So they are desperately trying to pave the way to reverse the unfavourable political trend by intensifying their efforts to win over the electorate with generous largesse to improve the people's livelihood, especially the lower-income Singaporeans. The "Ask the PM" TV forum is the latest political gimmick by PM Lee to salvage a political decline of the PAP but will not be the the last before GE 2016. All hands on deck are required to do their utmost to refloat the sinking ship. We will be able to see in GE 2016 whether they will succeed in stemming the wheel of history.