PAP’s Obsession With Renewal

As if the routine turnover at the civil service and uniformed group where the generals are retired early in 40s and Perm Sect at their 50s to allow the impatient scholars to have more opportunities to get promoted. The phenomenon seems to spread over to the political arena with SM Goh announcing that there may be a need to limit the minister’s tenure to two terms, with the exception of “ex-Prime Ministers” like himself (and MM Lee). This policy, while not cast and concrete yet, is insane and made light of the political system that the founding fathers has laid for this country as if it is the new generation of Elites’ playground.

While the three ex and existing PMs had mentioned in so many occasions that Singapore had limited talent pool and thus not enough talents to go around for a two party system to work
and yet on the other hand, we are retiring so many promising young and seasoned MPs in the last and coming elections. It is also questionable the new candidates brought in are necessary better MPs than those that are retiring. E.g. Ong Teng Koon 34, the only son of Nee Soon Central MP Ong Ah Heng, the Morgan Stanley commodities trader, Vikram Nair, 32, a lawyer at Norton Rose, Alex Yam, 29, a principal executive at the NTUC youth development unit, Foo Mee Har who became a Singaporean only in 2008 and the most controversial Tin Pei Ling who has only seven years of working experience as a relatively low position of senior associate in a accounting firm. Comparing these candidates with the many MPs that they are replacing such as Lim Boon Heng, Wee Siew Kim, Mrs Yu and the contrast is startling. Many of these “retiring” MPs are still at their prime 50s or 60s. The most damning fact is: can we call these batch of new candidates the best people we have in Singapore? If these are the best people the PAP claims we have, I am worried for the future of Singapore, what kind of people do we have in public and private institutions that are currently in charge (other than those occupied by “foreign talents”)?

There are a few politicians such as Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong who have way past retirement age that refuse to retire while the PAP hurrily retire some MPs that only serve one or two terms. While some of those MPs may be not measuring up to expectations from the PAP leaders, some retired persons are good, conscientious and outspoken MPs such as Tan Cheng Bock, Tan Soo Khoon and Chng Hee Kok. So could this retirement thingy be a tool to silence the potential “dissidents” within the ruling party?
The frequent changes of MPs and the controversial GRC system have made Singaporeans resigned to accepting the status quo of politics and many lamented they don’t know who their MPs are esp those in the GRC constituencies. Where are the sense of belongings and bonding between MPs and thier residents?

Other links:

 Ministers to serve shorter terms?

Source: The Straits Times Apr 3, 2011
Said SM Goh: ‘You want to bring in new people who can be given responsibilities, (then) you have to create space in the Cabinet for new people coming in. — ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SENIOR Minister Goh Chok Tong on Sunday indicated that the days of Cabinet ministers serving several terms are numbered.

There will come a time when they will serve no more than two terms, he said at a dialogue with grassroots leaders when explaining why some MPs have to step down after only one term.

In an ideal situation, a Member of Parliament should serve three terms, he said.

But as some Ministers serve longer than three terms, like himself, the PAP has no choice but to retire some of its MPs who have served fewer than three terms.

If not, it would not be able to achieve self-renewal, he added, which is key to the party’s political longevity.

However, long years in Cabinet may no longer be the case in future.

Said SM Goh: ‘You want to bring in new people who can be given responsibilities, (then) you have to create space in the Cabinet for new people coming in.

‘So a time will come, when ministers will not serve more than two terms, generally speaking, so we can have new blood coming in.’

He made the point to about 300 grassroots leaders from the Kampong Ubi-Kembangan and Kaki Bukit wards in the Marine Parade GRC, which he leads.

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