While there’s diversity across political parties in Singapore, there’s no lack of diverse views within the Party, said Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Dr Janil Puthucheary.
That was his response to a question on how political diversity can be accommodated in Singapore’s future plans at the Young Singaporeans Conference organised by Institute of Policy Studies on Sep 7 as part of the Forward Singapore exercise. Also in attendance was Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.
Dr Janil added that PAP MPs are given the opportunity to air their views in the media and during Parliamentary debates.
This point on diversity of ideas was noted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in July this year. He said: “Some think that since PAP MPs all wear white and white, they are also monochrome in their ideas and perspectives. But this view is quite mistaken.”
Indeed, the suggestions and ideas put forth by our Parliamentarians speak for themselves. From lower-wage workers, mental health issues, to women’s development, the Party faces no shortage of diversity of viewpoints. This contestation of ideas also allows the Party to remain a big tent and not stick to a single ideology.
The question would be what do you do with all the diversity of views?
For Dr Janil, it’s the ability to close ranks and move forward.
“Diversity is good to have, but you have to come to a resolution and find a way to get a compromise or at least chart a way forward.” he said.
Extent of political diversity is decided by Singaporeans
Singaporeans will decide the extent of political diversity at every election, said DPM Wong.
Noting the trend and desire of more check and balances that are happening in worldwide, he added that the likelihood of more political contestation is real.
“That’s why we have been saying… That we should all recognise that every election going forward will not be so straightforward. You cannot assume that it will always be the PAP in Government,” he said.
That said, DPM Wong said that the Party will continue to do our best in government and as a political party, and present the report card for Singaporeans to decide.
“Ultimately, from my point of view, in Government now and eventually when we have elections, it’s for us to present our report card to Singaporeans to show what we have achieved … And then to let Singaporeans decide whether or not we have done enough, whether we are deserving of your confidence and trust, and continue to form the Government in Singapore, or if they feel that someone else is better and there are other alternatives they prefer.”
Doing the right thing
What our Party stands for is always about continuing to do what we believe is the right thing for Singapore and Singaporeans, no matter the political cost.
Only by having the right values as foundation, can we uplift the lives of the vulnerable and ensure a fair and just society where the benefits of progress are spread widely to all.