Over the weekend I attended the International Democracy Day event organised by Tean Lim and his supporters. It was great to see a lot of young Singaporeans including supporters of PAP turning up for the event. There was an open mic for everyone to raise questions and share their thoughts. One of the issues that kept coming up was the paranoia created by the PAP in the minds of Singaporeans that Singapore is doomed if an alternative government comes to power. I shared my views on this. If it is true that PAP has created a system that will not survive without it, this means that the PAP has failed to place strong independent and autonomous institutions (example, the police, the Attorney General Chambers, the army, the civil service etc.) in its governance of Singapore. Any organ of state ought to be able to function irrespective of party politics. This happens in every other country in the world, for example in UK, the country has been governed by the Conservatives, the Labour Party and with coalition parties. Only recently, this just happened in Malaysia too.
Arguments that there will be chaos in organs of state is a classic admission by the PAP-led government to ensure its own survival. This is a language of desperation that is commonly used by authoritarians world-over to capitalise on such fear in the populace – scaremongering of Singaporeans. We saw this same tactic used by Barisan Nasional during the Malaysian elections.
Contrary to the scaremongering by the PAP, I have the utmost faith in our organs of state that includes the judiciary – that they will continue to ensure that whichever government comes to power, Singapore will run smoothly and be truly a world-class nation with a soul.
I have shared this with Tean in the past. If he and his colleagues in the opposition form a government, I will as a human rights lawyer be there to check them, including him, as my allegiance is to the rule of law and not to rule of men (or any man or woman).
His response in the form of a solemn smile was grounded on his respect for rule of law and that was reassuring.