The government’s role is to serve the country and its people. Leaders of the ruling party are expected to treat all citizens equally irrespective of whether they voted for or against their party.
It is not helpful at a time of crisis to disunite the people, labeling voters of alternative parties as ‘free riders’. Every citizen has a constitutional right to choose at the ballot box who he or she wants to vote for. This is a fundamental right and the voter has no obligation whatsoever to explain the reasons for his or her choice. To make assertions about intentions that are not true and worse still, casting a derogatory label on voters for the alternative parties is utterly disrespectful.
We had expected a new dawn when the 14th Parliament was convened. With the call to embrace diversity, energy should be focussed to rigorously debate pressing issues at hand, as highlighted in the Presidential speech. This is the time to be united and pull in the same direction, and not be distracted in the House by unhelpful comments.
Questions and views across the aisle from the alternative parties have been fair and germane to the challenges confronting Singapore at the present moment. Whether these be on the status and use of our national reserves, or issues on jobs and PMETs, or effectiveness of our social safety net, the discussions should be civil and steered to generating new ideas to solve problems and stimulate robust debates on these ideas. Members in the House must be given the relevant information and data if we are to ‘up the game’ to have open and meaningful discussions. Not answering their questions or worse, questioning their intent behind what they need to know will not bring about fair and rigorous debate. No one wins and our country receives the short end of the stick. This is not the new dawn that Singaporeans envisage.
Elections are over. We should resolve to finding real solutions to our problems to navigate through this crisis. For the coming parliamentary sessions, let’s hear about plans for jobs, the economy, social safety net and concrete strategies for the future, instead of the petty ‘free riders’.
Singaporeans Deserve Better.