Friday, 30 May 2014

Constructive Politics: PM Lee Vs WP Chief


Update 23 Jul 2015: Lee Hsien Loong: I am very sad the Workers’ Party only know how to criticise snidely
Photo of Lee Hsien Loong from Yahoo Singapore

In today’s (July 23) release of the transcript of his interview with US-based TIME Magazine, PM Lee Hsien Loong said that he “welcome” criticisms especially when they are raised in Parliament. However, he is very sad that the Opposition Workers’ Party’s criticism “comes snidely and round the corner”:

“…the problem is criticism comes snidely and round the corner…"


When we face the critics across the aisle in (Parliament) with the television cameras on, their criticism withers. It’s very sad.”

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PM Lee, WP's Low spar over constructive politics

PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang traded verbal blows yesterday over the opposition party's approach to politics, which Mr Lee described as "breathtakingly cynical".

The feisty 15-minute sparring began when Mr Low jumped up from his seat to rebut Mr Lee's speech on the President's Address.

Among other things, Mr Lee had said that it was "striking" that the WP leader's response to the Address had nothing on the substance of the Government's programme, "no critiques, no suggestions, no alternatives, nothing".

related: Low, Indranee lock horns over "constructive politics"

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PM Lee, WP chief lock horns over constructive politics

An extraordinary exchange took place between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Workers’ Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang in Parliament yesterday, as Mr Lee took aim at the WP’s performance in Parliament and pressed the Opposition leader to take a clear stand on government policies and issues.

Mr Lee, who is also the People’s Action Party Secretary-General, and Mr Low locked horns in a fiery 14-minute exchange that was triggered by Mr Lee’s criticism of what Mr Low had said in Parliament on Monday, the first day of the debate on the President’s Address.

In his speech, Mr Lee said it was striking that the Opposition leader had “nothing to say about the substance of the Government’s programme. No critiques, no suggestions, no alternatives — nothing”. Mr Lee also singled out Mr Low’s comment that “in whatever way ‘politics’ is described and coloured, it is still politics”. This was a “breathtakingly cynical view of politics”, said Mr Lee.

related:
Heated debate between PM Lee and WP’s Low in parliament
PM: WP has responsibility to explain what it stands for to S’porean

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PM Lee asks Low Thia Khiang: Where do you stand?
Yahoo Newsroom - Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong cross swords in parliament on Wednesday, 28 May 2014. (Screengrabs)

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Workers’ Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang faced off on Wednesday afternoon in parliament, with the government leader accusing Low's opposition party of being "inarticulate" outside of election periods.

In the continuing parliamentary debates on President Tony Tan Keng Yam's address to the House, a roughly 12-and-a-half minute verbal battle between the secretary-generals of the incumbent People’s Action Party (PAP) and lead opposition party WP saw the premier asking Low repeatedly, “Where do you stand? Where are we totally wrong?”

Lee accused Low and his WP MPs of failing to express clearly their position on important issues.

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PM Lee and WP chief cross swords in Parliament

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang crossed swords in Parliament after Mr Lee's speech on Wednesday (May 28), in a vigorous 10-minute exchange that saw the two debate the performance and role of the Opposition so far.

Mr Low said he had focused his earlier speech on constructive politics because he felt it to be an important issue. “From what the Prime Minister has said, it seems to me that it's more constructive for the PAP, rather than constructive politics in terms of the society moving forward,” he said. His stand was that “we should be able to move forward together, despite the differences”.

The discussion then moved on to Mr Lee’s assertion that the Workers’ Party has flip-flopped on issues. Mr Low said he has clarified the party’s stand, adding: “I also noted that when the PAP has to make a policy U-turn, they call it policy shift. I don't know whether if that is a shift or a flip flop.”

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PM Lee, WP's Low spar over constructive politics

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang locked horns on Wednesday over the opposition MP’s approach to politics, which Mr Lee described as “breathtakingly cynical”. The 15-minute exchange began when Mr Low jumped up from his seat to rebut Mr Lee’s response to the President’s Address. Here is the transcript:
Mr Low: Madam, I wish to clarify a few points. First of all, the reason why I decided to focus my speech on constructive politics, because I thought that was an important issue that we should look at. As what I say in my speech, Singapore is becoming more diversified, there will be different views. And moving forward, how the Government will deal and accommodate different views and different perspective of Singaporeans is important for us to move forward together as one united people. And the other MPs from the Workers' Party will be talking about different issues. They will cover, I mean ranging from social issues, social safety net to foreign affairs, national security. They will cover the full range of areas, and thereby we split our job, I will focus on constructive politics. I thought it was an important issue and of course it's important to also understand what is the perspective of the PAP in terms of constructive politics. And from what the Prime Minister has said, it seems to me that it is more constructive dictated on the term of the PAP, rather than constructive politics in terms of the society that is moving forward. And I have affirmed my endorsement to what the President has said that we should look at the outcome of constructive politics - that is, that we should be able to move forward together despite the differences. Next, he's talking about the Workers' Party flip-flopping on foreign workers issue. I said again I don't think we have flip-flopped. I have explained in this House of some misunderstanding of the speeches I have made. And in any case I also noted that when the PAP have to make a policy U-turn, they called it policy shift. I don't know whether that is a shift or is a flip-flop.

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PM Lee offers his definition of 'constructive politics'

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong weighed in on the debate over constructive politics, as he charted out the Government's agenda for the second half of its term in Parliament on Wednesday (May 28).


Politics cannot be about politics alone, because Singaporean lives and futures are at stake, he said. Rather, politics is about what leaders stand for, what they believe in, and what they want to achieve.

He said it was "striking" how Opposition Member of Parliament Low Thia Khiang's speech had nothing to say about the substance of the Government's programmes: "No critiques, no suggestions, no alternatives - nothing."

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Parliament: PM Lee questions WP's stand on the big issues
PM Lee said it was "striking" that the WP leader's response to the President's Address had nothing on the substance of the Government's programme, "no critiques, no suggestions, no alternatives, nothing". -- PHOTOS: SCREENSHOTS FROM TV

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang traded verbal blows yesterday over the opposition party's approach to politics, which Mr Lee described as "breathtakingly cynical".

The feisty 15-minute sparring began when Mr Low jumped up from his seat to rebut Mr Lee's speech on the President's Address.

Among other things, Mr Lee had said that it was "striking" that the WP leader's response to the Address had nothing on the substance of the Government's programme, "no critiques, no suggestions, no alternatives, nothing".

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How we feel: LHL vs LTK in Parliament

The PAP is a bully in parliament and the WP have mastered the art of dodging them. The PM challenged the WP to be the PAP equal but that is absurd. Nine WP MPs versus too many to count PAP MPs. The PAP have so many MPs they can afford quite a few dud ones! And that is the fatal weakness of the GRC system.

The smarter move is for the PAP to ignore the WP or better to treat them as adolescent which they are. They are taking their time to grow up properly and then we will see a different WP. I hope it will be something that we like. In the meantime we just have to accept and live with what we have. The PM strategy trying to take LTK and the WP down is a loser from the start because Singaporeans aren't looking to the WP to form the government yet.

You guys can quarrel but remember who is watching outside Parliament and that is what will matter in the end.

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10 Quotable Quotes that really show PM Lee & WP’s Low engaged in an epic butting of heads in parliament

The supporters of both PAP and WP think that their leaders had won in the exchange. Let’s hope Singapore wins eventually.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Workers’ Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang engaged in a verbal sparing in Parliament yesterday on constructive politics, WP’s stand on the big issues as well as the role of opposition in parliament.

Here are the ten best zingers between PM Lee and Low:

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Low Thia Khiang’s breathtakingly cynical view on politics

‘Constructive politics’ has been bandied about since Low Thia Khiang ‘cynically’ said that this rhetorical hokum doesn’t happen ‘by order of the Government’. But most of the ‘constructive politics’ supporters in Parliament seem intent on providing their own whimsy definitions rather than citing concrete examples of its existence.

Positive adjectives to describe a party’s political style like ‘constructive’ are rare, perhaps because it’s redundant. After all, we pay good money for our million dollar ministers,  and it’s a given that they better bloody hell deliver the goods. Constructively. It’s like saying your kid studies in a ‘good’ school, something which our Minister of Education would say applies to EVERY damn school anyway.

Here’s a sampling of other ‘brands’ of politics that have been used to describe our PAP and Opposition parties, proof that there are more bad things to say about politics in general than sincere compliments.

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Lee Hsien Loong and Low Thia Khiang Cross Swords in Parliament


Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/video/pm-lee-wp-s-low-cross/1125580


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CONSTRUCTIVE POLITICS IN PARLIAMENT

Last night’s news on Parliament was dominated by a new find in Puthucheary. He came across as the smartest MP in the house. He was on his feet many times, even his speech on healthcare was allowed extra time to expound on his wisdom. The ministers were in awe, mesmerized by his grasp on the issues facing healthcare. He seemed to have all the answers especially on what Gerald Giam had to say. And Gerald Giam was as good as saying nothing but sound bites.


Gerald Giam made two points which I thought were very pertinent and should be seriously considered by the MOH instead of being brushed off lightly by some wise cracks. The first point was the American private healthcare system. Gerald told the house that the American govt made it a law for excessive profits from health insurance to be ploughed back to reduce the premiums paid by the insured.

This point was hastily dismissed by Puthucheary with no second thought. It was a private insurance scheme and should not be used in our discussion on a public healthcare scheme. Why not? Be it private or public healthcare scheme, excessive profits must be moderated and best returned to the insured. Otherwise the insurance agencies would be raising higher and higher premiums to make more and more profits. I think this is a very important point for our govt and private insurers to take note of and to prevent premiums from running away.

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Fighting Tiger, Heated Dragon: PM Lee vs Low Thia Khiang

“I have been highly entertained by the exercise of constructive politics” – Bertha Henson


If you have 14 minutes to spare, do watch this heated exchange between Lee and Low. If you don’t have the time, we have a truncated transcript for you. But seriously, do have a watch – very entertaining at best.

We have tried to type this as verbatim as possible. Video: PM Lee, WP’s Low cross swords

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A Choice Of Colours


The video clip posted by Lee Hsien Loong on his Facebook page of the Indranee Rajah response comes on right after Low Thia Khiang's speech. For a guy whose delivery in dialect is more powerful than in Queen's English, this is one command performance that resonates. The keystone of his message, and probably why it was clipped, is this reminder:
"If the people continue to support a government party that uses high-handed tactics against its political opponents, we are endorsing a bullying political culture. If the people support a governing party that uses governmental resources, including civil servants, to serve its partisan goals, we are condoning the abuse of political power as an acceptable culture."
The mainstream media refers to it as a "heated debate", but if you watch the lacklustre retort of Rajah, it comes across as a tired response, with the speaker looking, and articulating, a decade older than her actual years. You would be tired too, repeating the unchanging rote of a programmed automaton. If her demeanour spells her party's enthusiasm for "putting Singapore at the heart of what we do", it explains the lethargic efforts at addressing the housing, transport and foreign invasion issues.

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TRANSCRIPT OF PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG'S DEBATE ON PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS ON 28 MAY 2014, AT THE PARLIAMENT

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