In the aftermath of the toppling of Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional after 60 years in power, the front runner to be Singapore’s next Prime Minister has said a number of things which are strange and bewildering. What made Chan Chun Sing come up with these puzzles?
- Place on record the government’s appreciation for Low Thia Khiang’s contributions. Low is still a Member of Parliament. He merely passed over the reins of secretary-general of the Workers’ Party to Pritam Singh. Even The Straits Times noted that it was a “rare accolade.” Need we say more?
- Politics is not just about winning votes but about serving the people and the country. Another head scratcher. To serve the people, you first have to win their votes. So it IS about winning votes first, then comes the service to the nation. Just exactly what was Chan trying to say.
- Winning votes by stoking anger and unhappiness may be a common practice elsewhere, but this is negative politics and not constructive. So the government decides how political parties should go about trying to win votes? Surely, it is the task of politicians to tap on the angst and unhappiness (and sometimes anger) of voters. By “elsewhere” does Chan mean Malaysia? The tsunami that swept the country towards electoral change is clearly on his mind.
- Agreeing with us (the government) is not a prerequisite. Agreeing to put Singapore first and foremost is the prerequisite. This is like scoring an own goal! Putting the country first was the reason why the Opposition coalition in Malaysia swept to victory. Malaysians rejected race politics, corruption and oppression. They wanted to start afresh and build a better future for the country. They made Malaysia Boleh! more than a slogan by putting their country first.
So, four puzzles from Chan Chun Sing in a Parliament speech, following the Malaysian elections. Perhaps he and his colleagues have already done a post-mortem and any spillover effect is cause for concern.
Government to work with Pritam Singh and WP in interest of Singapore: Chan Chun Sing
Former Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang poses with his successor Pritam Singh following the opposition party’s leadership elections on 8 April, 2018. PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore/Dhany Osman
The government looks forward to working with new Worker’s Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh and the party to “put Singapore and Singaporeans’ interests first”, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing on Monday (14 May).
Speaking in Parliament in Mandarin, Chan also paid tribute to former WP chief Low Thia Khiang for his contributions to Singapore by putting on record the government’s appreciation of him as leader of his party for the last 17 years.
“Although Mr Low is a member of the opposition, he is nevertheless a fellow Singaporean and very much a part of Team Singapore. While we may not always agree with his methods or perspectives, we nevertheless appreciate his efforts to work together to build a better Singapore as leader of the Workers’ Party,” said Chan.
Singaporeans urged to build even stronger foundation for future
On a day when younger parliamentarians dominated the show, a veteran politician was singled out for his contributions
In a rare accolade, Mr Chan placed on record the Government's appreciation for Mr Singh's predecessor Low Thia Khiang, who last month stepped down as secretary-general of the party after 17 years.
"Although Mr Low may have different perspectives, but from his speeches, we can detect his pride in Singapore and his determination to defend our sovereignty," he said.
In his speech, Mr Chan also said the Government has a role in maintaining social cohesion & trust, adding that Singaporeans' aspirations & expectations have evolved. "They want to be heard, considered & respected. So, we have to keep various channels open for them to share their views & work on strengthening engagement."
Chan Chun Sing thanks Low Thia Khiang for his contributions; says PAP looks forward to working with WP
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing thanked veteran Workers’ Party politician Low Thia Khiang for his contributions, in Parliament today. Low recently handed over his post as WP secretary-general to Pritam Singh but remains in the party’s contributions.
Chan, who has been widely tipped to succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as head of government after the next election, said that Low is a fellow Singaporean and very much a part of Team Singapore, even though he sits on the opposite bench. He added:
- “While we may not always agree with his perspectives or methods, we nevertheless appreciate his efforts to work together to build a better Singapore.
- “Although Mr Low may have different perspectives, but from his speeches, we can detect his pride in Singapore and his determination to defend our sovereignty.
- “Thank you Mr Low.”
Chan Chun Sing pays tribute to former Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang
Veteran opposition MP Low Thia Khiang at the Workers' Party's Geylang Road headquarters on April 8, 2018. ST FOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Minister for Trade & Industry Chan Chun Sing paid tribute to veteran opposition MP Low Thia Khiang in Parliament on Monday (May 14), saying he "is a fellow Singaporean & very much a part of Team Singapore".
"While we may not always agree with (Mr Low's) perspectives or methods, we nevertheless appreciate his efforts to work together to build a better Singapore", Mr Chan said.
He was the first 4th generation leader to speak during the debate on the President's Address, & had highlighted the need for Singapore to ensure it has the strongest leadership team possible.
Singapore must have strongest leadership team for others to ‘take us seriously’: Chan Chun Sing
Mr Chan, whom many have identified as being one of the front runners to succeed current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, also took the opportunity to thank former Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang for his contributions. Mr Low had recently handed over the reins as the opposition party’s secretary-general to Mr Pritam Singh, although he remains in its Central Executive Council.
He said while Mr Low sat on the opposite bench, he is a fellow Singaporean & very much part of Team Singapore.
“While we may not always agree with his perspectives or methods, we nevertheless appreciate his efforts to work together to build a better Singapore,” Mr Chan said. “Although Mr Low may have different perspectives, but from his speeches, we can detect his pride in Singapore & his determination to defend our sovereignty. “Thank you Mr Low.”The ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) Government also looks forward to working with Mr Singh & the WP to “put Singapore’s & Singaporeans’ interest first, always”, Mr Chan added.
Minister Chan says that government must embrace diversity even as ex-MP criticises government for being elitist
During a debate on the President’s address on Monday (14 May), Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said that Singapore’s government will aim to find the best people to lead the country across the areas of political leadership, public service and the business community. He added that after identifying these individuals, they would be moulded into the best team possible.
The former army general added that “agreeing with [them was] not a pre-requisite” but a desire to “put Singapore first and foremost is the pre-requisite”. The leadership traits that are required are instead “commitment, teamwork, courage to evolve, a sense of mission”. Even as Singapore is already successful, peaceful and prosperous, this was a continuous process and they needed to continue trying.
Building on the achievements of past generation PAP leaders, the 4G Minister said that there is “absolutely no reason why our generation, which has so much more, cannot leave behind an even better Singapore for the next generation". To do so, “diverse skillsets and perspectives” are needed so that the government could combine skills to “tackle challenges together, when circumstances change”.
related: ‘Tharman is playing in Premier League while Chan is still in the 2nd division’
Ex-WP chief Low Thia Khiang receives formal tribute in Parliament
Minister for Trade & Industry Chan Chun Sing yesterday praised veteran opposition MP Low Thia Khiang for the role he played in Parliament, acknowledging him as "a fellow Singaporean & very much part of Team Singapore".
"While we may not always agree with (Mr Low's) perspectives or methods, we nevertheless appreciate his efforts to work together to build a better Singapore,"Speaking during the debate on the President's Address, Mr Chan highlighted the need for Singapore to ensure that it has the strongest leadership team possible.
At this point, in a rare move, he placed on record the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) leaders' appreciation for Mr Low, 61, who led the Workers' Party (WP) for 17 years as its secretary-general until last month when he handed over the reins to Mr Pritam Singh.
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