There seemed to be plenty of fight in PM Lee Hsien Loong’s performance at the PAP 60th anniversary rally on 7 December. Now genuine pundits cannot help feeling that all his vociferous utterances of fictional inspiration to his followers could be a fig-leaf to hide his fear of a backlash to his party’s chances at the next election before 2017. He could not be so myopic as not to be able or not wanting to see the winds of change that had swept the Congress Party in India from power and more recently the KMT from the mayoral and local elections in Taiwan. That the PAP will be the next target is not something that is so intangible. PM Lee can ignore the lessons of the PAP debacle in Aljunied GRC and Punggol East SMC at his peril.
Quite understandably there is now a feeling of euphoria among dreamy PAP leaders and their equally dreamy adherents which has unwittingly lulled them into a false sense of security. They think that now they have the electorate eating out of their hands with their ostensibly humanitarian handouts like the Pioneer Generation Package and the Medishield Life assistance.The irony is that many, especially those of the lower rank of society, are still wondering what the schemes are about and how they could benefit them.The fact is that the rot of discontent has gone too deep, especially among the poor, for any pathetic half-hearted effort to remedy the situation. They dream that the ground is idyllic in their favour and that recapturing Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East is a foregone conclusion. But they will be in for a rude awakening.
Another glaring grievance which constantly makes the poor section livid is the absurdly astronomical salaries that PM Lee and his ministers pay themselves out of taxpayers’ money. When they are living from hand to mouth constantly worrying there their next meal will be coming from while the mercenary PM Lee and his ministers are wallowing in wealth from their whopping salaries at the expense of the taxpayers, would the high-falutin PM Lee and his equally high-falutin ministers still be dreaming that these seriously deprived electorate are a contented lot?
It will not be amiss to mention here that when PM Lee was interviewed recently by a China TV host, the latter tendentiously posed an awkwark question to PM Lee on the “high salaries” of PAP ministers. This immediately put the qualmish PM Lee on his guard who unashamedly declined to accept the term “high salaries”. True to his devious character, he offered to use an euphemistic term of “a realistic and correct salary”. The TV host obviously understood his discomfiture and did not press further. This clearly shows that the disingenuous PM Lee is aware that the obscenely high ministerial salaries are an inescapable fact and the that some of the run-of-the -mill type of ministers are shamelessly pocketing them is scandalous, to say the least. No wonder the poorer section of the society are livid over this.
The never-say-die spirit of PM Lee in rousing his ministers and other potential PAP candidates to greater effort in winning as many seats as possible in GE 2016 is admirable on the surface but considering the mediocre performance of many of the run-of-the-mill type of ministers, PM Lee could brace himself for a considerable percentage of casualties among these ministers, which means that more GRCs may go to the united opposition.
GE 2016 is therefore very much an epoch-making election to watch. It may be PM Lee’s swan-song.
Mr. Yoong Siew Wah was the Director of Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) from 1971 to 1974. He was Director of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in the 1960s, and had a distinguished career in the Singapore Special Branch in the 1950s.