Category: Current Affairs
Published on Friday, 19 August 2016 17:17
Written by Shawn Danker
The following is a conversation overheard at a coffee shop. The names have been changed to protect the conversationalists' identity but here's the gist of their conversation.
Lup Cheong: Ah Johnny good you're here.
Johnny: Why? What's up?
Lup Cheong: I wanted to talk to you about the newly minted contempt of court bill...
Johnny: You mean the new law that's got all the anti PAP folks up in a arms online?
Lup Cheong: Ya that one! You know, I don't like how the three NMPs who were against the bill ended up flipping and voting for it!
How can they say they decided they could support this bill after the Law minister's clarifications.
They betrayed us!
At least the WP stayed consistent and voted the against the bill! Why can't the NMPs be more like the WP?!
Johnny: Bro, aren't you the one who's always saying that we should think for ourselves more?
Lup Cheong: Ya but what's that got to do with what the three NMPs did?
Are you saying that the NMPs aren't allowed to change their minds if they're presented with a more persuasive argument?
Lup Cheong: No la.
Johnny: Good. Because that's exactly what happened.
The three NMPs presented their case to the Law Minister in Parliament.
They listened to the Minister's explanation and felt satisfied after his clarifications and assurances that the bill isn't the doom and gloom that some people have made it out to be.
The NMPs then voted according to their conscience.
Lup Cheong: ...
Johnny: I think that it's extremely ironic that the folks calling the three NMPs traitors are the same people who're constantly telling people to think for themselves. That's rank hypocrisy right there. The NMPs like all of us, have free will and they exercised their own discretion. I think we should respect the fact that the NMPs made their own decisions.
Lup Cheong: True...
Johnny: By the way, I think the fact that two of the NMPs had tried to propose amendments to improve the bill is something WP should learn.
Lup Cheong: What?! Why?
Johnny: Look. The reality is that the PAP has a supermajority in Parliament. There's no way the WP can block any bills from being passed in parliament. Instead, the WP should try to improve unfavorable bills by pushing for amendments. This will show voting public that the WP understands legislative power and knows how to use the rules of the game to get things done. At the very most if the PAP rejects the WP's amendments, the WP can turn around and tell the public:
"You see? We tried to improve the bill you don't like but the PAP is not interested in working with us for the interests of Singapore."
The WP needs to learn what legislative power is and how to wield it. The all or nothing, sound and fury approach that the WP insists on using is not going to get us anything but heartache.