Hougang by-election: PM, show leadership!

A reader wrote to the Straits Times, the state-controlled daily, appealing to PM Lee to show leadership and hold a by-election in Hougang constituency so that the constituents are represented in Parliament.

I’m hardly surprised that the Straits Times, widely regarded as a mouthpiece of the PAP government, did see any merit in his letter.

The letter-writer then wrote to TR Emeritus which is a thorn in the side of the establishment, (“earning” two lawyer letters so far).

On the question of leadership by the Prime Minister, a large swathe of society has lost confidence in him.

In the minds of many people, he is fast giving the impression that he prefers to be low-key.

A quiet Prime Minister that is, focusing on urgent national affairs that sort of thing rather than be bothered by all that noise, particularly in blogosphere.

But the public want answers and assurances on many issues. For example, why so many scholarships are given to PRC students at the expense of local ones, why is the government so generous in giving 1.1 billion to transport operators to buy buses, discriminatory job hirings in favour of foreigners, low ranking on press freedom, why a PAP MP likened greater social spending (eloquently argued by Workers Party MP Chen Show Mao) to a Nigerian scam and so on.

It seems the other leader (the government may dispute this description), President Tony Tan, seems to be following the footsteps of his predecessor ex-President Nathan in being a quiet President.

Some of President Tony Tan’s recent activities include hosting a tea reception for new MPs, opening Scouts’ Job Week, congratulating Putin on his election victory and paying his respects to the late Dr Toh Chin Chye.

His hands are understandably tied. But he should at least summon up some moral courage to speak up on important issues affecting Singaporeans.

Failing which he will be dubbed another quiet President.

Two quiet “leaders” in fact.

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