Why we need opposition parties to be co-driver

I’m confused after reading a news article recently. Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said the Workers’ Party wants to be more than ‘a spare tyre’ locked up in the car boot. He said it wants to be in the front seat of the car as a ‘co-driver’, and able to stop the car if it does not like the direction in which it is going.

Hmmmm……. isn’t that something good? Isn’t that exactly the reason why Singaporeans want more oppositions in the parliament?

PAP is saying that Singapore don’t need oppositions in the Parliament. The current NCMP scheme will allows alternative voices in Parliament. A NCMP can speak up in Parliament to highlight whatever weaknesses there may be in government policies. True.

They forgot to mention that the NCMP can only speak in the Parliament. They can’t vote against any policies. Even if we have 9 NCMP in the Parliament, it’s not going to make any difference. No matter how good they speak, nothing is going to change. They are just voices in the Parliament. Voices that the ruling party can choose to ignore if they want.

A friend of mine described the NCMP system in a very crude way. He said that the NCMP system is like masturbating. You feel shiok after that, but there’s no productivity. End of the day, nothing gets done. You just get the shiok feeling.

I’m afraid I have to agree with him on this.

We need to give the oppositions more power in parliament to represent the people of Singapore. Under Singapore constitution, you need 2/3 majority votes in parliament to pass a Bill. The ruling party managed to pass every single bill that they want because they have more than 2/3 of the seats in Parliament ever since independence.

I’m actually alright with this if every single Bill passed by the ruling party is a good bill. But let’s be honest, not all Bill are good. Take the ministerial pay hikes. Most people objects to it. Opposition parties objects to it. But nobody can do anything to stop the bill.

Not even when Sylvia Lim, NCMP from the Worker’s Party, can do anything. We just sit there helpless as the Bill to increase Minister’s salary was passed in Parliament.

I can only blame ourselves for not giving the opposition party more power to stop the ministerial pay hikes.

The ministerial pay hike is not the only Bill that is not good for Singapore. There are several other Bills that most Singaporeans disagree. But we can’t do anything about it. The ruling party control the Parliament.

We need to do something to stop this from happening. The people of Singapore need to be represented in the Parliament. We need to have the power to say no to bad Bills.

Your PAP Member of Parliament is not representing you in Parliament. He/she represent their party. They have to vote in line with their party because of the Party Whip. Although the Party Whip may be lifted so that MP could vote according to their consciences, this seldom happen.

The opposition parties wants to represent the people of Singapore. But they do not have enough power to do their work in Parliament. They need more than 1/3 of the seats in Parliament. Which means they need at least 29 out of the 87 seats.

And don’t be fooled by those who say the Parliament can’t function if the oppositions hold more than 1/3 of the seats. If the policies and Bills are good, the opposition party would also agree with the ruling party and vote for it. I don’t think any respectable opposition party would vote no just to oppose the ruling party. Unless they don’t want to be re-elected.

Giving the oppositions 1/3 of the Parliament means that every Bill passed will be for the interest of Singapore and our future. If the ruling party really wants the best for Singapore, they would also want the Opposition to have 1/3 seats.

Vote wisely my fellow Singaporeans. Let the opposition parties be the co-driver and drive Singapore to a better future.

2 Responses to 'Why we need opposition parties to be co-driver'

  1. kirsten says:

    We also need to remember that a 2/3 majority actually even allows the Parliament to overrule the President, who is supposed to be our last check and balance (even though we all have our doubts about that). That is way too much power for one party.

    We have already seen so many unpopular and unhelpful Bills passed with barely any significant debate at all. These are far-reaching policies that affect all our lives. How can we just let each one be passed without proper discussion and scrutiny?

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