PM Lee: The Current Opposition in Parliament is Providing “Healthy” Checks and Balances

Responding to a question in an interview with Singapore media (14 Jan) on how he saw democracy here evolving over the next few decades amid calls for more political diversity, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong believes that while politics in Singapore will not remain static, how it changes will depend on the voters and the way new People’s Action Party (PAP) Members of Parliament (MPs) and ministers bond with them. 

He also drew a comparison with Britain and the United States, where different regions are strongholds of competing political parties, and they tilt one way or the other but “never completely topple over”.

But in Singapore, he said: “We are flat. The tallest mountain in Singapore is Bukit Timah, so you make one small change, the sky can change. That is not a comfortable position to be in, but that is the way our society is and we have to know that.” 

When asked what he felt was a healthy version of checks and balances in Parliament, Mr Lee said voters should elect the best person to represent them.

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He elaborated that the system has made provisions that there will be different voices as there was no possibility of Parliament being all-PAP, with Non-Constituency and Nominated MPs.  

But voters should ensure those they elect are up to the mark. “A person who sits in Parliament and is not competent is not going to be a check on the Government. A person who can be in Parliament and can raise questions, ask and debate and intelligently question what is the Government doing and why are you doing this and not doing that – that is what you need when you are talking about checks and balances.”

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