The Prime Minister will be subjecting himself to Parliamentary grilling on the 3rd of July 2017. To facilitate this, he has given orders for the Party Whip to be lifted and to allow individual Members of Parliament to vote and this this case, raise questions according to their conscience.
In Singapore, the Whip is not lifted easily. Not even when MP Tan Soo Khoon called for it to be lifted for a conscience vote leading up to the building of the two casinos back in 2005.
There were only 3 occasions in recent history when this happened:
- In 1992 when a decision had to be made on the Nominated MP scheme. Tan Cheng Bock was the only PAP MP against this scheme.
- In 2002, the Whip was lifted during a debate on a review of junior college and upper secondary education.
- It was lifted once more in 2009 for a decision on changes to the Human Organ Transplant Act.
However, let us be terribly honest with the elephant in the room here: there is a massive PAP majority in the House. If I was the Prime Minister with nothing to hide, I would certainly welcome honest, intensive and legitimate scrutiny.
I do not doubt that the Members would be honest and intensive, but legitimate? Even the Ah Lian in the street would have doubts how one can properly attack his/her own boss and pay-master.
In fact, the Members most valuable to the Prime Minister at this point would be the Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (essentially Opposition politicians whom were the best losers at the polls), the Nominated Members of Parliament (individuals of standing in the country) and yes, the Opposition. If there ever was a time for the Opposition to shine, it would be now.
Up till today, this entire fiasco had been staged on Facebook. It has so far been a matter of “you say, I say who confirm”? In the fury of online exchanges, the siblings have unwittingly built political dynamite. It is now fused and ready to blow-up a very big house called “Singapore”.
But it won’t be so simple. Singapore is built on strong foundations and it is not easy to rock this boat. This Government is birthed to be allergic to national instability and regardless of your family… there will be a swift stop put to nonsense. All this is only possible if the citizens themselves look at the matter with reason and not be easily swayed by the hype and frenzy.
And the beginning of this end will commence on the 3rd of July when Parliament sits.