22 June 2006

Lee Hsien Loong not impressed by democracy in Australia

.... because they have a two-party system. Australian PM John Howard, says Lee, "spends all his time dealing with this party politics". Between Howard and Opposition Leader Kim Beazley, they come up with "policies that are detrimental to the nation." This is how our own Prime Minister goes about winning friends. Full essay.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, and he tells New Zealand, an equally small population with a more homogeneous race profile that two-party politics doesn't work in Singapore because of our size and racial mix.

Elaine G

Anonymous said...

absolute power corrupts absolutely. With 2 parties of equal strength you can be sure that only good policies that benefits the people, no matter who brings it up, will get passed.

recruit ong said...

The past few days i have been baffled, amazed, and nauseated with the kind of statements coming out of the princeling's trap in his NZ trip. First he ranted about CSJ being a liar & cheat, now he chastises and preaches to others lessons on democracy. I don't know what is sadder, the fact that he is a totally honest hypocrite or a grown man who just couldn't fit the shoes he is told to wear.

His remarks are evidence showing the extent of his questionable intellect and competence as a political leader. They also reveal how far removed he is from reality and the sheer diplomatic faux pax and boohoos he can't seem to stop generating each time he goes on an overseas trip. It is no wonder that SM, MM, and numerous deputy PMs need to be around to stabilise the sedan chair.

If S'pore Inc under the familee aren't prepared to throw good money away on such "shopping trips" and make economic concessions to others at the expense of S'porean workers, one wonders if any country would bother about S'pore at all. Time to chop the carrot head, the others must be gleefully laughing behind our backs. The latest being the Thai court action directed against Temasek's newly acquired Shin Corp owned ITV station.

Nepotism and dynastic rule under this regime is going to do us in.

article19 said...

The arrogance and stupidity displayed by those who have been in power for more then 40 years...and self-righteous to boot!

It sickens me as a citizen of this country with the ruling party's know-it-all sanctimonious bullshit! We, the people, are also partly to be blamed for the state of affairs here which is projected overseas as seen in the comments by the PM.

(i'm shaking my head in anger, sadness, despair, disgust, etc, etc)

Anonymous said...

it's the fault of his mentors and seniors; they should accept responsibility and take a salary cut

Anonymous said...

"lee Hsien Loong not impressed by democracy in Australia"

Well, the feeling is mutual.

Anonymous said...

Lee Hsien Loong is getting a little too high-headed recently.Following his daddy's ways, he goes around the regions telling the leaders of their of respective countries what to do.

ice331 said...

pm lee s is behaving like he is in singapore. we know the best solution for you. and everything is measured in net gains.

he has forgotten that government should look into the provision of public services and the benefits of fellow country man.

Anonymous said...

I am confused.

First he condemned Australian and New Zealand multi-party politics for short-sightedness that benefits individual parties and not national interest.

Then he said Spore dominant party politics looks after national interest and not party interest.

Then he said upgrading base on party interest is correct. But correct for PAP only.

Is LHL self contradicting himself on the difference between multi-party and dominant party in one interview?

Will he dare to say the same thing if it was to foreign newspapers instead of Spore reporters which renown Pro-PAP?

Very confusing statements from LHL indeed....

Anonymous said...

Is he beginning to show the REAL Lee Hsien Loong ?

I mean all along he was not really in leadership role under his dad and Goh Chok Tong plus the nice picture the media paint of him, we presume his character to be perfect for PM.

But now he has to show his "commander-in-chief" image and is force to say more than the past, he said so many silly words and make so many foolish statements.

Is he beginning to show the result of life growing up without any competition?

I mean from young until now, he never had to taste any suffering ,experience any hardship and fight for anything. Everything was on the plate for him.

From school, relationship, work, career and family. Everything done nicely for him. With such pleasant background, can he do the job of leader and commander-in-chief ?

He is lucky our local media cannot think or else journalists would have taken his words and scrutinise for all Singaporeans to read.

PAP is trying hard to convince Singaporeans and the world that dominant party politics is better than multi-party politics so took New Zealand and Australia as chopping block.

Everyone knows natural logic that dominance is never better than equal competition and choices. Dominance will become domineering in long run.

PAP realise from GE 2006 that Singaporeans are beginning to understand dominance is no good for anything. This ranges from politics, soccer, business to food.

So PAP is trying very hard to spread the gospel for next 5 years starting with making an example of Oceanian countries.

I beginning to have my doubts about Lee Hsien Loong.

teck soon said...

Did anyone notice the article just next to the Today article where Lee indicates his distaste for the Australian system? I am referring to the article on the facing page (page 2), entitled "What now, Pak Lah?", which describes how former Premier Mahathir in Malaysia was able to control the press when he was in charge. This article's headline is presented in a larger font and is featured more prominently than the Lee article. Here are the first few sentences:

"Following former Premier Mahathir Mohamad's criticisms against his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the mainstream media did its job and ran news reports of overwhelming support for the Prime Minister. An avalanche of critical commentary pieces against Dr Mahathir followed suit. It was interesting to see senior editors, who used to hail Dr Mahathir as a visionary leader, now calling his mega-projects wasteful."

The article, a bit further down, gives us further insight:

"Using the state-controlled media to demonise the opposition is a tactic perfected by Dr Mahathir while he was in power. Now, he's getting a taste of his own medicine."

Does this remind us of anyone else? It is interesting how Today dares to comment on state-controlled media! Having this article appear where it did in Today, just next to an article that basically parrots the words of Lee during his visit to New Zealand, might not be a coincidence. Could the editor of Today be sending us a subtle message in the land of censorship? Or perhaps it is warning to the Lee regime of what might lie in store for the future. How will Lee be portrayed by the press once it inevitably becomes free?

On another note, the journalist Loh Chee Kong, author of the Lee article, sometimes forgets to close Lee's quotations. That demonstrates serious journalistic incompetence: "One doesn't know where Lee's words start and end, or maybe it doesn't matter in state-controlled media

Anonymous said...

Mr Lee has a very sheltered view of the world.

He failed to appreciate that in every society, there are many different groups whose voices need an outlet for expression through the political process.

These acts as checks and balances against each other and promote among the groups a sense of ownership in the country.

The one party system is a political tool for a small group of people to exert control over the rest. It is vulnerable to institutional complacency and myopia. And Singapore is exhibiting increased signs of these weaknesses to our own detriment.

As a leader of our country, Mr Lee should consider deeply the problems and weaknesses of Singapore and rectify them first before criticising others so flippantly. It shows a lack of charisma and dignitas.

It is very foolish to undo the friendly diplomatic ties that were carefully nurtured by the previous generation of leaders.

Anonymous said...

〉Is he beginning to show the REAL Lee Hsien Loong

he went through the same experience as GCT with their first election: they think they can get more votes because they have been nice, but the votes did not come in

Nelly said...

I was thoroughly delighted to read the article. Could Lee Hsien Loong have caught his foot further in his mouth?

I am an early proponent of a two-party dominant* reality** which would necessitate my support of a party other than the PAP. (This is not to say that the PAP has not repulsed me from supporting them on its own [de]merit. It has.)

This is one issue that the opposition can safely make a platform out of at a future election campaign, without fear that the PAP would steal the idea. The PAP steals this idea to its own detriment.

However, I do have a personal errand to attend to right now, and can only write more on this later. (Maybe in about 10 min.)

* "two-party" is really shorthand for the more wordy "two-party dominant (system) within a multi-party framework". My own preferred compromise is "two-party dominant".

** I use "reality" instead of the more correct "system" because our system already affords two- (or even -more) party dommination. This is unless Lee Hsien loong plans to tinker with this system. Or already has.

Nelly said...

My second point in criticism of Lee Hsien Loong's statements is this:

Did he come to his conclusions after so brief a visit to the two countries? And in his capacity as a visiting head of state? And not as a thoughtful citizen of the two countries impacted by law and government policy?

Here's where I would echo YB: ask the Singaporeans who have migrated to Australia.

Having already lived in a country that is two-party dominant, I appreciate greatly that when the citizentry is ready for a peaceful change in government, there is a government-in-waiting they can confidently fall back on.

The opposite of peaceful transitions is truer of one-party (or one-party dominant) states. The PAP can certainly be said to be irresponsible and anti-Singapore in this regard.

Anonymous said...

I agreed with Recruit Ong comment "... who just couldn't fit the shoes he is told to wear. HE IS OBVIOUSLY NOT MY CHOICE OF ELECTED PM!"

His remarks are evidence showing the extent of his questionable intellect and competence as a political leader. They also reveal how far removed he is from reality and the sheer diplomatic faux pax and boohoos he can't seem to stop generating each time he goes on an overseas trip. It is no wonder that SM, MM, and numerous deputy PMs need to be around to stabilise the sedan chair.


boon said...

I'm surprised that no one picked up on the statement LHL made on "In Singapore, we have 84 constituencies, but basically they are all more or less the same."

Obviously they are not all the same, otherwise we would see similar voting trends across all wards.

The very fact that we have 2 opposition wards would demolish that claim.

Also, a Teochew-speaking MP clinched the votes in Hougang. LTK deliberately avoided using Teowchew in his speeches outside of his homeground. Isn't that another sign of heterogeneity?

Singapore may have a small population of 4 million, but it's certainly not a population of clones.

Rightist said...

A conceited fowl with split personality, gurgling self contradictions 'innocently' and 'smilingly'. Too much instructions coming in at the same time is causing processing errors in his CPU. The only way out of his ridicule is to claim diminished responsibility.

Remy Choo said...

The impression I get from PM’s comments on Australia and NZ’s multi party systems is that of a set piece of intellectual gymnastics to justify our one party rule. Not a particularly impressive set of gymnastics either. If you break the logic down into its component:

Flawed Set of Reasoning 1
1) Australia is a 2 party govt
2) There are regular disagreements
3) Regular disagreements are bad
4) Therefore 2 party government is bad
5) Therefore the alternative, 1 party government is better

Nicely broken down here, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to find the numerous judgement leaps and faulty causal links in the above. Are regular disagreements necessarily bad? What if they produce workable plans? Even if these disagreements aren’t constructive, does that, by association, discredit multi party democracy per se?

Very dodgy reasoning. What follows is even more purile, but in essence, is what our PM is saying.

Based on the conclusion arrived at in Flawed Set of Reasoning 1
1) 1 party government desirable
2) Our 1 party system discriminates against opposition wards
3) Therefore 2) is justified, because it is a product of 1)

Anonymous said...

he did not get across the real thinking: singapore is small and has to be run as a single corporate state with a board of directors and 3M shareholders; the talent pool is too small to divide among multiple, competing groups that get to manage the corporation only for one or two elections; being a single monolithic entity allows singapore to have some weight in the international scene

I consider this a valid proposition, but it has not been properly explained and debated because a monolithic system is not conducive to such discussions

Anonymous said...

Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong, on his recent visit to Australia, may have left a sour note, after having criticized the Australian Govt on being a democratic country.
This came after Singapore was not able to secure the flight routes to America via Australia that it wanted. The son of Lee Kuan Yew, the strongman of Singapore, has been groomed from young, to take over his father's position in Singapore,however, appears to have a great deal to learn about political diplomacy. One would think PM Lee would have his LandTransport Minister make such a statement, tempered with polite correctness.
Such an outcry from a Prime Minister of a tiny island, clearly shows that the Lees have the arrogance an audacity to 'get their knickers in a twist', and emotionally, shows the lack of mature polite and engaging political communications that many countries conduct. After a 40 year reign of Singapore, the younger Lee still has a great deal to learn about political diplomacy. PM Lee Hsien Loong's hissy fit of borishly critizing Australia that arguments between PM John Howard and Beazley,is a waste of time is an indication that his govt send their opposition members to financial bankruptcy is one way of taking out opposing dissent. .PM Lee's remarks included the fact that Singapore , and Singaporeans that a ruling Singapore Govt should have a one-party system.
All this sounds arrogant, and makes one think of countries like North Korea, and the Phillipines, where the control of a country is in the hands of one important Family. There are no checks and balances, and the ruling Lees are able to lay claim to both power and money. The citizens of the country have no say, which makes it easy for the Govt to continue to manipulate the huge money funds of the country, without question . Eg, Temasek Holdings' highly secretive investments are privy to the Lees.As the younger Lee has stated: "That's the way the politics works,' he said.--- Straits Times, 21 June 2006.
Works for whom is the question. Certainly not for and in the interest of the Singapore citizen at large. Telling off much larger countries that democracy does not work is certainly 'not the the way the politics work'.if anything the younger Lee has only fueled and angered the political fire between Singapore and Australia, instead of polite communications. All because PM Lee was not able to get what he wants. At 53 years old, PM Lee acts much like a 3 year old in his temperament. The Australians must sigh in relief, that PM Lee governs Singapore, and not Australia.

Anonymous said...

>Telling off much larger countries that democracy does not work is certainly 'not the the way the politics work'

other countries sometimes tell singapore that it's system was lousy; dont see why not the reverse; the question is whose criticism is more valid, at this moment no eay answer

it is true that not letting SIA on the pacific route reduces choices for Australian travellers, and Australian internal politics is an important factor; whether open expressions of frustration like Yeo Cheow Tong's and LHL's would make the protectionism less, is of course open to question

Rightist said...

Anonymous (24 June), Well commented and valid in all sense. Most Singaporeans would agree. However, I have to clarify that he represented PAP (especially he and his Lee cronies), when he tried to pull the rug from under the Aussies' and Kiwis'feet. Shockingly naive and downright foolish. Singaporeans, in general, are much more pragmatic, humble and diplomatic. PM of Singapore....sigh................

Anonymous said...

Lets not just put the blame on mini lee...
Elder lee, with his impossibly long political experiences & intellect, is also going around making tactless comments on neighbouring countries.

CNA was showing a report yesterday where the MM was quoted as saying something along the lines of "the problem of piracy in the Straits is the result of poverty in Indonesia. As long as there're poor people in Indon, there'll be people who're willing to take to the life of a pirate."
Strangely, the report was taken down after less than a day so i cannot link to it here. Perhaps someone realised that it doesn't look good on the old chap.
But basically, the "senior statesman" is putting the blame of piracy in the straits squarely on the Indonesians, at the same time, criticizing & looking down on them for their poverty.
Talk about pissing someone off in more ways than one with just a single statement! Truely "senior statesman" material there.

Now we can be sure we'll be the first place the pirates will visit for a plunder if & when our many islanded neighbor decided to start a jihad <---- I'm not saying they plan to hor...

Anonymous said...

Apologies...I've located a working link to the mentioned report on MM Lee...however, its a much shorter version.


If you google for it, you can still find a link to CNA, with abit of the report in the summary...but the actual report at CNA site is no longer there...perhaps I'm just no good at searches...

Nelly said...

Yes, I do have a third point. It is really an eloboration of the checks-and-balances one.

Singaporeans clearly not only want an opposition but want them in numbers substantial enough to prevent PAP excesses. The PAP has all along made a claim that they have what passes for their internal debates. The logic follows that there is no need for an sitting opposition.

Why then did they even consider the idea of an internal shadow cabinet a few years back? That sharpening the debating skills of the PAP cabinet members was proffered as the rationale shows that their internal debates amounted to much.

It is in the very nature of any organization/institution for its members to try working together harmoniously. Think of yourself at your own workplaces, or with your families for instance.

As such the most meaningful debates are rarely, if ever from within.

The only truly effective debates, which the PAP luuuurves thinking of as a performance art, comes from the outside.

Also, Singaporeans need not fear that we could elect a freak government into power. We already have one in the PAP.

Chin up and Happy Pride evreyone.

Anonymous said...

As an Australian, I am happy to concede our form of democracy is not perfect, however, I and many other Australians are more than happy we don't have to live under the autocracy of Singapore. We don't always agree with our Government policies and their decisions, but we have the right to say so and to vote for an alternative government.
I note that a considerable number of Aussies don't fly Singapore Airlines, don't use Singtel (Optus)services in an attempt not to encourage the far from impressive Singapore leadership. (a leader should have the aim of creating a better environment for his people, not supressing legitimate oposition)
An Australian finds the behaviour of Lee by making his adverse comments after leaving our shores to be gutless. If he had the guts to offer meaningful criticsm whiles't in the country, he would have the respect of Australians.

Anonymous said...

The difference is in Australia, the govt. listen to Australians before making any policies whereas in Singapore, the govt. doesn't even give a damn to Singaporeans.
The political system in Australia is transparent to a degree while the one in Singapore is simply opaque. Eventhough political croynism does exists in Australia but the media serves to highlight these to the public - Singapore?

Anonymous said...

it would serve minilee well to take note that far from being "the white trash of asia" as his father put it some years ago, australia is by far a much more powerful, diverse, exciting, progressive, inspiring, inventive, positive, enterprising, accomplished, respected country than singapore can ever pretend to be. get off your high horse minilee! you don't even have a real country, you have a little island state dictatorship.

i was reading SMH and The Age during the days of LHL's visit to Australia. Amount of coverage his trip got in the Aussie media? Zero, Zilch, nada. yes, that's right minilee, that's how important Singapore really is to Australia, you can whinge all you like, GWB ain't having you over at the ranch. you are a nobody.

Laughing toes said...

Can a person bred and groomed through a dictatorial system, and trained and indoctrinated as a general in the military system to only give orders and dish out punishments, able to know what is a good democratic system?