Singapore cannot afford democracy

28 July 2002

I truly respect Dr Chee determination and conviction in fighting for democracy in Singapore.

Unfortunately, his misunderstandings has brought severe penalties upon Mr Chee himself and brought a very bad name to the Singapore Democratic Party. I sincerely hope that Dr Chee would make proper and detailed research before launching statements or accusations on government leaders.

We are living in turbulent times now. The country needs a good and firm government. now. No doubt, we need some opposition voices within the parliament. But, those voices must be equipped with sensibility, responsibility and working towards the benefits of the state.

I personally feel, that too much democracy will not work at times like this. Remember what happened in the Soviet Union during the 1990s? Mikhail Gorbachev introduced reforms within the Soviet Union and democracy was one of them. Guess what happened? This ultimately led to the breakup of the U.S.S.R. Why? The reason is because the private companies set their prices too high resulting in the people being too poor to buy their goods. Political leaders pinpoint and criticized government policies so badly that none of them could be carried out. Although democracy did bring about a better Russia in a sense, it led to the breakdown of a nation.

Forgive my impudence. However, I sincerely wished that Dr Chee being leader of the Singapore Democrats and a loyal patriot would contribute ideas and solutions to the government.

And not add oil to the fire by agitating incites over the Tudung issue or spending all the time in reprimanding PAP leaders. What the country and the people needs now are solutions, not a big debating society or civil war.

These are just some of my suggestions. I may be wrong but I sincerely hope that Dr Chee would seriously look through them.

Mr Qin

SDP: The more important question Mr Qin should ask is not whether Singapore can afford democracy at this stage of its development but whether our nation can continue to prosper without it?

On just the economic front alone, indicators consistently point to the fact that the good and firm government that Mr Qin has presumed PAP to be, has been the cause of much of our present economic woes.

The negative population growth rate, the lack of local talent, inadequate CPF funds for retirement, zero returns on GLC investments, etc. have all contributed and exacerbated the current economic recession that we are facing. The effects of these policies took years to wreak their damage. Without democracy, they were left to fester.

If there had been less firm and more consultative government, Singapore would have been able to avert, or at least minimize the economic problems resulting from the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

This brings us to the issue of Dr Chee contributing ideas and solutions to the government as opposed to criticizing the PAP over the tudung issue. Mr Qin may not be aware that Dr Chee had over the years written books identifying and anticipating the problems that Singapore now faces. Alternative ideas and solutions were proposed. (This website will carry a series of excerpts from Dr Chees latest book Your Future, My Faith, Our Freedom in the near future. The book is available at Kinokuniya Bookstore and Select Books.)

The PAP arrogantly dismissed them and the local media refused to give them publicity. The PAP has presently, but belatedly, used some of the ideas that Dr Chee had proposed. It is therefore incorrect to say that Dr Chee has not provided solutions and ideas.

Reprimanding the government on its policies is the job of the opposition. Without it, policies will not be debated and scrutinized, and problems resulting from bad policies will become so deep-rooted that society will pay a heavy, long-term price for it (as described above).

Mr Qin may be surprised to note that the future of Singapore depends on more democracy, not less. It is incorrect to think that democracy will lead to bad and weak governments. It is not a coincidence that the worlds most prosperous and advanced countries are also the most democratic ones.

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