MAO, THE PAP, AND FLOWERS

April 6, 2002
Singapore Democrats

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“When I first came to this House in 1976, it was already a one-party Parliament. So, backbenchers were told to play the role of the opposition. But one MP told me that the call was similar to the words of Mao Zedong: Let a thousand flowers bloom … when flowers bloom, they get chopped.”
– MP Tan Soo Khoon, Straits Times, Apr 4 2002, calling for the lifting of Party Whip

“It is in the interest of the people for political parties to be disciplined … a party whose members are unable to maintain reasonable consensus on its policy positions will find it difficult to inspire confidence in, and get the support of, the voters.”
– PM Goh Chok Tong, Straits Times, Apr 6 2002, in article entitled “Not in people’s interest to lift the Whip”