My letter published in TODAY
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Democracy a question of maturity?
I REFER to “Adversarial two-party system not for Singapore” (Nov 17).
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was quoted to have commented on the United States presidential election: “The opposition party campaigns on the message of ‘change’: Change, change, change. Never mind change to what — just change ... The new government comes in on that message and then they start to think change to what.”
I believe political leaders should not assert that an adversarial two-party system will not work for nations big or small.
The very preaching in favour of a one-party system contradicts the basic principles and the real beauty of democracy — that such a decision should be left to a politically-mature electorate to decide.
The same applies to political change.
The more important issue is whether the electorate is politically educated, mature and motivated to decide on whether they would want a two-party system and other political change. If the electorate is not ready to decide on this, it undermines the democratic system the political leader governs.
The electorate should be educated to decide on whether they want a two-party system and other political change, and not to get rid of it for the sake of supporting a modified one-party system, even if the latter is sure to succeed.
In this lies the beauty of the system of democracy. I cannot be sure if our political system and electorate match the maturity of the US adversarial two-party system.