One of Singapore's best-known authors Catherine Lim, who is a frequent critic of the government, sparked controversy over the weekend when she said that she do not believe the ruling party People's Action Party (PAP) is capable of reinventing itself.
Speaking at socio-political blog The Online Citizen's (TOC) Awards Night, Ms. Lim was responding to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's speech at a PAP convention in November where he said that the PAP will reinvent itself to "build a new PAP for a new era". On the Singapore blogshere, most people seem to agree with Ms. Lim’s assessment.
In last year’s General Elections (GE), the PAP only got around 60% of the total votes and in the Presidential Election in August, Tony Tan (the PAP preferred candidate) won by only 2% of the votes. Everyone including the PAP knows that the PAP can’t do business as usual or their results will be even worse in the next GE.
I think the PAP will try to reinvent itself for one simple reason; it needs to! If it doesn’t, then they are fools and even the anti-PAP blogger in Singapore will admit that the PAP may be a lot of things but they are not stupid.
Of course the PAP may fail to reform but even if that’s the case, it won’t be due to lack of effort. Especially not when the directive comes from the PM himself! The reform will take time and it won’t be easy. However since the next GE is about 6 years away, there is more than enough time for the PM to put his mark on the party.
Time is on their side. With time and the acceptance of necessity, I would put money on the PAP managing to reinvent itself in time for the next GE. After all, history has shown that betting against the PAP is a losing proposition.