Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Abstention

If you are a Member of Parliament (MP) from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), you can do no right! That seems to be the attitude of some people in Singapore if you look at the online reaction of some people to PAP MP, Mr. Inderjit Singh.

During the debate of the Population White Paper, several PAP MPs went up to talk of their opposition to the white paper but when push comes to shove, only one did not toe the party line and vote for it. The MP is question is Inderjit Singh who opposed the Population White Paper and walked out when the vote took place. His vote of abstention was noted and during an interview with the local newspaper, Lianhe Zaobao, he expressed the reasons for his non-vote.

Now the PAP is a party known for their strict party discipline. I can’t even remember the last time a PAP MP did not toe the party line, so I’m impressed with the courage and conviction shown by Mr. Singh. Unfortunately, it seems a lot of people are not. Some people have posted online that Mr. Singh’s abstention was nothing but political theater. These people in Singapore seem to think that an abstention means nothing.

These people are wrong. Or to be more exact; these people don’t know a good thing when it hit them on the head. The fact that there is a PAP MP who is willing to abstain from a vote is great news for the democracy of Singapore. This is a good thing and the last thing we need is to have MPs being flamed online for it.

One simple fact is that the Singapore opposition just does not have the numbers required to stop the white paper. Even if Mr. Singh voted “no”, it would not stop the paper from being passed. In fact with the 60+ advantage the PAP has in Parliament, it won’t even make a dent.

Yet despite knowing this, we have a PAP MP who was willing to take a public stand on the matter. That is great news for Singapore and any who thinks otherwise, who isn't a PAP supporter, need to have their head examined. 


Anonymous said...

Don't be naive. PAP is preparing Inderjit Singh for the Elected President appointment. They're thinking two steps ahead of the people and it's all a big wayang show.

Anonymous said...

zaobao did a feature interview with him. that should give a clue.

Anonymous said...

You appear not to understand the meaning of abstention. One abstains when one is present when the vote is called and does not vote aye or nay - like what Eugene Tan did. Inderjit was not in the chamber when the voting took place. He has refused to clarify whether he deliberately absented himself to avoid being asked for his vote except to say he was in Parliament House at the material time. You not only assumed he did but that he defied the Whip when he himself made no such statement.As you may well know part of the Whip`s job is to round up members who outside the chamber when the vote is called as presumably what happened recently when the WP pointed out the lack of a quorum when a vote was being taken.Did the Whip try to round him up and he defied him? You would be on better ground defending Inderjit had he abstained like Eugene Tan did. In any event should he not vote against the White Paper since he felt it was against the national interest? Sacrificing the national interest for fear of party discipline is not to be lauded.

Anonymous said...

suggest you watch the movie promise land by matt damian.

In the movie, the all powerful and wealthy energy company played both the good cop and bad cop in order to hookwink the people in the town to sell their land.

With the all powerful and wealthy authority , how much more it can do ?!

Food for thought.

Ghost said...

He walked out when the vote was called. What? That doesn't clarify enough for you? And no offence to Eugene Tan, but do you guys seriously believe a NMP is the same as an elected MP?
As for all the talk of hoodwinking the population; if the PAP want to do that, you seriously believe they would only sent 1 guy out? They could have sent 10 guys out during the vote and it would still pass handsomely.

Anonymous said...

Really, Iam surprised by your response. Is being absent when the vote was clled an abstention? What is the relevance of comparing Eugene Tan as an NMP with an elected MP in his discussion? As for your your assertion that Inderjit walked out when the vote was called what is your evidence of that? I suggest you re-read his facebook comments and the criticism of his conduct, both appearing in the TRE of 12 Feb.

Ghost said...

A NMP is NOT elected by the people of Singapore. A MP IS elected by the people of Singapore. That is a very important difference don't you think? if you think the actions of a NMP is equal to that of a MP; I'm sorry but you are in the minority in that.
As for Mr. Singh walking out; do you seriously believe the MPs have no idea when the vote was going to be called?