Sunday, March 30, 2008

Retiring Hong Kong politician criticises Singapore's democracy

Yesterday, 《联合早报》/Lianhe Zaobao (LHZB) featured a report on the announcement by Mr. Martin Lee, a veteran politician in Hong Kong and the founding chairman of the Democratic Party (a pro-democracy party in Hong Kong), that he will not be running for a seat in the Legislative Council during the next elections.

Interestingly enough, the report actually included remarks, targeted at Singaporean politics, by Mr. Lee.

These remarks were:







"With regards to the future development of democracy in Hong Kong, Mr. Martin Lee emphasised during the press conference that one cannot be afraid to lose during democratic elections. 'In Singaporean elections, the PAP would not lose; it is the same for elections by the Communist Party. There must be victors and losers in elections. I, Martin Lee, can accept losing".

He added: "On the surface, Singapore has democratic elections. And everytime during elections, the governing party would not win all the seats. They will lose two seats. These two seats are lost to the opposition so that they can tell the US (that Singapore has democracy). They actually can control it so well".

According to Mr. Lee, the reason why Beijing likes Singapore so much is because the outcome is known even before elections. 'There is no freedom in Singapore, no press freedom, no independent and criticial thinking. The national/patriotic education curently implemented in Hong Kong is 'brain-washing'. This is very dangerous as it will cause young people to lose their ability to think independently and critically, just like in Singapore; how will they then be able to invent or create anything!"

Mr. Lee strongly criticised Singaporean democracy, saying: 'Singapore messed around with the software. For example, if the electorate (in a certain constituency) do not vote for the governing party, bus services will consequently not enter the area. (note by LHZB's editor: this is not congruent with the truth)

He does not wish that Hong Kong will follow the path of Singapore."


James Ng said...

I am one of those who seats in the middle of the fence when it comes to denouncing the mechanisms of the PAP. Mind you, I am neither pro nor con PAP.

Yet my view is that such control is possible only because despite the minute grudges that we have - such as the ERPs, moderate bread and butter issues, and yes 'controlled' freedom of speech - do not suffice to establish substantial ire.

To condemn the actions of a political party just because of such above-mentioned nit-pickings will only serve to demonstrate the myopia of an immature republic.

In short, what I have to say is that despite the flaws that are present, there is not enough case to lambaste the incumbent's efficacy. The only purpose that a democracy serves in Singapore is that to keep the incumbent in check.

After all, what is more important than a freedom of speech is the hindsight to appreciate what are the ills of such freedom.

Anonymous said...

Mr Martin Lee is free to shoot off his remarks at another country, post-retirement. How safe. It is better he reserves and contributes his remarks for Hong Kong.

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