“Dr. Ng, who is in charge of the ruling party’s selection process, said: ‘Even us, ministers and Members of Parliament, came in with different views, which changed over time. We’re not monolithic, or unchanging’” (New PAP Faces Needn’t Share Its Views, Miss Reico Wong and Miss Victoria Baker).
The news report “New PAP Faces Needn’t Share Its Views” (March 31, 2011) by Miss Reico Wong and Miss Victoria Baker: Education Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen makes the astute observation that it is imperative for the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) new faces to voice their policy opinion, as well as to offer perspectives to further Singapore’s socio-economic conditions. The new election candidates introduced by the incumbent administration – in general – have respectable credentials and portfolios; nonetheless, throughout the past weeks, very little has been expounded by these individuals on national policy and substantive suggestions to move Singapore forward.
A politician’s curriculum vitae and background is important; pragmatically, a good education or academic history, complemented by productive work experience, would determine the candidate’s administrative capabilities, as well as intellectual and emotional capacities. To voters, on a fundamental basis, comprehending the plans or proposals these politicians have for the respective communities and areas is significantly more important. While concerns over upgrading and neighbourhood security et cetera might seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, the election hopefuls must show commitment to these worries. Furthermore, given that they have to play catch-up with their political counterparts who have walked the ground over the ears and kept an active engagement with the constituents, they must display a relentless effort to communicate.
Equally worrying is the deafening silence on policy issues; quite superficially, very little has been commented on policy recommendations or divisive national issues.
As future parliamentarians, politicians must be adept in micro and macro management; respectively, as they address bread-and-butter problems in their constituencies or wards, they must have the ability to air their views articulately, and provide constructive or substantial feedback on local challenges. The current attitudes towards these focuses have been considerably laissez-faire, which might give out the wrong impression that the PAP’s political candidates are more than happy to relish in the comforts of conservatism. Besides conveying these policy propositions through traditional press conferences or media outreaches, proper and clever usage of the Internet can yield platforms for the politicians to discuss the aforementioned. Such representation and virtual channels are crucial, as the electorate becomes more aware and empowered.
The demands on these candidates are multi-faceted and extremely demanding; but these performance indicators are necessary and beneficial. The election and campaigning process were never meant to be a bed of roses; the candidate must definitely learn to keep his feet firmly on the ground, and simultaneously engage in wider policy dialogues and conversations.
A version of this article was published in My Paper.