The People’s Action Party (PAP) called a press conference in the early evening of Nomination Day (1 September) which was chaired by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The 2015 General Election (GE) will see 89 seats being contested and marks first time since 1965 that all seats will be contested.
With the possibility of a higher number of opposition candidates being voted into Parliament, PM Lee said, “It’s the quality which counts. It’s not the numbers.”
Mouse in the House
PM Lee took no time to criticise the performance of opposition Members of Parliament (MP). He raised the example of how in 1955, the PAP only had three members (Lee Kuan Yew, Lim Chin Siong and Goh Chew Chua) elected to the legislative assembly, and how “they established such a reputation for themselves, especially Mr Lee Kuan Yew, that in 1959, they swept the general election and formed the Government.”
He contrasted the above example with how the last Parliament had 10 opposition MPs voted in after GE2011 and how their performance “frankly, has been disappointing”.
He said that opposition parties gave “fierce, rousing” speeches during election hustings but had low-key Parliament performances.
With that, he likened opposition MPs to mice:
“You voted for a tiger in the chamber and you got a mouse in the House … It’s one of these Frankenstein monsters… Every night, it turns into a tiger and every day, it turns into a mouse.”
He said that the opposition MPs remain quiet because should they raise the issues in Parliament that they fiercely do at rallies, “they will be pinned down and the fallacies and the insincerities and the untruths will be exposed”.
Singapore as a unicorn
“Singapore is like a unicorn. One of a kind, a special animal, no other in the world. It works well, has unique solutions. Will we remain a unicorn, special, or become just like everyone else? It is not at all inconceivable that we can become quite ordinary like any other country. This election will show which way we’re going. There’s a lot at stake. This is about the future”: PM Lee Hsien Loong. http://bit.ly/1UoKyXI #GE2015
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Tuesday, September 1, 2015
On the notion that opposition votes will pressure the incumbent Government to please people, PM Lee said that it reduces the relationship between the Government and people into a “game” – which will undermine the system that has allowed Singapore to become one of a kind and a “unicorn”.
PM Lee also cited a report by political risk consultancy Eurasia Group which described as a “unicorn”. According to the Straits Times, PM Lee said, “(We are a) one of a kind, miraculous animal. There’s no other unicorn in the world. And it works well, it has unique solutions and the rest of the world is not sure what to make of it.”
He added that the unicorn trait of Singapore is in how it uniquely tackles problems faced by many countries such as income inequality.
What is a Unicorn?
In Silicon Valley parlance, a unicorn is a private company (i.e. not a listed on a stock exchange) that has reached a valuation of US$1 billion. Which means to say the company is a rare breed.
By mythical definitions, a unicorn is a legendary animal with a spiraling horn protruding from its forehead. A white horse
scheme is commonly depicted as a unicorn in fantasy lore.
The most famous unicorn in pop culture is probably the one that was slain in the Harry Potter series. It was killed by the book’s antagonist Lord Voldemort in order to sustain his life:
“Only one who has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, would commit such a crime. The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something so pure and defenceless to save yourself, you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.” —Firenze to Harry Potter
The politics of slaying unicorns can certainly draw some parallels from the Harry Potter universe.
Top photo by Bernice Wong.