RONALD LEE: Singapore prides itself on being a highly meritocratic nation, and many here often mock our next-door neighbours for perceived rampant cronyism in the echelons of government.
Then, Malaysia came up with P Prabakaran.
The 22-year-old law student, elected last night in Batu is an independent candidate and Malaysia’s youngest parliamentarian.
In Singapore, he would barely have completed full-time national service.
Prabakaran, in a 4-cornered fight, beat candidates from established political parties BN and PAS (and another independent candidate),
He’s an Indian in a Malay-majority country.
Back in Singapore, we had a presidential election where barriers to entry were raised months before the polls, an election reserved for one race of candidates only, and 2 candidates who were successful businessmen disqualified.
As a result, we wound up with a former civil servant, Halimah Yacob, winning the presidential race in a walkover.
Madam President, and our prime minister, called the walkover win a triumph of meritocracy and multiracialism.
You might have thought for a moment that they were referring to Prabakaran’s win.