RONALD LEE: The Singapore government is mooting the idea of making the coming Presidential Election a one-race race. Its justification is that minorities must be given a leg up because the majority can be racist when picking our leaders. The government has been proven wrong.
This study done by Blackbox Research and commissioned by Yahoo earlier this month shows that 69 percent of 897 respondents, when it comes to choosing our next Prime Minister, would pick Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam. In case you didn’t know by now, Mr Tharman is a minority. He beat the whole possible Chinese contingent of contenders like DPM Teo and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. Not only that, he beat them resoundingly – Mr Tharman was favoured across different age groups and ethnicities, as well as socio-economic status.
Can the Singapore government still dare to make that claim that Singaporeans will vote along racial lines? By now, it should have figured out that we don’t. The Murali win in Bukit Batok over resurgent long-time politician Dr Chee Soon Juan was proof of that. Maybe it just wasn’t enough.
I don’t know about you, but I find it a grave insult that the government is telling me how I should cast my vote. First it kicks “meritocracy” out the window, then it tells me I’m not good enough to know left from right. Those people must be nuts.
What next? Is the government going to tell me that as a blue collar worker I’m not intelligent enough to cast my vote, so I will only be allowed to vote for certain people that it recommends? Or is it going to say that I’m not mature enough to cast my GE vote for a minority in an SMC, and hence dictate the number of SMCs that can only have minority candidates? Utterly foul and disgusting, such a thought, but possible in theory.
The government has consistently denied that the whole “raise the PE eligibility criteria and restrict the race to minorities only” is not their version of the great “Tan Cheng Block”. Even as Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam seemingly with glee fingered Dr Tan and said he doesn’t qualify. Even if there wasn’t any conspiracy, the whole sequence of events certainly reeks of one.
I have the feeling that it’s the government leaders themselves who aren’t able to look beyond race, whether it’s the presidential race or the colour of our multi-racial social fabric. Still, it isn’t right to demean Singaporeans by making it look like we can’t.