Bullying At The Highest Level: Parliament

Last year in August, The Straits Times reported that Singapore has the third highest rate of bullying globally.  In the past week, when I watched the exchanges in Parliament concerning Ms Sylvia Lim from the Worker's Party and  Mr K Shanmugam, Mr Heng Swee Keat and most recently, Ms Grace Fu from the ruling Party. [It must also be noted, that the aforementioned members of the ruling Party are also members of the Cabinet, holding the appointments of Minister of Home Affairs and Law, Minister of Finance and Minister for Culture Community and Youth], all I saw was BULLYING.

Firstly, this article neither supports either party nor either politician. I felt that the Worker's Party response to the budget was immature. The Worker's Party chief found the GST Hike announcement a distraction. I, on the other hand,  applaud the Government for announcing it as soon as it did and not making it a shock increase, which it could have done. 

Secondly, Ms Lim's conspiracy theory that the Government had planned to increase GST immediately but held back only because  DPM Tharman and perhaps other leaders had stated that the Government has enough funds for the decade, was a complete waste of time. 

I would have been more impressed if the opposition had focused its questions on offering alternatives to a proposed GST hike. 

On the part of the members of the Cabinet, I had hoped that they could have handled the matter with more finesse. There is absolutely no need to hurl accusations at Ms Lim by calling her comments 'baseless suggestions' that were 'hypocritical and dishonest'  and asking her to apologise.  The duty remains with the Government to answer any query, doubt or suggestion regardless of the absurdity of the question.

In my humble opinion, the only time a Member of Parliament needs to apologise to the House is when they are not acting in the interests of the people they represent. In this case, it is not so. 

I cannot help but wonder why DPM Tharman himself has not responded. I am personally confident that he would have addressed Ms Lim's statement , dispelled it and accorded the respect her position deserves and we would have utilised  time in Parliament in a better fashion.
Respect and Fear are 2 different things. Nothing is more despicable than respect based on Fear.
I do understand the Members of the Government to protect itself from accusations. I do understand the need to ensure its integrity is never questioned. But these were neither. If anything at, the coffeeshops are rife with rumours and hearsays that actually affect the layman's perspective of our Government.

We do fear them. 70% of the people trust them. How many of us truly respect the Government? That is food for thought.

As a closing note, I choose to screenshot a candid response of a common man, Singaporean son, who could not have summed it better.  To all our Political Leaders, regardless of Party, let's remember our purpose. There are far more important issues that need to be addressed. Politics is Public Service at the highest level.  Majulah Singapura !!!

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