IMO, all issues and policies should be properly debated and voted on without the whip.
Aren’t the PAP concerned at all about its own image and standing, and that of its MPs? In the eyes of voters it is a grand farce when the party whip insists that every govt MP must vote ‘in favour’ of a policy or law even when it is against their own better judgement, voiced out during the debate.
What is to stop a profligate cabinet from passing bad laws or policies using the whip?
It is in fact compulsory groupthink.
When you have a policy or proposal which is sound, which MP worthy of his election would object? Allowing MPs to vote according to their own conscience would speak to voters which MP is doing his or her job properly, and thus worthy of consideration for re-election when the time comes.
When an approved policy went into effect and the impact – good or bad – is felt by the people, they should be aware of the part played by their respective MPs in it and give credit or otherwise where it is due. It speaks volumes to voters about their calibre, judgement call and dedication. Do you want people to vote wisely, to vote in politicians who are worthy of the MP title? Or, do you want group thinkers and camp followers who are in it only for the ‘fame, fortune and title’?
With the whip, few govt MPs would really bother to examine an issue or proposal properly or seriously, except for the opposition. For PAP MPs the mindset would be thus: why waste time and expend mental energies when the end result has already been decided?
This is the familiar refrain and replay in parliament that Singaporeans have been witnessing with disgust, ad nauseam, far too often, for far too long. A consensus must be real or it’s not worth the paper its printed on. Laws passed with the whip serves only cosmetic purpose for the Hansard.
Without the whip, govt MPs would be on their toes. It would be a sure cure for the widespread govt MP absenteeism during debate and augurs well for govt parliamentarians to be ‘real- time’ (as opposed to part-time) parliamentarians who are not merely seat-fillers or part of a supporting contingent (a familiar SAF reference to servicemen who are present merely to make up the required numbers or to window-dress an occasion or event).
IN TODAY’S CONTEXT, THERE IS EVERY REASON TO LIFT, OR BETTER, TO ABOLISH THE WHIP ENTIRELY AND RECOGNIZE IT FOR WHAT IT IS – AN ANACHRONISTIC WAY TO PASS POLICIES OR MAKE LAWS IN PARLIAMENT.
N.B. The author has no affiliation with any political party. He was an admirer of the PAP until it became evident that it has changed beyond recognition and no longer bear any semblance to the party that he had originally once admired. He feels it his duty to point out that the country is going down the drain if current trends continue unarrested