By international standards, our Parliament is less dramatic than some others, but the quality of our debate is high.
This week many government MPs have spoken, offering criticisms, seeking explanations, championing passionate causes. But they were not the only ones with something to say.
NMP Mr Kok Heng Leun spoke on how arts and culture can help bond and build resilience in our society, at a time of upheaval and uncertainty. (bit.ly/2mlFmOa)
As an economist, NMP Prof Randolph Tan is tracking our restructuring efforts closely. He pointed out that we already have many R&D personnel and industrial robots, for our size. Hence we need internationalisation to scale up, and to expand our economic space. (bit.ly/2m4VW1W)
NMP Mr Ganesh Rajaram’s childhood anecdote of his mother’s dignified response in the face of prejudice reminded us how we should behave and treat one another – with graciousness, empathy, and kindness. (bit.ly/2llMpGW)
These three NMPs exemplify the purpose of the Nominated MP scheme. They are not in politics, and would not otherwise have had a voice in Parliament. But they have brought their expertise and experience to bear, and enriched the public discourse.
Some opposition MPs made good speeches too. Mr Low Thia Kiang set out succinctly how the strategic landscape is changing, and how this challenges our foreign policy. He asked: how can we protect and advance the national interest of our multi-racial country? (bit.ly/2mnNde8)
It is natural that the government and opposition will have different political values, policies and programmes. But when it comes to foreign policy and international relations, all parties must share the same basic premises, and speak up for Singapore.
This is how Parliamentary democracy is supposed to work. Sometimes we fall short of this ideal, but in the case of these four speeches, we have not done badly.
You can click on the link below to watch the various speeches from the MPs and NMPs.
* Source: PM Lee’s Facebook page.