Is PAP in “decline and disintegration”?

In Economy, Malaysia, Political governance, Public Administration on 09/07/2018 at 2:08 pm

Seems that Abdullah Badawi had told an adviser after the premier was compelled to step down following the 2008 general election in which the UMNO-led BN’s margins of victory were badly dented:

In the nature of evolution, the former prime minister said, there were four phases in the rise and fall of states and entities: kesedaran (awareness), kebangkitan (emergence), kegemilangan (greatness) and kehancuran (decline and disintegration). When asked what phase he saw UMNO to be in then, Abdullah told the adviser: the last one  ̶  of decline and disintegration. It would take another decade, or two more general elections coinciding with the premiership of his successor, Najib Razak, before this prognosis proved to be an indisputable fact.

I’m sure the anti-PAP cybernuts will say that the PAP is in the “decline and disintegration” phase, but they have been saying this since cyberspace became polluted by their presence in the mid noughties. And they were saying it post 1959 when they lived in the gutters, drains and toilets of brothels.

Me? I think that Badawi is wrong about four phases: There’s a “stagnation” phase between “greatness” and “decline and disintegration”.

Harry was pretty shrewd to pass the baton to his son and GCT in 1990. By then, the PAP had entered the “stagnation” phase what with Harry getting progressively getting rid of his Old Guard in the name of leadership renewal.

Think of the flawed policies of the teams led by GCT and Harry’s son, and then Harry’s son alone: “asset enhancement”, “FTs by the cattle truck load”, the failures in the public transport system and the many restructuring plans (Economic restructuring: This time, it’s really different). I mean why the need for so many since the 1980s? LHL must have drawn up a really bad plan in the 1980s for there to be a need of so many followup plans?

And he’s now PM, what? Meritocracy? What Meritocracy?

Meritocracy? What meritocracy?

Why PAP doesn’t do accountability, meritocracy

We are still in that phase. As for M’sia, it entered that phase with the arrest of Anwar and continued until the day after the 2008 general election. But of course, Badawi wouldn’t admit that he presided over the stagnation that would lead to decline.

The PAP will enter the “decline and disintegration” phase when like the BN it cocks up so badly that it loses its two-thirds parly majority (BN lost this in 2008). Until then dream on cybernuts. Or should it be wank on, what?

After all, in the coming GE. WP is expected to lose Aljunied GRC: How to ensure no GST rise. It’ll then only have fortress Hougang. As for the SDP, so long as S’poreans don’t want to get rabies, it’ll be unelectable. The later Mad Dog Chee realises this, the happier the PAP will be.

  1. several major PAP blunders started in 1984 during the election campaign of that year

    1. elected president: LKY had already reached 60 by that year, and this was then the public sector retirement age; so he had to face the question whether he was stepping down; the thinking at the time was to move to the presidency – under the then constitution, parliament would decide; he being who he is, the position would not be merely ceremonial, but it must be his legal background that made him uncomfortable, and a decision was made to enhance the position; the resulting controversy led to his undertaking not to be the first elected president, Goh Chok Tong’s decision to invent the post of Senior Minister to keep LKY in the cabinet, the elected president Ong Teng Chong’s conflict with cabinet, regular embarrassment about a 3-men committee rejecting candidates causing a no contest, etc

    LKY could have just retired in 1990, started a newspaper column (modern idea would be blog), a charity/research foundation, a senate, and he would have remained the most influential person in the country, taking into consideration his son and his 2nd cousin were both in cabinet; it was quite unnecessary for him to feel insecure about his own place in singapore society even if he held no elected office; if he had been a blogger posting articles daily, every important person in singapore, the cabinet ministers especially, would have eagerly read them as soon as they were posted

    2. HDB asset enhancement: during the campaign LKY got annoyed by opposition claiming “your HDB apartmen is on 99-year lease; you dont really own it”, and announced “HDB will stop building in opposition districts”; at the time I actually did not understand why that should cause anyone to worry; but the Northeast MRT line provided part of the explanation – no population increase, no new infrastructure; the Mathias Yao–Chee Soon Juan Straits Times Forum series of letters provided some more – poor infrastructure, lower HDB value; with HDB apartments traded on the open market (previous owners are allowed to go back and buy a new apartment from HDB after 5 years).. Soon Permanent Residents, who are not entitled to buy from HDB, buying on the open market caused the HDB asset values to rise beyond affordability

    3. CPF: with people living longer, the idea of delaying CPF money return was raised in 1984 and initial reaction was negative; again LKY was annoyed; soon the idea of minimum sum was adopted, later compulsory annuity, which would have been workable if most people can still get a substantial part out in cash at 55; with the weak salary increases in the past decade or so (partly because of foreign labour, e.g., IT used to have highest paid new graduates, before the industry bought in PRCs and Indians) and low interest rate, more and more people found themselves not meeting the minimum sum requirement, and every increase in minimum sum value makes more people angry


    much of PAP’s recent electoral adversity was self inflicted; the major examples I recall

    1. James Gomez case 2006: LKY, Wong Kan Seng and George Yeo spent far too much time talking about a minor issue (LHL and GCT both kept quiet – they could afford to); the Aljunied voters punished George Yeo, and WP identified the electorate as vulnerable, put effort into the ground work and won it decisively in 2011

    2. Tin Pei Lin case 2011: it was sound strategy to find some younger, especially female, faces, but the party should have made the effort to find someone with a track record as a political operator in her own right, not just a polished presenter with management consultancy experience recommended by a personal connection; I also believe if they introduced her at the end, after people have grown bored with all those familiar CVs of civil servants, generals, professionals, executives, etc, she might have enjoyed a better reception, so they botched the presentation in addition to selection

    3. Joo Chiat case 2011: it was also sound strategy to replace old by young, but Charles Chong is older than Chen Soo Sen so the change could not be justified on that ground; Chen also enjoyed certain personal support which did not readily transfer via party loyalty; Workers Party ended with nearly 50%

    4. Hougang case 2012: Teo Chee Hean dwelt far too long on Yaw Shin Leong’s personal and business failings, which Yaw’s former supporters preferred not to be reminded of, whereas upbeat talks about the wonderful things PAP would do for Hougang if elected, might have more fully exploited the unexpected opportunity; after the Hougang moralizing, the Palmer case was a particularly hard blow – PAP candidates are like anyone else

    whether the party would learn from these mistakes, and whether it would make new ones in 2016, is of course to be seen; given the resources available; it certainly has the potential of doing much better

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