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Heng Swee Keat on why the ‘National Conversation’ committee did not include opposition politicians: It is not a ‘partisan exercise’

Posted by temasektimes on September 11, 2012

The ‘National Conversation’ committee spear-headed by the government has come under fire for not including opposition politicians, civil activists and prominent bloggers which make a mockery of the feeble attempt by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to ‘engage’ Singaporeans.

There are seven People’s Action Party political officeholders in the 26-member committee – including Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, and Senior Minister of State Lawrence Wong.

Responding to queries from the state media on the glaring omission, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who was asked by PM Lee to chair the committee said:

“This is not a partisan exercise….every Singaporean is welcome to provide their views, including members of the Opposition, and the committee will be happy to receive their feedback and ideas.”

Opposition leader Dr Chee Soon Juan who observed how a couple of ministers did not take up Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) offer to participate in its forums said:

“…the Government has never entered a conversation with us. Therefore, it cannot be for the SDP to state how it intends to participate (in the national conversation initiative).” 

Even the tame and timid Workers Party’s MPs, who are widely viewed as belonging to the PAP’s ‘B’ team, were not invited to sit on the committee.

Repeated attempts by the media to reach WP Chief Low Thia Kiang has been unsuccessful. It is not known if he is in Singapore as he has been ‘missing in action’ for a long time.


14 Responses to “Heng Swee Keat on why the ‘National Conversation’ committee did not include opposition politicians: It is not a ‘partisan exercise’”

  1. Sinkaypoh said

    Haha…sensitive questions will kena “arrow” like in his photo 🙂

  2. spotlessleopard said

    Hahahahahaha…It is not “National” it is PAP

  3. Lim said

    National Conversation:-Please stop changing rules of CPF. Your colleague Tan Chuan Jin just announced some which takes effect 1.1.2013. CPF must be very desperate – even non-blood related relatives like in-laws also can top up their CPF.

  4. Robox said

    The important questions for the PAP government’s national conversation committee to answer are these:

    1. If opposition politicians, particularly the non-elected ones – since the elected ones, except perhaps Lina Chiam (but only ever so slightly) are so useless because they cannot use the parliamentary platform afforded to them by voters – are ‘welcome’ to ‘provide their views’, and the ‘committee will be happy to receive their feedback and ideas’, how much credit will be VERY PUBLICLY acknowledged by this PAP committee about exactly what those contributions are, who provided them, and how much credit should be accorded to them?

    2. If the committee doesn’t make an explicit invitation to those opposition parties, but choose to merely treat them as ‘interested, but ORDINARY members of the public’ who – because of the numbers that might be involved – cannot possibly be given the credit that I am asking of the committee for those opposition parties’ representatives?

    If the above cannot be done by the committee, then what is there to stop me from accusing the PAP government as merely using this as an excuse to recover ground lost to the opposition?


    If that’s the case, this whole exercise is EXACTLY the electoral fraud that I am talking about.

  5. P Koh said

    If the opposition party is engaged then there is going to be arguments as to who has given the solutions to the problems. I believe that if this is a national issue, all citizens regardless of which party they belong to and even FTs or foreigners can chip in to provide their views. After all, whatever the outcome, it is meant to be for the common good of the country. Who can fault that.?

  6. animal farm said

    Rather than taking steps to reach out and score some brownie points, the PAP drew the boundries and caged themselves… a bunch of amaturish bookworms… and even lesser so effective policy makers….

  7. LOL said

    LTK is busy counting his $$$, no time for national issues.

  8. Kelvin Kwek said

    “This is not a partisan exercise”, this statement itself is partisan! It speak itself of the mindset of the PAP government! Playing partisan politics in a “National Conversation” that claimed to be inclusive of all views…What a contradictory statement in itself!

  9. Playfair said

    This is why the opposition parties cannot be bothered, nothing will come out of this National Conversation, it will be one way street controlled by the PAP Lords.
    What a waste of time?

  10. Jenny said

    “widely viewed as belonging to the PAP’s ‘B’ team” I think only some of the SDP supporters view the same way as u…Don’t be a sore loser, this will only make SDP look bad.

  11. welovesingapore said

    This national conversation is not national, productive and will not built trust. Why don’t they consider setting a referendum on immigration issue, wage shock proposal by ex nwc chair, education stress in preschool/primary/secondary school issue and poll it in a survey in CC in paper or online media for all citizen to submit compulsory. This outcome would be very accurate than those 3 to 4000 grassroot people in pap who only be yes man to their policy.

  12. cc chia said

    The PAP has finally let the cat out of the bag. The National Converstion thingey is just a wayang excercise to “manage the internet” and to placate angry Singaporeans. Nothing good (for Singaporeans) will come out of it.

  13. fpc said

    Low TK is busy serving his residents not selling books.

    Mod’s note:

    Heard LTK has been ‘MIAed’ for quite some time. Is he even in Singapore?

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