Thursday, May 05, 2011

New compact or script doubtful

Many people have welcomed the Prime Minister's recent speech. Cherian George has written about a new compact. Patrick Daniel, a key leader of a press corps fiercely loyal to the ruling party, has said: "Whatever the (election) result, this is the starting point of a new script."

I am not as hopeful. The Prime Minister made similar remarks to the Harvard Club in the period leading to his ascendancy, and the fruits of that speech are there for all to see today.

What we have is a divided ruling party. Some of its leaders fortunately remain true to the ideals of its founding fathers. Unfortunately, there are also some others more determined to preserve their own legacies.

The frustration, resentment and anger of the electorate has come as a shock to the ruling party leadership. It is even more disturbing that the ruling party, which is known to have a good sense of the ground, did not see this coming.

There are many factors attributable to this. Many are quick to point to the arrogance of some of our leaders.

However, I think it has more to do with a deterioration of the institutions that the ruling party relied on once to get a sense of the ground.

I will touch on the destruction of one such institution. The current Prime Minister inherited from his predecessor an Executive that had built itself up on the principles of consultative leadership.

One such institution was the Feedback Unit, which used to conduct regular feedback sessions on a range of issues with individuals drawn from across society. Today, that institution has been renamed Reach but, as the negative sentiment against the current leadership shows, the only remarkable thing about this institution is its lack of reach.

I know of several persons who were once active in this institution and who are now active in supporting leaders from opposition. They tell me we now have a government that is only told the things it would like to hear rather than the things it should be told.

Such deterioration is not limited to this institution.

As a result, we see more former disgruntled public servants coming out to openly disagree with the ruling party leadership.

The fact that the man some would like to see as the next President of Singapore, George Yeo, has had to come out and say he wants to be a voice of youths is perhaps testament to the track record, if any, of the Minister appointed to deal with such youth issues.

The ruling party cannot be blamed for this deterioration. The voter that returns the ruling party with a hegemonic prominence in Parliament must bear this burden of a leadership that is out of touch.

Dharmendra Yadav

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Old habits die hard and change just would not happen automatically. Else everyone can quit smoking at first try and Gyms would be full everyday!

Awareness of need to change is the first positive step though.