Ismail Kassim: New PAP Candidates Should Be Principled, Follow Lead Of S Dhanabalan

To the PAP new candidates, I extend my best Qi greetings. I am sure all of you are sincere, dedicated and think of nothing except to do your best to serve the people.

I like to say that I have no quarrel with any of you. My grouse is against your top party leadership and some of their policies on the key issues that will determine how we will develop as a nation.

For example, I am against abuses of the law to strike down against opponents, to destroy their lives and their families in the name of strengthening the government. The Amos Yee case comes to mind.

I am also against putting the glory of the nation above that of the welfare of the ordinary citizens.

What for become the world’s No 1 in this field and that field, when the majority of the people cannot join in the joy.

Many of you are from the best homes and come from the world’s greatest universities and left richly rewarding jobs in order to serve the people.

It is no secret that a select few among you will be groomed for the very top leadership, while others will be rewarded with lucrative appointments commensurate with their ability and talent.

You may all know it already, but there is no harm in being reminded that holding office has a corrupting, corroding influence.

Just look at the world around you. See how many idealistic and selfless leaders have succumbed to temptation once in office, more so if they overstayed.

There is no such thing as self-check. Without proper checks and balance institutions, power corrupts. Even the purest of steel will eventually become rusty.

It is only natural when you have a desirable post to want to hang on to it, and to hope to get a better, higher post. It’s only human nature.

But one can also try to resist; every office-holder has to decide for himself the price he is prepared to pay if a conflict arises with his principles or religious precepts.

It is better to draw your line now and make it firm than later, because it is tempting to change the goal posts, to extend the boundary and make it more accommodating. This is also human nature, reflecting the survival instinct in all of us.

In the PAP, there is the fine example set by Dhanabalan. He decided to leave the Cabinet after he would not in good conscience support the detention of the so-called Marxist conspiracy.

Even then it took him years to extricate himself from office, and even more years before the public hears of his deed.

Years later, two devout Christians opposed the Casino Bill in Parliament as it conflicted with their religious beliefs. But many other very religious MPs from all faiths opted to stifle their conscience.

People like Dhanabalan are a rare breed these days. Many office-holders here and elsewhere will put their posts right up the altar, above everything else.

If the crunch ever comes, you will have to decide whether you want to be a Dhanabalan or his opposite, and unless you have drawn a firm line earlier it will be all too easy to rationalise.


Source: Ismail Kassim

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