Speaking at a public forum held at Singapore Management University (SMU), right-wing cronies of the ruling party government told the audience that the government need more naysayers and critics to “think the unthinkable”. Attending the forum were state media editor for Straits Times, Han Fook Kwang, ambassador Tommy Koh, Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) School dean Kishore Mahbubani and two right-wing academics, who wax lyrical about slaying scared cows and having “alternative views”.
A key ally and crony of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who consistently pour praises for the dictator, school dean Kishore Mahbubani said:
“We need more naysayers. Singapore cannot take its formulas for success developed over the last 50 years and apply them to the next 50 years, as the world has changed drastically. We need to create new formulas, which you can’t until you attack and challenge every sacred cow. Then you can succeed.”
The floor went awkward when right-wing academic David Chan ironically poked fun at the panelists and Singaporeans saying:
“You talk so much to me but when the minister is present, in front of him, you’re absolutely silent. This habit stems partly from a fear of looking bad in front of others and of failing.”
Propaganda editor for Straits Times Han Fook Kwang however praises the government for being a victim of its “success”:
“Singapore became so successful in such a short time that its people became too risk-averse. For instance, policymakers are unwilling to take bigger risks with policies and fear that making major mistakes will cause Singapore to lose it all.”
Another right-wing academic, Prof Chan Heng Chee, who chairs the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities said:
“But it is in policies and leadership teams that Singapore needs people willing to challenge authority. more robust internal discussions on policies with a wider range of people from different backgrounds. We need naysayers in leadership teams who can think the unthinkable.”
Another key crony of Lee Kuan Yew, ambassador Tommy Koh, echoed the rest saying:
“When we appoint people to boards, we can also appoint challengers who are subversive and who have alternative points of view. That’s the kind of cultural change we want to see. It makes Singapore stronger, not weaker.”
The panelists made the hypocritical calls for more criticisms, but did not express their disapproval for media censorship, defamation lawsuits and the often-abused sedition and anti-harassment laws to be scrapped. Government critics in Singapore often face bankruptcy orders, jail sentences and fines without trial. The clamping down of dissent resulted in a massive echo chamber within the ruling party government, with the Prime Minister surrounded by cronies who are looking for promotions and perks like PAP MP Tin Pei Ling and her high-level civil servant husband who was promoted 4 times in 5 years.