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吴作栋在后港讲话

26/07/08

来源: http://www.pmo.gov.sg/
News/Speeches/Senior+Minister/
Speech+by+SM+Goh+at+Hougang
+National+Day+Dinner.htm

国务资政吴作栋在后港国庆晚宴上华语讲话全文
日期:2008年7月26日

1. 当我和后港的朋友和基层领袖见面时,总会感到非常高兴。在座的各位经历了多场选战。虽然我们没有从反对党的手中夺回后港,但是大家不屈不挠的精神和奋战到 底的决心,却是显而易见的。更重要的是,大家没有放弃,还是留在后港为这里的居民服务。在此,我代表人民行动党对各位的贡献、支持和努力,表示万二分的谢 意。

2. 我们还说不准,会不会在下一届大选夺回后港。不过,我们可以肯定,这是迟早的问题。我们可以等。我们要有耐心。让我们继续努力耕耘,真心诚意为后港的居民 服务,赢取他们的信心。后港的居民都知道,政府的许多政策,让他们受惠。他们也知道,他们有一个好政府。不过,他们当中也有不少人认为,国会中应该有反对 党来监督行动党。

3. 在后港,刘程强先生负责管理后港市镇理事会。我建议大家扮演有效的反对党角色。例如,大家可以审查市镇理事会的常年帐目,确保理事会善用资金。大家也不妨 查一查,杂费方面的欠款是否过多,如果区内的维修情况不理想,或者打扫得不干净,大家可以向市镇理事会和居民反映这些问题。

4. 在国会,刘程强先生曾经说过,身为反对党,他的工作只是发问问题和制衡人民行动党,而不是提供解决问题的办法。在我看来,这种观点是相当狭隘的。除非我们 的反对党有一个替代的思想意识;除非它们对新加坡所面对的挑战有更好的解决方案,不然它们无法为新加坡人提供一个真正的选择。

5. 批评政府的政策是不需要任何特别才能的。你只要进入任何互联网论坛,就可以看到批评政府政策的各种言论。但是,这些批评当中,有多少提供行得通的解决方 案?每项政策都会带来好处,但是也会有不受欢迎的副作用,就像药物一样,能治病,但也有副作用。只放大“坏处”而不顾整体的“好处”是不能解决问题的。要 鉴定一个政策的好坏,主要看它是否改善了人们的生活。工人党或许只想继续当个反对党。如果是这样,我当然没有反对的理由。

6. 新加坡之所以取得成功是因为我们是一个务实的国家。我们的政治不像其他国家那样紧张刺激。幸亏如此。我们不需要政变,不需要街头示威、抹黑或搞阴谋,甚至 在国会中上演群殴的闹剧,来使我们的生活多姿多彩。我们要的,是政治稳定和秩序给我们带来的最佳环境,以吸引投资,制造就业机会,还有投入资源照顾人民, 让他们过充实和舒适的生活。以共识来解决问题的政治文化,固然不比对抗性的政治来得紧张刺激,但是,这样的政治却带给了我们更好的生活。最重要的是,身为 领袖,我们必须照顾人民的利益,而不是自身个人的利益。我们必须做出成绩,让国人过更好的日子。这是我们确保新加坡持续取得成功的秘诀,也是我们最终要赢 回后港的秘诀。

7. 现在让我用英语继续演讲。

Strengthening our Unique Political System

1. I am always happy to meet my friends and grassroots leaders from Hougang. You are battle-scarred. While we have not succeeded in winning back Hougang, you have shown courage and determination to do so. More importantly, you have not given up. You have continued to serve the residents of Hougang. On behalf of the PAP, I thank all of you for your dedication, support and hard work.

2. We may or may not win back Hougang in the next election. But sooner or later, we will. We can wait. Let us be patient. Meanwhile, continue to stay close to the people and win their hearts. The Hougang people know that they have benefited from government policies. They know that they have a good government. But many of them also think that there should be an opposition to keep the PAP on their toes.

3. In Hougang, let us keep Mr Low Thia Khiang on his toes. He is responsible for running the Hougang Town council. But unlike Parliament, town councils do not have open meetings where members from other political parties can question their performance. So, in Hougang, you have to be creative to be an effective opposition. Amongst the things you can do, I suggest you study the annual accounts of the town council to ensure that the funds are properly used. Check whether the arrears for S & C charges are piling up, and eating into their reserves. Make sure that enough money is put aside for cyclical maintenance. In your walkabouts, check on the estate maintenance. If Mr Low has done a good job, give him credit for it. If there are deficiencies, point them out to the residents. In short, play the role of an effective opposition in Hougang.

4. In Parliament, Mr Low Thia Khiang had said that his job as Opposition is just to ask questions and check the PAP, not to offer solutions to problems. To me, that is a rather narrow view of the role of an Opposition. All serious political parties everywhere aspire to form the government so that they can realise their vision for the country. Unless our opposition political parties have that aspiration, even if it is for the long term; unless they have an alternative ideology; unless they have a solution on the challenges facing Singapore, they are not offering Singaporeans a real choice. They cannot be taken seriously. It does not require any special talent to merely criticise government policies. Go to any on-line discussion forum and you will understand what I mean. Like medicine, every policy has its benefits and side effects. There is no point just highlighting the downsides without understanding the purpose of taking the medicine and weighing the overall benefits. The key test of the efficacy of any medicine is whether it makes you feel better eventually, not its short-term side effects. Likewise, the key test of any policy is whether it makes the lives of most Singaporeans better, not its side effects.

5. But it is fine with me if the Workers Party’s ambition is only to be in opposition. That is in fact a compliment to the PAP. It is an acknowledgement that those who vote for them want them only in the opposition, not to form the government. These same people want to leave the important task of governing to the PAP. In other words, they want to have their cake and eat it.

6. We acknowledge and recognise this simultaneous desire to have a strong government and an opposition voice in Parliament. Singaporeans want to see an issue debated before implementation. They want to ensure that their individual concerns and suggestions have been expressed, considered and carefully weighed, even if they cannot all be accommodated. This is understandable, and indeed, desirable.

7. There are already many platforms for people to express their views – the newspapers, TV, the new media, blogs, dialogue sessions, seminars, REACH – the feedback unit, and Speakers’ Corner. But the most important platform is Parliament. That is where government policies are debated and legislation passed. Therefore, we have evolved a political system which seeks to accommodate the twin desires of the electorate to have a good government and an opposition voice, and yet mitigate the risks of freak election results or political instability. This is our unique political system.

8. Since we lost the Anson by-election in 1981, the opposition strength has ranged from one elected MP to four. It is now two and has been so in the last two elections. Since the opposition could not gain strength and the PAP remains dominant, some people, especially liberal Westerners, have alleged that there is no democracy in Singapore. They are wrong.

9. We should not really be surprised that the ruling party has such a large share of seats. Unlike other larger countries with rural and urban populations, poor and rich areas, and separate ethnic enclaves, we are small and have relatively similar constituencies. Although we have 14 GRCs and 9 SMCs, they are more or less alike in population profile and housing characteristics. By policy and design, every public housing estate has a multi-racial population. It has its share of poorer Singaporeans living in smaller 2 or 3-room flats and better off Singaporeans in 5-room or executive apartments. Because the voter profiles are similar, so are their attitudes towards the government and their reaction to policies. Singapore is, therefore, like one big constituency. Hence, in a first-past-the-post Westminster system of democracy, it must be that any party that wins, wins big. If the PAP fails to perform or if it loses the trust of the people, it will also suddenly lose big. That is why the PAP government has never taken its large majority in Parliament for granted, and has always responded robustly to any allegations of impropriety.

10. The PAP is not afraid of views different from its own. In fact, we welcome a diversity of views in a debate before a decision is taken. We do that all the time with the PAP MPs and in Cabinet. We do that with Party members and grassroots leaders. We have regular dialogues with students and other interest groups. We consult, listen to alternative views and then decide what in our judgement is in the best overall interest of Singaporeans.

11. We have also introduced the NCMP scheme in 1984 and the NMP scheme in 1990 to have divergent views and opposition views aired in Parliament. The NCMP scheme is to ensure that there would always be a minimum number of opposition members in Parliament. At present, we have capped it at three although we can go up to six. The NMP scheme is to bring in people who do not want to take part in direct political elections but who have strong views or special expertise on specific subjects. Both schemes have proven to be useful in ensuring that issues are thoroughly debated from different political standpoints.

12. This, of course, does not make ours a Western-style liberal democracy, and we have never claimed it to be. But it has worked for us. It has given us a good and effective government, political stability and progress. It has facilitated honest and competent people who ordinarily would not want to be in the thick of politics to come forward and participate in the political arena.

13. But as our society evolves and the needs of the electorate change, our political system must continue to move in step. The status quo cannot last forever. But whatever the refinements we may make to our political system down the road, some core principles must remain unchanged: one, any changes must be fair to all parties and give them an equal chance to contest and win; two, they must not lead to democratic chaos and politics of division; and three, they must not put Singapore’s unity and harmony, growth and prosperity and long-term interests at risk. Ideally, our political system should facilitate the emergence of a strong, effective government after every election and a responsible, constructive opposition. But no matter how you design it, there is no guarantee because it depends on whether good, honest and competent people come forward to stand for elections and the wisdom of the electorate when they cast their ballot. So our primary task before the next election is to look for good candidates. I hope the opposition will do likewise. Then the voters will be given a real choice.

14. The experience of democracies elsewhere shows us that we cannot take an honest and effective Parliament for granted. Taiwan’s democracy is more liberal than ours. But it has divided the society. Taiwanese political commentator Nan Fangshuo said in a recent speech published in ZaoBao that theirs is a politics of hatred, not consensus. He said that in Taiwan, politicians do not lead but merely put up a show. And the stronger and more extreme a politician’s language, the more attention he would get. We often see Taiwanese politicians engaging in fist-fights in their legislature or playing up divisive issues for political purposes. Even their women politicians get involved in scuffles to show that they are just as tough. In Singapore, the PAP tries to foster the politics of consensus instead of confrontation.

15. In India, the world’s largest democracy, several criminals have been elected into Parliament and some are serving jail terms, including one convicted murderer who is waiting for his appeal to be heard. But recently, they were brought out to vote because a confidence motion on the government was hanging in the balance. They were of course then returned to jail. But can you imagine MPs with criminal records holding the future of Singapore in their hands?

16. Singapore has succeeded because we are a practical people. Our politics is not as exciting as those in other countries and I say, “Thank goodness for that”. We do not need coups, demonstrations in the streets, people power, plots and conspiracies, wild allegations and uncalled for defamatory remarks to make our politics exciting. We face enough challenges in our lives already. What we need is a stable environment to attract investments, create jobs, and produce the resources to invest in our people. When you have the skills and means, you can choose to live a full and interesting life any way you want it.

17. As we celebrate our 43rd National Day, let us reflect on the journey here and the unknown road ahead. How did we succeed and do we continue to grow and prosper? Of all the factors which determine our future, I would say the most decisive are our political culture of putting the interest of the people above that of personal interest and our system of inducting the best talents into our political leadership. This is easily said, but rarely found. So remember, we must continue to produce results which make people’s lives better. And we must never lose their trust. This is our recipe for the continued success of Singapore. That is why I am confident of eventually winning Hougang back.

18. Have a happy National Day!

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分类题材: 政治_politics , 人物_biogphy

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