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危机破坏了新加坡庆典

13/02/09

作者:John Burton 日期:12-2-2009 新加坡文献馆译

近日在新加坡一名备受精神困扰的男人在社区活动时纵火烧伤他的选区里的国会议员,一个本地网站的民意调查询问读者在这一起事故中谁应得到同情。以4比1的差额,读者们是更加同情于攻击者。

这一事端表示了社会里充满了人民对人民行动党政府的潜在不满暗流。当人民行动党在今年庆祝执政50周年的同时,新加坡正面临战后以来的最严重经济萧条,而经济将会萎缩5个百分点。

人民行动党政府是亚洲里最牢固政权之一。新加坡一党专政是中国,苏联和海湾国家的样板。他们的领导人‘从其中挑选点子’学习新加坡如何‘把握政权,严峻执行纪律,诚实与有效率’李光耀如是说。

然而,新加坡的政治制度在经济危机中,正面对自1965年以来的一个最严谨考验。一名驻新加坡的政治分析员认为‘政府官员显得对公众的反应感到害怕,我在这之前从来没有看到过他们对公众会如此的关切’。

经济下滑的结果将会揭露新加坡的内在脆弱性,包括贫富阶级的差距和高度依赖外来投资以维持经济增长。

经济衰退巧遇关键性的挑战时刻,新加坡正在寻找新的生产制造业以取代下滑中的电子工业。新加坡正大胆尝试成为亚洲的摩纳哥,以私人银行与赌博业来带动经济增长。

人民行动党政权是建基于默认的社会契约;以社会繁荣换取政治自由。人民行动党坚持专制政治因为自由民主在一个多元种族人口的新加坡会带来华人,马来人与印度人之间的割离。

李显龙总理,李光耀的儿子在最近就曾赞扬一党专政有利促进行政效率和制订正确政策,並因而突出了失常的亚洲民主政权模式,如台湾所面对的经济困难,两极化政治和广泛的贪官污吏。

‘我想你们是不会要在新加坡施行这种模式的政治制度’,李显龙在人民行动党的一个党会议上如是说。

新加坡东南亚研究所的一名学者认为:政治秩序和经济稳定需要同步,但人民日益的意识到,包括人民行动党本身在内,这种情况将不会持续如此’。

这名学者指出人民行动党已经和社会脱节不了解人民疾苦。

在去年11月份,新加坡宣布将会在2009年把政府高级官员的薪金削减19个百分点,以回应经济减缓的实况。

政府也在最近宣布将进一步强化已经处于非常严格管制的公众集会法令,以规范并防止非暴力反抗行为。但是公民意识活动正在日益蓬勃发展,而政府也面对在网络言论上的民间监督与日益增加的批评。

一名外商说,政府在投资花旗和美林的240亿元亏损使不满情况更为恶化。这个危机让执政者不得不正面的对待现实。

政府官员期待最近宣布的205亿元刺激经济救市措施能消除人民的疑虑。

一名经济顾问认为新加坡政府的支持率还是相当的强,特别是和其邻近国家的政府相比之下,如马来西亚和泰国就面对贪污和管理不当的问题。

他说:‘人民不会在经济大风暴当中摇晃小舟,他们会支持政府,因为这个政府持有经济增长和政治安定的业绩’。

但是政府的支持程度要面对一个不稳定的变数。有3分之1的新加坡人口投反对人民行动党的反对票,他们无视反对党的势力单薄。政府必须在2011年11月之前举行大选。执政者或许会在今年提前选举,如果官员担忧经济不会在未来的两年内复苏,而公众的愤怒不满则会变得更为强烈。

人民行动党应该会持续执政,但它的恶梦是会失掉1个或多个的有5名或6名议员的集选区。集选区是新加坡国会选举制度的主要架构。选民用一张选票选择一组国会议员。反对党在目前国会的84个议席只占有2个议席。然而,他们现在也许有可能突破40年来的局面从而赢得更多的国会议席。

一名本地的政治分析员认为‘失去1个集选区对人民行动党有着很大的心理冲击,这会鼓励更多的新加坡人参加反对党’。

Crisis spoils Singapore celebrations

Thursday, 12 February 2009
John Burton
Financial Times

When an apparently deranged man in Singapore set fire to his parliamentary representative at a community event recently, a local website polled its readers to ask which of them deserved more sympathy. By a four-to-one margin, the readers voted for the assailant.

The episode appears to reflect an undercurrent of public discontent with the People’s Action party (PAP) government, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in power this year, as Singapore confronts its worst postwar recession, with the economy expected to contract by up to 5 per cent.

The PAP government has long been one of Asia’s most secure. Singapore’s dominant one-party system has set an example for countries such as China, Russia and the Gulf states. Their leaders “are picking up points here and there” about how Singapore can “keep its ruling party in place and, honest and effective”, says Lee Kuan Yew, the city state’s founding father.

But the economic crisis is putting Singapore’s political system to its severest test since independence in 1965. “Officials appear scared about the public reaction. I’ve never seen them so concerned before,” said a Singapore-based regional political analyst.

The economic downturn threatens to expose some of Singapore’s vulnerabilities, including a wide gap between rich and poor and a heavy dependence on foreign investment for growth.

The recession also comes at a challenging time, when the city state must find new manufacturing industries to replace the declining electronics sector and as it embarks on an ambitious plan to become the Monaco of Asia, with private banking and gambling as growth sectors.

The PAP has stayed in power because of an implicit social bargain that it would deliver prosperity in return for restrictions on political freedoms. It has justified its strong rule by saying that liberal democracy could prove divisive in a multi-ethnic society such as Singapore, with its ethnic Chinese, Malay and Indian populations.

Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister and son of Lee Kuan Yew, recently praised one-party rule for promoting administrative efficiency and good policymaking, compared with malfunctioning” Asian democracies such as Taiwan, with a troubled economy, polarised politics and widespread corruption.

“I don’t think you want that kind of political system in Singapore,” he told the annual PAP congress.

Terence Chong, of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, says: “Political order and economic stability may go hand in hand, but there is increasing awareness, even within the PAP, that that may no longer work.”

He points to a feeling that the PAP is “out of touch with the general suffering”.

In November, Singapore said it would cut the 2009 salaries of senior government officials by up to 19 per cent in response to the slowing economy.

The government also said recently that it would tighten already strict rules on public assemblies to prevent acts of civil disobedience. But civil activism is growing, and the government is coming under increased scrutiny and criticism on the internet.“
The government hasn’t helped matters by losing billions of dollars by investing in Citigroup and Merrill Lynch,” says a foreign businessman, referring to the $24bn (€18.6bn, £16.7bn) invested by Singapore’s sovereign funds in western financial groups. “The crisis is proving to be a reality check for the authorities.”

Officials are hoping to address public concerns with the recent announcement of a S$20.5bn ($13.6bn, €10.6bn, £9.5bn) stimulus package.

Manu Bhaskaran, of Centennial Group, an economic consultancy, also argues that support for the government remains strong in comparison with neighbouring Malaysia and Thailand, “where there is corruption and mismanagement”.

He adds: “The population doesn’t want to rock the boat in an economic storm and it will support the government, which has a strong record of economic progress and political stability.”

But an element of uncertainty remains about the depth of public support. A third of Singaporeans normally vote against the PAP, despite the weakness of opposition parties. The government must call an election by November 2011. It may decide to call a snap election this year if it fears that the economy will not recover in the next two years, when public discontent might be stronger.

While the PAP is expected to return to power, its nightmare result would be to lose one or more of the five or six-member group representation constituencies (GRCs) that dominate the parliamentary system. Voters cast a single ballot for a party slate of candidates. The opposition, which now has only two seats in the 84-member chamber, would gain its biggest representation in more than 40 years.

“The loss of a GRC would be a psychological blow to the PAP and might encourage more Singaporeans to join the opposition,” says the local political analyst.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8f3e5d78-f87a-11dd-aae8-000077b07658.html?nclick_check=1

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分类题材: 政治_politics ,

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