2 days ago PM Lee Hsien Loong announced the new cabinet for the next parliamentary term. Most prominent were the retirements of DPM Wong Kan Seng, Minister of National Development Mah Bow Tan and Minister of Transport Raymond Lim. They had apparently told PM about their desire to step down even before the GE, so now is the appropriate time for them to exit the scene gracefully. PM Lee also thanked them for their contributions to Singapore.
Obviously, it escaped no one’s attention that they helmed the ministries responsible for some of the hot topics in the past GE – Mas Selamat’s escape, rising cost of housing, bursting public transportation system.
This is a chilling turn of events. They could of course have signaled their desire to step down. But what if this was a reaction to the elections, a necessary consequence of having lost popular support by infuriating voting Singaporeans? Consider Raymond Lim, who has only served 1 full term as Minister for Transport. Is the transport situation really his fault? For one, infrastructure works are multi-year projects, so perhaps we should punish his predecessor? Neither does it come free. If it turned out that Ministry of Finance had turned down their budget requests, should we sack the finance minister as well? Finally, what control does he have over the country’s immigration policy, arguably the biggest cause of congestion in the country?
We are on slippery slope. The words of Robin Hanson echo my thoughts
They [our descendants] will be amazed … [at] how we preferred a political system, democracy, designed to emphasize the hardly-considered fleeting delusory thoughts of the median voter rather than the considered opinions of our best experts.