A Laugh at Some Democracy

while searching for some old stuff, happened to "stumble into" (metaphorically speaking, of course - since our feet hardly move when we go "surfing" [*] :)) this old (well - it's June 1, 2004 - 10 days ago) article on TODAY that.. the way it is written, just wants to make me laugh - and almost entitle this entry, "A Laugh at Some Democracy" here... (But, Oh No! - would we really want to accuse our gahment of not giving us any democracy here??? Good heavens, NO!!!!... I am trembling in my bones...)

i hereby produce the mentioned article ad verbatim for u...:
(*see also my previous attempted humour write-up on this issue.)

DPM Lee endorsed as next Prime Minister

Handover date will be announced next month

Lee Ching Wern

THREE MEETINGS, held over seven days last week, decided what Singaporeans knew all along: Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong would be taking over the top job from Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.

So what was the point of those meetings? Said those who were part of the exercise: The endorsement process and the precedents it set.

On May 22, at the behest of Mr Goh, party whip and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng called for a meeting of younger ministers.

Mr Wong told Today the lunch meeting involved Mr Mah Bow Tan, Mr Lim Boon Heng, RAdm Teo Chee Hean, Mr Lim Hng Kiang, BG George Yeo, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Mr Lim Swee Say, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Mr Khaw Boon Wan and Mr Lee.

At that meeting, everyone "unanimously supported DPM Lee to succeed Prime Minister Goh when he steps down" said Mr Wong.

A second meeting was held at the Parliament House last Friday - this time for PAP MPs to endorse that choice, a move that is unprecedented. In the past, only ministers were allowed to have a say in the selection of the Prime Minister.

Chaired by Mr Goh, the hour-long meeting saw MPs being informed of the ministers' nomination of Mr Lee as successor. The MPs supported the choice unanimously by applauding it, said Mr Wong.

According to MPs whom Today spoke to, there was no voting - either by a show of hands, or by a secret ballot. "As the choice of DPM Lee was unanimous, there was no need for a formal voting process," said Mr S Iswaran, MP for West Coast GRC.

The final endorsement came the following day, when PAP's Central Executive Committee (CEC), chaired by Mr Goh, met.

With the outcome all but decided, was there a need for the three meetings?

Said Mr Iswaran: "Perhaps, this would come as no surprise for Singaporeans. However, the process is significant, because it establishes a precedent for the future whereby MPs and the party CEC are involved in the selection and endorsement of the new leader.

"In Singapore, it is a new thing and PM Goh wants to make sure there is a process to guide us. While this time the choice was unanimous, we never know what it might be like in future."

Others felt it was a milestone in Singapore's political history.

"There's due process and every MP is very happy with that process. It is a milestone as far as the party is concerned and I think it is good to put a succession framework in place. So that in future, when we select the next Prime Minister, there is due process," said Holland-Bukit Panjang GRC MP Dr Teo Ho Pin.

The date for Mr Lee's succession, however, was not finalised yesterday.

A statement from the CEC said Mr Goh would be making the announcement of the handover date sometime next month.

So will Mr Lee be PM in time to make the next National Day Rally speech on August 22?

Some political observers seemed to think so.

Said political scientist Ho Khai Leong: "If we can learn anything from the past, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew announced his handover date about one or two months before he actually stepped down. It will not be surprising if PM Goh announces in July that transition will take place as soon as August."

One MP, who declined to be named, suggested that the upcoming National Day Rally might break all precedents by having both PM Goh and Mr Lee speak.

Conjecture aside, it is clear that PM Goh will also be making some changes to his Cabinet before he hands over the reins.

In April, during the 50th anniversary celebrations of the PAP, Mr Goh had announced that he would reshuffle the Cabinet before the National Day Rally, because "self-renewal involves more than just a change of Prime Minister".

So this could now happen as early as next month.

Outstanding issues that could be decided then include his own role in the Cabinet after the handover, the promotion of junior ministers and the possible stepping down of some senior ones.

Note about my humour and Standard Disclaimer: Really - just give me some breathing space here, alright?? I just love to kid around - that's all. And bloody hell at least i STAYYY - OKAYYYY?

(*ps: think about that - who the HECK invented that word "surfing" here??? "Surf"... the "World Wide Web"??? How about ~Crawl~ the World Wide Web??? Wouldnt that be so much more suitable... Anyway.)

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