Singaporeans have taken it upon themselves to prove Sir Isaac Newton’s maxim that for every action, there must be an opposite reaction.
Mere hours after Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that he was effectively taking himself out of the running to be Singapore’s next Prime Minister, a petition popped up.
But this didn’t concern Heng.
Instead, it was about Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing.
Petition: Say no!
The petition was started by a user calling themselves “Singaporean First”.
It is titled, “Say NO to Chan Chun Sing for PM!”
The message attached to the petition claims that their “worst fear” is having the Minister-in-Charge of Public Service as PM, and urged others to sign the petition if they “cares (sic) for our political future”.
As of early April 11, it has garnered over 3,700 signatures, some with explanations for why they are signing the petition.
Petition: Say yes!
Perhaps inevitably, someone else realised they too could create an online petition to express their support for the Deputy Chairman of the People’s Association
This one was started by someone going by Love SG.
It is creatively titled, “Say YES to Chan Chun Sing for PM!”
The message here recycles a Facebook post that touted the various achievements of the Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC.
As of early April 11, it has garnered over 400 signatures.
Petitions: Unlikely to do anything
Before you consider signing either of these petitions, it might be useful to remember that anyone on planet Earth with an Internet connection can “sign” the petition.
Also, there is an infinitesimally tiny chance that either of these petitions will have any kind of influence on whether Second Assistant-Secretary General of the People’s Action Party (PAP) does get the top job.
Singapore’s system of government: Leader of the ruling party becomes PM
Many Singaporeans could be influenced by other political systems, where the President or PM is elected by the popular vote.
But the Government in Singapore is modelled after the United Kingdom’s Westminster system.
There are three separate branches: the Legislature (which comprises the President and Parliament), the Executive (which comprises Cabinet Ministers and office-holders, and is led by the Prime Minister) and the Judiciary.
So how does one become the PM?
The leader of the political party that secures the majority of seats in Parliament after the General Election will be asked by the President to become the PM.
During GE 2020, it is the PAP who won 83 seats out of 93 seats in parliament.
This is why the PAP cadres and leaders have the most say in who becomes the PM.
And what does the man himself have to say on the subject?
You can see it below:
Here’s the relevant bit:
“When DPM Heng chose me as his deputy in 2018, and the team supported it, now that DPM has decided to step aside as the leader of the 4G, the 4G team should be given the opportunity to relook at the question of succession holistically. And we will make a collective decision on who will be the next leader of the 4G in due course.
Now having said that, I must add that our leadership succession plans goes beyond just choosing a leader. It is more than that. It is always about finding and forming the strongest team possible for Singapore, so that Singapore (has) the best chance to defy the odds of history, to not only survive, but to thrive. And that we will continue to do and that is what our entire team is committed to do for Singapore and all Singaporeans.”
Top image from Chan Chun Sing’s Facebook page.