The Singapore Bicentennial Conference was held yesterday at Raffles City Convention Centre. During the conference, Professor Paul Tambyah, who is also the current chairman of Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) asked Heng Swee Keat a question that is on most of our minds - whether there was a 'good reason' that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) was not completely independent of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
"The election boundaries currently are decided by independent civil servants, but ultimately the reporting officer is somebody in the PMO"
In Heng's response, he claimed that they are independent and not politically motivated,
He gave the example of former opposition stronghold Potong Pasir SMC, which was helmed by Chiam See Tong and Hougang and Aljunied which are both helmed by the Workers Party. Heng added that from these examples, we can stop doubting the independence of the commission and that they are doing what is right.
Professor Tambyah continued to prod the DPM saying
"(The independent civil servants) still report to the Prime Minister."
Mr Heng responded: "Unless you are saying they have been politically motivated... but you yourself said they are independent!"
Now, how many of you would believe that they are truly independent? Our current ruling party continues to claim that there are no conflicts of interest in their ranks. Even though the CEO of Temasek, the government's investment arm, Ho Ching, is the wife of PM Lee Hsien Loong. Auditor General, Goh Soon Poh, is the wife of Minister of State Heng Chee How. SingHealth CEO Ivy Ng, wife of Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen. NHB CEO Chang Hwee Nee, wife of Heng Swee Keat. Surbana Jurong Ceo Teo Eng Chong, husband of Josephine Teo. And Lucien Wong our Attorney General of Singapore, PM Lee's ex-personal lawyer.
Of course, they keep up with their claims of saying these people are appointed based on their capabilities. We, of course, are expected to believe that they have searched the globe for talented individuals. But of course they found the most talented are those married to or have worked under Singapore ministers, the elite of the elites.
Well, we are just expected to believe. But whether we do or not, is another story entirely.