The PAP's Mr.Lee Kuan Yew has retracted his statement on the Singapore Malays recently. We must admit to having been caught by surprise.
We feel compelled to reproduce his statement on June 3rd, 1965, unusual, by any standards, for its conceit and pompousness;
"I never withdraw one single word, one single statement I say, and I stand by them, as I stand by every tape-recording that I made."
He sits still, glowering, 46 years later, in Singapore's cabinet.
He has yet to apologize. For his benefit, we would like to explain that apologizing is something you do when you have said, or done, something wrong. We don't know if he has said in the past that he will never apologize. If he has, then, we suppose, he will soon apologize.
The retraction is half-hearted, done, perhaps, against his will.
But the reason for it is what is of concern to us. We do not believe it is because, as he claims, he has received more information on the matter and, therefore, 'stands corrected'.
The reason, we think, is quite simply, fear and political calculation.
The PAP knows perhaps, now, that it will be losing some seats in this coming election. And it is working not to lose too many. For they fear nothing more, than they fear loss of power.
The people of Singapore, meanwhile, have a unique opportunity in this coming election. They may deal the PAP a very sharp rap on the knuckles, to cure them of their long ailment of authoritarianism. We will not go into a long list of the PAP's misdeeds. Many have written them down. But the latest outrage is handing themselves fat bonuses on top of already fat monthly salaries of about S$100,000 or more a month and too many perks. While tossing pennies to the crowds, like some feudal despot of old.
We hope Singaporeans don't fall for the PAP's usual fear-mongering. What protects the country is a professional armed forces, not an authoritarian government. And Singapore's armed forces are both professional and armed to the teeth.
A number of factors have coalesced to give Singaporeans this, perhaps, one-time shot.
The opposition will be contesting every seat.There are many more young Singapore voters this year, and they will, we suspect, rebel against the PAP's oppressive administration. They have many inspiring examples around the world to draw upon, even next-door Malaysia. And Mr.Lee has managed to, unneccessarily, antagonise an entire PAP-voting community. But it will not have enough of an effect, unless older Singaporeans too, stand forward for freedom in this hopeful hour for Singapore.
The result will be a better, kinder and still prosperous Singapore, but no longer, a first-world nation with third-world laws.
And no longer a rich nation with a repressive political atmosphere and a climate of fear more befitting some tin-pot dictatorship in Africa or the Middle East.