Keadaan Politik Tanah Air bertambah panas


1hb. Mei 2011

http://www.aspanaliasnet.blogspot.com

Keadaan Politik Tanah Air bertambah panas

Oleh Aspan Alias

Dalam masa dua hari ini keadaan politik bertambah panas. Ada dua tiga isu yang membuatkan suhu politik negara naik dengan mendadak. Pertamanya saranan Najib supaya PAS meninggalkan Pakatan Rakyat (PR) dan yang keduanya amaran keras Najib terhadap orang Cina jika kaum itu tidak memberikan sokongan kepada BN. Satu lagi isu ialah MCA telah melakukan ‘brainstorming’ di antara pemimpin di peringkat kawasan dan tertinggi untuk tidak menerima jawatan dalam kerajaan jika MCA di tolak oleh pengundi khususnya dari pengundi kaum Cina dalam pilihanraya yang akan datang.

Kaum Cina–Masaalah Parti MCA Yang di Pikul oleh UMNO-BN

Kaum Cina nampaknya menjadi sasaran hebat dan gertak mengertak di lakukan keatas kaum itu baik dari Pimpinan Melayu BN dan juga dari MCA sendiri. BN sedang memulas tangan kaum Cina kerana sokongan kaum itu terhadap BN sudah kian lemah. Dalam keadaan yang sama UMNO masih lagi belum pulih dari perasaan rendah diri kerana takut ditinggalkan oleh kaum Melayu.

Keadaan meruncing ini merupakan yang paling menyakitkan BN, malahan keadaan ini mungkin bertambah rumit lagi jika dibandingkan dari zaman Abdullah Badawi. ‘Intuition’ yang ada pada diri saya dengan jelas memberikan bayangan yang kali ini BN akan menghadapi keadaan yang jauh lebih rumit untuk mengekalkan kuasa dari pilihanraya 2008 yang lalu.

Kedudukan Politik Sarawak sudah berubah

Jika semasa pilihanraya dahulu gegaran terhadap BN hanya berlaku di Semenanjung tetapi kali ini undi popular BN di Malaysia timur telah jatuh dengan begitu besar sehinggakan negeri Sarawak sudah pasti tidak lagi kekal sebagai ‘fixed deposit’ bagi BN lagi. Dalam pada itu BN perpaduan BN di Sabah sudah menunjukan berlakunya pergolakan apabila parti LDP menuntut supaya BN di negeri itu tidak lagi diketuai oleh UMNO Sabah.

Politik Sabah: LDP dan UMNO

Apabila LDP membuat kenyataan itu Ahli-ahli DUN Sabah dengan tergesa-gesa telah membuat kenyataan untuk menyokong Musa Aman sebagai Ketua Menteri tanpa berbelah bagi. Tindakan ini merupakan satu lagi petanda yang BN khususnya UMNO di Sabah sudah sampai ke persimpangan.

Jika keadaan ini tidak terkawal maka Sabah juga tidak akan lagi menjadi simpanan tetap bagi BN pada masa yang terdekat ini. Susah untuk mencari alasan bagi menafikan keadaan ini.

Berbalik kepada ugutan Najib terhadap orang Cina, ianya merupakan tindakan yang membazir. Ianya membazir kerana dengan ugutan itu ianya menunjukan yang pemimpin kita sudah berada di dalam keadaan panik setelah tidak berjaya memujuk kaum Cina untuk menyokong BN melaui MCA di Semenanjung dan SUPP dari Sarawak. Jika seseorang pemimpin masih mempunyai keyakinan pada diri dan partinya sendiri, kenyataan yang berelimenkan ugutan tidak mungkin timbul.

UMNO dan PAS

Dalam nafas yang sama Najib telah meminta supaya PAS meninggalkan Pakatan Rakyat kerana pada pandangan PM Najib PAS tidak ada apa-apa keuntungan berada di dalam gugusan PR itu. Najib sudah sedar yang Melayu sendiri mempunyai parti alternatinya iaitu PAS seperti bangsa Cina mempunyai alternatifnya, DAP.

Dua bangsa terbesar di negara ini, Melayu dan Cina yang selama ini telah bersatu di dalam BN, sekarang ini sudah ada kecenderungan kedua-dua kaum terbesar ini untuk bersatu di luar BN. Isu yang diharapkan oleh BN untuk membantunya mendapat sokongan dari rakyat seperti isu sodomy Anwar dan video seks juga yang melibatkan Anwar telah gagal untuk dimunafaatkan oleh BN kerana keraguan rakyat terhadap BN lebih besar dari isu yang dipalitkan terhadap Anwar.

Sodomy 2 dan Skandal Video Seks menjadi ‘counter productive’ kepada BN

Malahan isu-isu itu telah menjadi ‘counter productive’ kepada BN pula. Politik seperti juga ilmu metamatik mempunyai formula yang jelas untuk diikuti supaya mendapat jawapan yang tepat. Formula kekuatan politik di negara ini khusunya di Semenanjung bergantung kepada dua kaum terbesar iaitu Melayu dan Cina. Jika kedua kaum terbesar ini bersatu di bawah BN maka BN lah yang akan meraih kuasa dari rakyat. Jika kedua-dua kaum ini memilih untuk bersatu di luar BN maka jawapannya mudah untk diketahui umum…tidak payah untuk disebut dan dinyanyikan.

Inilah yang menyebabkan Najib bertindak mengugut dan menekan kaum Cina supaya memberikan sokongan kepada BN. Tidak mungkin pemimpin nombor satu akan melakukan ugutan jika keadaan masih memihak kepadanya. Sebagai seorang pemimpin yang paling tinggi tentunya beliau akan melakukan kempen secara beretika dan ‘civil’ serta lebih demokratik.

Perlu “Soul Searching” yang intensif

BN patut sedar yang kaum Cina telah memberikan sokongan yang tidak berbelah bagi selama ini dan kecenderungan mereka untuk memberikan kepada pihak alternatif hanya berlaku sejak beberapa tahun dahulu sahaja. DAN berlakunya keadaan ini mesti bersebab yang datangnya dari pihak kita.

Tetapi oleh kerana segala cara telah dilakukan tetapi kaum Cina masih tidak menyokongnya maka adalah natural bagi PM Najib mengugut kaum itu sebagai kaedah yang sudah tidak dapat dielakkan lagi. Ugutan merupakan kaedah yang terakhir untuk mengekalkan kuasa mentadbir negara.

Dengan ugutan ini ianya secara otomatiknya melenyapkan persepsi yang cuba ditanam oleh BN yang DAP itu sebuah parti yang rasis kerana yang rasis sebenarnya ialah BN yang diketuai oleh UMNO.

Pandangan ini tidak akan saya tulis jika saya tidak yakin tentang kebenaran situasi yang telah saya gambarkan tadi. Pandangan yang saya utarakan ini sebenarnya juga adalah pandangan setengah pemimpin UMNO walaupun di dalam terang mereka mempertahankan UMNO itu.

Mungkin pandangan saya ini merupakan pandangan yang salah tetapi dalam keadaan apa sekali pun saya tetap mempertahankan ramalan saya ini akan menjadi kenyataan jika kita tidak melakukan ‘soul searching’ yang intensif.

The Ballot Box: The Ultimate Arbiter in a Democracy


April 30, 2011

 … Come, my friends,
     ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
     Push off, and sitting well in order smite
     The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
     To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
     Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
     It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
     And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. (56–64)

Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ulyssess

The Ballot Box: The Ultimate Arbiter in a Democracy

by Terence Netto @http://www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT Because the ballot box is the ultimate arbiter of distempers in a democracy, Malaysian voters must be anticipating the next general election – the 13th in their history as an independent country – with unusual keenness.

The fact that the number 13 is freighted with an ominous significance because it connotes a tragic chapter in Malaysian history – the May 13 riots of 1969 – renders added frisson to the anticipation.

The thunderheads that have boiled up on the political horizon to set voters on edge present an idiosyncratic mix of issues of personal sexual morality and ones of grave national import.

Just now an issue concerning the sexual morals of a contender for the prime ministerial position, Anwar Ibrahim, has taken centre stage, to the exasperation of legions of his supporters, not because they do not think that it matters, but because they view the rules for adjudicating it as hopelessly rigged against him.

Also, it is of little help to their serenity that they see at least one of his accusers, in the case of the video allegedly showing him in a transaction with a sex worker, as tainted with same brush that is now being used to blacken Anwar. Few things are as annoying as the pot calling the kettle black. Likewise, few things can be more exasperating that attempts to infer an aspirant’s moral credentials to govern from his or her private sexual morals.

One does not have to subscribe to Plato’s dualism of the mind and body to hold that it’s best to keep the spheres of public and private morality separate, especially private sexual morality. But because to the majority of Malaysians religion is a public matter, these spheres cannot be held to be separate.

No precedent in modern history

No politician has done more in the last four decades in Malaysia to make religion a public matter than Anwar Ibrahim. So there is a rough kind of poetic justice to the travails he has now to endure.

It is hard to find a precedent in modern history for the very public and humiliating trials by innuendo and insinuation he and his family have had to endure – in Sodomy I, Sodomy II and now in the sex video controversy – over the last 13 years.

Perhaps the closest comparison one could find would be the hounding of the American civil rights Martin Luther King Jr by FBI director J Edgar Hoover in the 1960s. Hoover kept up a steady stream of pressure on King and his wife by circulating aural evidence of the civil rights leader’s sexual misdemeanors. But, in the main, that pressure was applied away from the public gaze. Consequently, the psychic hell that King and Loretta had to endure was private.

In contrast, Anwar and family have had to endure very public tribulation which the ordinarily decent are loath to justify. The fact that elementary standards of due process have been denied him in this odyssey of public humiliation adds to the repugnance felt by the decent over his and his family’s treatment.

That is why at this juncture the 13th general election is being awaited with mustard-keen anticipation.There are issues of grave public moment that should compete for the public attention’s but right now the manufactured sensation of Anwar’s private sexual morality has taken centre stage.

It makes you want to believe in the truth of the concept of the wound and the bow, the literary principle that the psychic wounds one suffers on the way up in life become the bow that launches the effort at grand rectification.

One hopes that would be true about Anwar. He has had to endure much; would that eventual vindication and rectification be proportionate to his travails.

Singapore Elections 2011: The Key Issues and New Faces


April 28, 2011

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com

Singapore Elections 2011: The Key Issues and New Faces

Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) faces its strongest challenge since independence when its citizens go to the polls on May 7.

Although Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s PAP should easily retain its large majority, his party will be contesting 82 of the country’s 87 parliamentary seats, up from just 47 of the 84 seats in the last parliament.

Candidates representing the city-state’s opposition parties are also of a higher caliber and include a top corporate lawyer and several former high-ranking civil servants.

Singapore’s two long-serving opposition members are not defending their single-member seats and will lead teams to contest multi-seat group representation constituencies (GRCs) that the PAP has never lost.

At the last general election in 2006, the PAP clinched 82 of 84 elected seats with 66.6 percent of the vote. The ruling party got 75.3 percent of the vote in the previous elections in 2001 when opposition parties contested fewer than half the seats.

Key Risks

Should the PAP, which has ruled Singapore since independence in 1965, see a substantial dilution in the share of votes, it could lead to:

– A government that is more susceptible to populist pressure

– Singapore being less welcoming of foreign workers

– Further efforts to cool down property prices, especially in the mass market

Key Issues

– Immigration. Foreigners now make up 36 percent of Singapore’s population of 5.1 million, up from around 20 percent of 4 million people a decade earlier, which is becoming an irritant to many citizens.

They have complained about competition for jobs and housing, the dilution of Singapore’s national identity, as well as increasingly crowded roads, buses and trains.

For the many foreigners who work in Singapore, and firms that use the city-state as their regional base, the key issue is whether the government will continue the open immigration policies that makes it easy for foreigners to work in Singapore if there is a sharp drop in support for the PAP.

– Inflation and inequality. Relatively high inflation and income inequality could also affect support for the PAP.

Despite stellar economic growth in one of Asia’s wealthiest nations, many poorer Singaporeans feel they have fallen through the cracks as government policy is focused on expansion and attracting foreign investment.

GDP grew 14.5 percent last year, but government data shows the city-state’s median household income rose a much smaller 3.1 percent, or 0.3 percent after adjusting for inflation, to S5,000 ($4,022) a month last year.

Singapore’s bottom 10 percent of households with at least one working member had an average monthly income of S$1,400 last year, versus S$23,684 for households in the top 10 percent, according to the Department of Statistics.

Prices are also a worry. Singapore’s inflation rate is currently running above 5 percent and the central bank recently said consumer price index (CPI) inflation will likely come in at the upper end of a 3-4 percent range this year.

– Housing. Many young Singaporeans feel they can no longer afford homes, unlike their parents’ generation, and they feel that government’s immigration policies are partly to blame.

Singapore has one of the world’s highest rates of home ownership at 87 percent, thanks to a home-building programme to provide cheap housing for its citizens that began in the late 1960s. But the government’s Housing and Development Board (HDB) is building fewer flats and charging more for them.

The Workers’ Party, the strongest of Singapore’s small opposition parties, said in its manifesto it would price new government-built HDB apartments at a level such that buyers will take 20 years to pay off their mortgage instead of 30.

Background

– The spread of new media tools such as Facebook and YouTube has allowed opposition parties to bypass the state-controlled media to recruit members and reach out directly to the electorate.

– Top government officials such as former army chief Major-General Chan Chun Sing and former central bank chief Heng Swee Keat have joined the PAP for the election.

– Newcomers in the opposition ranks include top corporate lawyer Chen Show Mao, who studied at Harvard, Oxford and Stanford, and Kenneth Jeyaretnam, a hedge fund manager with double first-class honours from Cambridge. Chen last year advised Agricultural Bank of China on its $22 billion initial public offering — then the world’s largest.

What’s at stake?

– Singapore has been divided into 15 group representation constituencies (GRCs) of four to six seats each, and 12 single member constituencies (SMCs), for a total of 87 Parliamentary seats.

– The party winning the most votes in a multi-member constituency takes all its seats. The PAP has never lost a GRC since the system was introduced in the 1988 election.

– If parties opposed to the ruling PAP win fewer than 9 seats, losing candidates with the largest percentage of votes will be appointed non-constituency MPs (NCMPs), who can speak in parliament but cannot vote on finance or constitutional bills.

– Political parties can start campaigning with immediate effect now that nominations are over. There is a one-day “cooling off” period on May 6 when campaigning is not allowed, and full results of the May 7 election will be available early on May 8.

Reporting by Kevin Lim and Walter Sim; Ed

Singapore General Elections: A Point of View


April 28, 2011

Singapore 2011 General Elections: A Point of View

by Eugene KB Tan*

Will the 2011 Singapore General Election (GE) mark the start of a truly competitive, two- or even multi-party democracy in Singapore? Or let’s take the question further — is a “freak” election result possible, with the People’s Action Party losing power altogether?

After all, this GE will see the most number of seats being contested since independence, with 26 out of 27 electoral divisions involved. Not only have the Opposition parties found enough people to field, this slate is arguably their best to date. About 2.2 million eligible voters will make their choice on May 7, and the battle for their votes will be earnestly fought.

It goes without saying that Aljunied GRC will be most fiercely and closely contested. The Workers’ Party (WP) has fielded its “dream team”. The question is whether there will be a marked spillover effect on the other seven constituencies the WP is contesting.

In these contests, how will the WP’s manifesto of a “First World Parliament” be received by voters vis-a-vis the PAP’s long-standing belief that our political system must produce a government with a clear mandate — a strong parliamentary majority that will enable it to lead decisively in Singapore’s long-term interests?

Arguably, the political destination for the WP and the PAP is the same: It is about making Singapore politically secure and sustainable. The key difference between the two parties is how to get to the desired state of affairs. It is one of the gamut of issues, including bread-and-butter ones, that voters will have to decide on.

Ever the shrewd politician, WP leader Low Thia Khiang has upped the stakes greatly by leaving Hougang where he has been Member of Parliament for 20 years to challenge a PAP team with three office-holders and one potential office-holder.

Low has indicated that if he loses in Aljunied GRC, he won’t take up a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament seat. In short, the WP is gunning for a win-big-lose-big. A lot rides on how convincing its alternative parliamentary model is to voters.

This GE sees the GRCs, rather than the Single Member Constituencies — conventionally seen as easier battlegrounds for the Opposition — being the focal points of key electoral battles. This time the Opposition has concentrated its best candidates in GRCs.  In some respects, the potential dividends from winning a GRC are much higher. And the Opposition parties seek to break the forbidding psychological and political barrier of having not won a GRC since the scheme was introduced in 1988.

What are some of the GRCs to watch? While attention will be riveted on the obvious hot seat, there could be “sleeper” hot spots that flare overnight.

One that is already shaping up for a gloves-off contest is in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, where skirmishes have begun ahead of the hustings.

The re-branded Singapore Democratic Party has fielded its “A-Team” including a former top civil servant, that will seek to engage the PAP anchor Dr Vivian Balakrishnan over his ministry’s over-budget Youth Olympic Games.

The SDP’s other GRC contest is in Sembawang, a traditional PAP bastion. In both divisions we can expect the jousting to be hard and fierce. Will we see a different SDP this time, having a distinct identity from that of its leader Dr Chee Soon Juan? Will it hold firm to campaigning on the social and economic issues it has identified in its manifesto – or will it be diverted by high rhetoric, side antics and verbal tit-for-tat?

Compared to Aljunied, the stakes for the PAP in Sembawang and Holland-Bukit Timah are not as high, yet the loss of even one GRC is a blow.

Certainly, in Ang Mo Kio GRC, even a narrow win by the PAP would hurt. The team helmed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is up against a hastily-cobbled Reform Party team and many will see his team’s performance as a proxy barometer of national confidence in his leadership.

Also worth watching out for is the PAP’s performance in what is popularly regarded as its GRC strongholds of Bishan-Toa Payoh, Marine Parade and West Coast. Despite public interest in Opposition personalities like veteran Chiam See Tong and NSP newbie Nicole Seah, the contests are the PAP’s to lose. It remains to be seen how the Jeyaretnam brandname will sit with West Coast voters.

So, how real is the possibility of a freak election outcome?Reform Party leader Kenneth Jeyaretnam (right)  yesterday dismissed the idea; PM Lee did not go down the route of fomenting anxiety over such an outcome, but said it was “good” to have a strong contest to “make Singaporeans realise more what is at stake at this election … it has very serious consequences”.

Indeed, the Singaporean voter has not been callous. In the 1991, 1997 and 2001 GEs, although the PAP was returned to Government on Nomination Day, voters still gave the PAP a credible mandate on Polling Day. Besides, playing up the fear factor of an upset may leave a negative taste with educated voters. — Today/www.themalaysianinsider.com

* Eugene KB Tan is assistant professor of law at the Singapore Management University School of Law.

Singapore General Elections 2011: Lee Kuan Yew returned unopposed


April 27, 2011

Singapore General Elections 2011: Lee Kuan Yew returned unopposed in Tanjung Pagar

(Reuters) – Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore, was returned unopposed to parliament on Wednesday, but his long-ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) faces its toughest ever challenge at the polls from the city-state’s tiny opposition.

Eighty-two of the 87 seats in parliament will be contested in the general election on May 7, state media reported after nominations closed, the highest number ever. The only exception was the 5-seat constituency where Lee and four other PAP candidates were declared elected unopposed.

“I would have welcomed a contest,” said the frail-looking, 87-year-old Lee, dressed in trademark white shirt and trousers. “I assure you I will look after you for the next five years.”

Hundreds of PAP workers shouted and waved party flags as Lee, “minister mentor” in the cabinet, walked back slowly but unaided to his car after the nominations closed.

There is no suggestion the PAP could lose power. The party won 82 of the 84 seats in the last election, but faces criticism from voters over a surge in housing prices and the high cost of living, despite steering the economy out of recession in 2009 to last year’s record 14.5 percent growth.

Lee was prime minister from independence in 1965 until 1990, and his son, Lee Hsien Loong, is the current prime minister. The elder Lee is credited with the transformation of Singapore from a third-world, newly independent backwater into the shiny first-world financial centre it is today.

“Do not rock this foundation. Remember where Singapore came from and how difficult it was that we have got to where we are,” he said in a statement this week. “In the heat and dust of this election, do not risk your assets, property values, job opportunities. Make the right choice.”

Despite its stellar growth, opponents have criticised Singapore’s restrictions on political freedoms and on the press. The PAP’s near monopoly in previous elections has in part resulted from scores of walkovers in constituencies that the opposition did not contest.

This time the Workers’ Party, the largest of the clutch of opposition groups, has said it is aiming to win one multi-seat constituency, or five seats.It has put up its biggest stars — Chairwoman Sylvia Lim, sitting MP Low Thia Khiang and corporate lawyer Chen Show Mao — into the same constituency, which is likely to be the most keenly watched of all the contests.

There was some controversy over the walkover in Lee’s constituency. An opposition alliance filed nomination papers but election officials said they did not do so within the allotted time.

“It’s a feeble effort to show that they wanted to contest,” Lee said. “But everybody knows if you want to contest you go before 12 o’clock.”

(Additional reporting by Kevin Lim and Walter Sim; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Singapore General Elections: LKY seeks a New Mandate


April 24, 2011

http://www.thestar.com.my (April 23, 2011)

Insight Down South by Seah  Chiang Nee:

LKY seeks a New Mandate to Serve his Tanjung Pagar Constituents

At 87, Singapore’s Minister Mentor is set to win the Tanjong Pagar constituency, a seat he first won 56 years ago, and retain his record as one of the world’s longest surviving leaders – although as an ‘adviser’ to the Cabinet.

With the coming election tipped to swing against his governing party, the founding leader, Lee Kuan Yew, who is 87, has signalled his intention to continue in office.

Speaking with a slight slur and looking his age, Lee posted his message in a low-key video that answered a burning question in almost every Singaporean’s mind – and a few foreigners, as well. “I’m happy to be still representing Tanjong Pagar,” Lee said, referring to the constituency that he first won 56 years ago.

It was posted inconspicuously among other candidates’ messages on the People’s Action Party (PAP) website without an accompanying story. The pro-government press gave it scant prominence, and many Singaporeans first read about it in a Yahoo news report.

This means that if re-elected – as he will likely be – Lee will retain his record as one of the world’s longest surviving leaders, although as an “adviser” to the Cabinet.

Lately, the elderly politician had stayed out of the public limelight, speaking less and less, raising speculation that he may be preparing to step down.

The low-key treatment was probably by design.“I think they want to project the retention of the 87-year-old Lee as a non-story at a time when other top leaders are retired,” said a long-time PAP watcher.

At any rate, it seems that the importance of whether Lee stays or goes has become less significant, overtaken by Singapore’s fast-changing politics. The electorate is changing; so is the PAP itself, so Lee – because of his health and age – is no longer very important to many people.

The election (Polling Day: May 7) is shaping up to be one of the hottest in decades that threatens to shake up the powerful PAP that Lee co-founded.

A gradual build-up of public unhappiness is contributing to this.Years of excessive intake of foreigners that threatened white-collar jobs and depressed salaries of middle-class Singaporeans – as well as high inflation – are creating strong resentment in the republic. Singaporeans are worried about the future of their children and their country.

The PAP is not facing defeat, not in this election anyway, far from it. It will undoubtedly retain its mandate to govern for another five years. The party probably has enough momentum of past – even brilliant – successes to let it win this election, especially with Lee around. The next one, well, that’s another story.

With nine days of campaigning from noon of nomination day (April 27), people are gearing for an erosion of popular support for the government.

In 2006, the PAP won 66.6% popular votes and 82 out of 84 seats. The total votes are almost certain to drop (some say it’s possible to dip below 60%). But under Singapore’s “first-past-the post” system, it will be much harder to win many more seats.

More worrying for 59-year-old Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is the prospect of losing the hearts and minds of youths, who are less accepting of his policies.

Some analysts believe that this is one of the reasons why his father, MM Lee, wants to stay on despite his health.“He wants to ensure the PAP, with a large crop of new, inexperienced candidates, does not falter during its crucial self-renewal,” a grassroots leader told me.

That he intends to serve an 11th term in Parliament is welcomed by a section of the population, especially the elderly, that feels indebted for his role in building today’s Singa­pore.

“The older voters may be happy and feel a strong sense of comfort that he’s still there,” said a political think tank researcher.

One admirer wrote: “MM Lee, I salute you for what you and your team had done for Singapore. Without doubt, the PAP team put nation before self.” Heart Sense said: “Dear Mr Lee, you are a great man of our nation and many Singaporeans have gained their success and prosperity from your earlier policies.”

Both admirers, however, said they felt that his successors were generally less capable and as a result life had declined.

The younger generation, which has no first-hand knowledge of Lee’s past achievements, blames him for much of today’s woes and wants him to retire.Immediately after Lee announced he would contest, a popular website polled readers for their views. Temasek Review said that 499 out of 574 respondents – or 78% – opposed his decision.

Two main reasons given for wanting him to quit are firstly, to let the younger leaders to take over, and secondly, they don’t like his mega-high salary.The other 16% say he should continue.

One was Angie, who penned: “I want Mr Lee to continue to be the MP and stay as long as he can. Without him, we will never be able to enjoy what we have today.”

Since his wife’s death, Lee seemed more conscious of his own fallibility. Asked by an American journalist, “So, when is the last leaf falling,” Lee replied: “I can feel the gradual decline of energy and vitality. And I mean generally, every year, when you know you are not on the same level as last year. But that’s life.”

For this election, knowing his past, he is likely to campaign hard for his son’s – and PAP’s – victory, his health permitting.

Given his stature, he will likely be able to pull in a number of votes from Singapore’s conservatives who fear sudden changes. But his aging body and mind will weaken his role in the next five years, if it lasts.