This sample essay on Peoples Action Party provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
Introduction Singapore and the United States are both first world countries pioneering in advancement as compared to the nations around them. They serve as an emblazonment of prosperity that has been ensured by firm and successful leadership. However, unlike USA, the leading front of Singapore has not changed since its independence.
The People’s Action Party has brought its nation into the 21st century without being displaced. The United States, though, has remained torn apart between the Democrats and the Republicans.
What then did the PAP have that neither of these strong political parties in the most powerful country of the world, did not? Use of Fear A main weapon in favour of the PAP has been fear. It is not PAP which has created these fears but rather a common misconception of the Singaporean people themselves.
In a Strait Times interview with MM Lee when the concern of voting against PAP was raised he clarified that the PAP will have no knowledge on who casts a vote against them and that people themselves are creating this illusion. 1 Yet, this fear though not a political tactic by the PAP, does serve as a political advantage.
The fear surfaces in the case of raising voices against the PAP too. Any comment going against the PAP has a high probability in a lawsuit against the critic.
In the highly liberal state of the United States, people are fearless enough to publicly make mocking videos and insulting publicity against the government. 2 It is hence proven that the minimising of critics lead to the retention of power. This is what the PAP has managed but the parties in USA have failed. Influence of the Education System The education system in Singapore has been groomed in a way to enable PAP to hold their eternal positions.
Students from their primary level of education are nurtured in a highly disciplined manner with them barely being given chances to speak. Many a time, when children are caught talking they are reprimanded and the message is ingrained in them that voicing out has a negative consequence. The United States believes in a more liberal system of educating their young in their nation via more interaction and openness. Such liberty has its social drawback as it tends to disorganisation. However as Lord Acton once said, “Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end. ”3
Suppression of the Oppositions The suppression of the Opposition is another factor that assists the PAP in retaining its held power. The PAP has many modes of destabilizing its opposition. The judicial system of Singapore has a bias that acts to the benefit of the PAP. Singapore’s former solicitor-general, Francis Seow said “… the Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew uses the courts as a legal weapon to intimidate, bankrupt or cripple the political opposition … in numerous legal suits against dissidents and detractors for alleged defamation in Singapore courts, and has won them all. ”4 Hence the element of fear shows itself to be victorious.
Such mode of politics can barely be used in the United States due to the fact that its judicial system is not controlled by the government. Financially destabilising a political opponent prevented them from running successfully with funds in an election is another tactic employed by the PAP. Pushing many political opponents into bankruptcy using law suits has enabled the PAP to eradicate majority of them. These are all the PAP law suits till 1996 (all of which have been successful): 5 Year Sued by Sued Amount 1979 Lee Kuan Yew Jeyaretnam S$ 130,000 1988 Lee Kuan Yew Seow Khee Leng S$ 250,000 1989 Lee Kuan Yew Jeyaretnam S$ 230,000 989 Lee Kuan Yew FEER S$ 230,000 1900 Lee Kuan Yew Jeyaretnam S$ 260,000 1991 Lee Kuan Yew Quek Teow Chuan S$ 200,000 1994 LKY, GCT, LHL IHT S$ 650,000 1994 Lee Kuan Yew IHT S$ 400,000 1994 Ernest Chew Chee Soon Juan S$ 75,000 1994 Ow Soh Leng Chee Soon Juan S$ 30,000 1994 Dr S. Vasoo Chee Soon Juan S$ 210,000 1994 Chiam See Tong Xin Zhang Jiang Restaurant S$ 50,000 1995 Lee Kuan Yew Vincour & Ors S$ 300,000 1995 Goh Chok Tong Vincour & Ors S$ 300,000 1996 LKY + Lee Hsien Long Tang Liang Hong S$ 1,050,000 However the one law-suit by Mr Jeyeratnam on PM Goh Chok Tong in 1987 automatically failed.
These evidences hence justify the claim by J. B. Jeyaretnam and Chee Soon Juan that Singapore courts favour the PAP government at the expense of Justice. In Singapore, the amount that has to be paid as election deposit has risen over the decades hitting S$13,500 in 2006. 6 If the opposition do not at least 8% of the vote, the deposit will be consumed. This restrains new entries from oppositions from taking part without certainty of 8% of votes resulting in the loss of money. A Clean and Optimistic Historical Record The main edge PAP holds politically is its historical record which totally justifies their right to rule.
It was under PAP Singapore morphed from a 3rd world nation into the 1st world. The people have deep faith in PAP’s nation building and controlling tactics. Accusations of lack of freedom fall shamefully to the fact that this is the party that has made Singapore a successful nation from its post-freedom years. The many policies implemented strictly by PAP, such as the HDB racial quota, all have had positive impact. The Singaporeans are thus unable to transfer authority from a well established party to one that has never come into rule before. This fear of what may happen once a new party takes over is embedded in the Singaporean mind.
In USA however, both parties have had successful runs since independence and thus both are deemed to be equally competent and reliable. Thus, party track records do play a major part in determining the voting. Currently, the Republicans are losing out in ongoing elections due to their negative track record in the Iraq War. The PAP though remains victorious as their track record cannot be compared to any other party. Whereas in the US, the constant comparison between the two fronts lead to a major split in votes. The stability of a nation is shown to by all means increase the chances of the citizens voting for the same party for rule.
Trust in the Government The government in Singapore ranks among the Top 5 among the least corrupted. 7 It has gained a high level of dependency from its own people. The trust it has gained has allowed them to consecutively gain votes from the public. Various scandals have always tainted the reputation of the leaders in the United States. When MM Lee was asked by TIMES on why he sues opposition who question the efficacy of the government, he said “If you don’t sue, repetition of the lies make it credible. ” The PAP is thus seen to place major importance on public trust ensuring that people do not have a disarrayed view of the government.
Films on political oppositions such as A Vision of Persistence on Jeyaretnam are banned. 8 MM Lee said America is ready for films like Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 in which they enjoyed their President being mocked and satirized. However … voted for Bush in November 2004. 9 He declared that Singapore will loosen up only when it has a large number of well educated individuals to look over such political dissidence and keep faith in their government. The Democratic-Republican Party Ironically, the rule in United States could also be regarding as a mono-governance.
The Democrats and Republicans before 1824 were known as the Democratic-Republican Party. 10 Their form of governance is both following the democratic ruling scheme. The only line along which both the parties differ is only regarding the outlook on certain issues. A transition in political dominance from one party would not bring about much of a change in the nation’s status. The split took place based more on personality than ideology. In Singapore, the main oppositions such as the Singapore Democratic Party and the Worker’s Party both have different ideologies compared to the PAP. This makes the voting for change of political eadership a higher risk factor in Singapore than in the United States. It can be seen that the main factor that determines the United States as a nation is the president’s personality. The president is the holder of supreme authority. The party has to support the president’s stand; such has been obvious in issues such as the War in Iraq. In Singapore, the Prime Minister is the party’s man. He is forced to keep to the stance the party has kept. The voting for the same party in Singapore would command the same style of leadership which is not necessarily the case in the United States.
This forces the American citizen to contemplate on who deserves their vote. The voting for the leader is not done as a show of loyalty to the party but rather as a judge of capability of the man himself. Conclusion These are the things that have lead to the advantage that PAP has in retaining its political position unlike either the Republicans or the Democrats. The means of retraining political dissidence and the citizens’ stereotypical mindset have gave the PAP an upper hand in maintaining rule over the nation. Given these conditions, any party would be able to preserve its control over the people.
The absence of these factors and the presence of others have lead to the failure of any of the major political parties in USA to retain power in the long run. Word Count: 1488 Citations and References (1) Strait Times Singapore (April 13, 2006), http://waynesoon. blogspot. com/2006/04/got-fear-or-not. html (2) http://www. salon. com/opinion/feature/2006/09/08/maher/index_np. html , http://politicalhumor. about. com/od/republicans/Republican_Jokes. htm , http://www. petitionspot. com/petitions/stopbush (3) Lord Acton, Lecture, (February 26, 1877) http://www. quotationspage. com/quote/27487. html (4) Francis T.
Seow, Former Solicitor General Singapore, Speech in Sydney, Australia, Lecture (1997) (5) Table chart on Political Law Suits tabulated from information from: http://singaporerebel. blogspot. com/2007/03/singapores-libel-laws-fixing-dissidents. html (6) James Gomez (14 May 2005) http://www. jamesgomeznews. com/article. php? AID=212 (7) http://www. data360. org/graph_group. aspx? Graph_Group_Id=478 (8) http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Censorship_in_Singapore (9) MM Lee’s Interview to Times: December 06,2005: http://www. time. com/time/asia/covers/501051212/lky_intvu5. html (10) http://en. wikipedia. rg/wiki/Democratic-Republican_Party_(United_States) References and Bibliography Books: 1. Diane K Mauzy, (2002), Singapore Politics Under the People’s Action Party, Routledge Publishers 2. G. William Domhoff, (1983), Who rules America now, Touchstone Books New York, pp 15-37 3. Kevin Phillip, (1993), Democrats, Republicans, and the Decline of Middle-Class Prosperity, Random House, pp. 336 4. Jacob S. Hacker, (2005), The Republican revolution and the Erosion of American democracy, Off Center Report 5. World Bank, World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People, Washington: Websites 6. Anon. (2006) Fear: PAP’s most powerful weapon http://singaporeelection. blogspot. com/2006/05/fear-paps-most-powerful-weapon. html 7. Channel News Asia, 23rd April 2006, SM Goh on why PAP jealousy guards its integrity, http://www. pap. org. sg/articleview. php? id=713&mode=&cid=23 8. Amy Sullivan, 2nd October 2006, Why are Democrats loosing the culture war? http://blogs. usatoday. com/oped/2006/10/post_44. html 9. Martyn See, (2007), Former political Prisoner Said Zahari to launch book http://singaporerebel. blogspot. com/2007/06/former-political-prisoner-said-zahari. html 10. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Reporters_Without_Borders