By Zen — Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, recently shocked the world by announcing that she would be stepping down. This is what she said.
“The responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead and also when you are not. I know what this job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It’s that simple.”
To Singaporeans, this is another lesson that our own government should learn. They should know when their leadership is no longer as effective, and either change course or step down.
It should be time for new blood to take lead.
For many Singaporeans, it is time for a change in leadership. PM Lee has been our PM since 12 August 2004. That is 20 years (almost unheard of for a democracy). He will be 71-years-old this year, isn’t it already time for a fresh face?
When we look at the comments on the news related to Jacinda’s resignation, we can see that Singaporeans are not happy with PM Lee hogging the throne.
If they don’t want to step down, they should change course.
If we think about PAP’s leadership, they have been in charge since our independence. At this point, Singaporeans can’t help but feel like they don’t actually have what it takes, and they are just riding on Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy. They are stuck on old policies thinking that it will still work the same in today’s context.
For example, the BTO system did help many Singaporeans gain access to affordable housing in a timely manner in the past. The same cannot be said of today. Yet they refuse to listen to feedback, and are adamant that they are still doing the right thing.
Similarly, the COE did help prevent too many cars from being on the road, and it helped the environment by making sure that we don’t have too many poorly-maintained vehicles. However, the cars are not going to the right people. It is not affordable for many mobility-impaired Singaporeans whose income have to go into their medical expenses. A car would make traveling so much easier for such families. Yet we have the richest in Singapore with multiple cars parked at their landed properties, people who can actually make do with one less car.
Moreover, the road is still badly congested. So the COE is not adequately meeting their purpose. They could think about how they can limit the COE even further (for example, limit to maximum 2 cars per household). This would make sure that the rich won’t splurge their money on cars (and drive up COE prices) and the right families who actually need a car have a better chance of getting one.
Our government has so much to learn from Jacinda Ardern.