Multiparty system allows the debating of ideas

I disagree with the arguments made by Dr Edmund Lam ("Safeguards in place to check single-party rule"; Thursday).

A two-party or multiparty political system may not guarantee a better life for the average lot, but it allows the debating of ideas and accepts that no single party can have a monopoly on ideas for how to take the country forward or represent a diverse society.

Many mature democracies are experiencing widening income disparity, but to solely blame the political system would be facile.

Widening income disparity is an inevitable consequence of free market capitalism, and almost all capitalist countries will face it.

After taxes and transfers, Singapore has a higher Gini coefficient - a measure of income inequality - than the United States and Britain.

While we have an outstanding and independent judiciary in Singapore, it can serve as a safeguard only against unlawful actions by the government of the day, but not against poor or unfair governance.

While the media can play its role by reporting honestly, accurately and truthfully, the Government has said that the media cannot set the national agenda or campaign for or against a policy position.

In short, the media is to play a complementary role to support and assist the government of the day.

While I accept that Western democracy models may not be suitable to all countries in the world, the electorate also needs to assess if a single dominant party system is the only option for Singapore, and whether we are prepared to accept more diversity and wider representation in our political landscape.

Jag Kuo Soon Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2015, with the headline 'Multiparty system allows the debating of ideas'. Print Edition | Subscribe