Every voice should be given fair hearing

I congratulate the People's Action Party (PAP) for its resounding victory in the 2015 General Election.

I am encouraged by the call for Singaporeans to close ranks and work towards a united and inclusive society ("Close ranks and unite after GE: Ministers"; Sept 14).

Even though 69.9 per cent of valid votes went to the PAP, the 30.1 per cent won by the opposition is no mean feat. More importantly, it is a clarion call for an opposition in Parliament, and this should not be taken lightly, even though it did not translate to 30.1 per cent of opposition seats.

An opposition representation in Parliament is critical for a true democracy. Therefore, the comfort at the thought of the possibility of the opposition tide being rolled back, as articulated by Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, is out of place ("Results show opposition tide can be 'rolled back'"; Sept 13).

Opposition members provide balance to views on national policies as they are not compelled to toe the line. Of course, they have to be rational and responsible, and not oppose for the sake of opposing.

The ruling party must accord credence where it is due, and not seize every opportunity to thumb opposition members down and drown out their voices.

The large number of citizens who did not vote, as well as the number of rejected votes, is very telling. It may indicate resignation that their votes will not make a difference to their lives, so why bother.

Hence, the closing of ranks by Singaporeans goes beyond a mere call by those in power. It has to be supported by deeds, from the PAP and the Government.

More consultation and a bottom-up approach is needed, and not mere lip service to feedback from the ground.

No one is perfect and no idea cannot be challenged, even if it comes from an intelligent mind. Therefore, every voice should be given a fair hearing.

Also, humility and maturity to admit mistakes cannot be over-emphasised. This will enlighten and sustain hearts.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan