Forum: Workers' Party chief should be wary of involuntary exclusion

Mr Pritam Singh's decision to set aside a portion of his allowance as Leader of the Opposition exclusively for residents in constituencies held by the Workers' Party leaves me both disappointed and perturbed (Pritam to donate half his pay increase as Leader of Opposition, July 31).

The allowance bestowed upon the Leader of the Opposition and, indeed, our ministers, is entrusted to them through our collective vote.

Whether you believe that the amount they earn from their appointments is justified, the implication is that this sum is an investment in their judgment and ability to work towards the betterment of every citizen in the country they now serve.

Having foisted this responsibility upon individuals, however, it is left to their discretion to spend the money as they see fit, led by their personal biases and motivations.

Mr Singh's decision to declare his intentions in the manner that he did suggests to me two narratives.

Either he is openly buying the votes of his constituents while stoking political polarisation, or his shortsighted and arguably naive generosity blinds him to the base tribalism that he incites and encourages in his party's supporters.

Perhaps he seeks to lead by example through charity. But more than inspiring kindness and tolerance, I see greater division among my fellow Singaporeans.

As Leader of the Opposition, using the words of one of his own party members, MP Jamus Lim, Mr Singh ought to be "mindful of the risks of involuntary exclusion/inclusion, which can result in perceptions of unfair or biased treatment".

Low Yanqing