Forum: Words of wisdom by Prof Koh

Professor Tommy Koh speaking at the Raffles City Convention Centre, on Oct 1, 2019.
Professor Tommy Koh speaking at the Raffles City Convention Centre, on Oct 1, 2019.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

It was heartening and refreshing to read the comments of Professor Tommy Koh as the timing was just perfect to "tune" Singaporeans for the upcoming general election (Diplomat Tommy Koh spells out wish list for 4G leaders, Oct 2).

He related an anecdote from the early years on the benefits of appointing Singapore's first chief minister and Workers' Party founder David Marshall as Singapore's ambassador to France, despite Mr Marshall being a member of the opposition party.

It teaches us a valuable lesson that leaders of tomorrow should learn to work in unity with political opponents on policies for the good of the nation.

Prof Koh warned against breeding a pool of "angry voters", saying that it was angry voters who helped to elect President Donald Trump in the United States and who contributed to the Brexit crisis in Britain.

However, given the current bleak job market in Singapore, which has resulted in more displaced workers and those who turn to short-term contract work - such as being private-hire drivers, cleaners, hawkers and food deliverymen - the number of "angry voters" in Singapore could multiply.

This should be taken seriously and should be one of the urgent tasks that the leaders have to resolve, if possible, before the next general election.

Michael Wee Swee Poh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2019, with the headline 'Words of wisdom by Prof Koh'. Print Edition | Subscribe