Debates, arguments must have Singapore's interests at heart

There needs to be a different approach to parliamentary debates over the proposed changes to the political system ("Changes to political system to prepare S'pore for long term"; Jan 28).

The debate can first focus on examining the intentions behind the proposed changes.

The opposition is usually quick to suspect that changes proposed by the ruling party are politically motivated and aimed at sustaining political dominance.

But, they must effectively and conclusively prove this. Otherwise, the opposition must be honourable and agree that the ruling party is proposing what is in the best interest of Singaporeans.

The next dimension is to debate how these changes can help improve or degrade Singapore's political and social stability and well-being.

The strengths and weaknesses of arguments presented will be testimonies of respective political parties' performances.

Comments such as "duckweed" and "future of Singapore should not be decided by one party" are meaningless, because these refer to the current political situation. The proposed changes are meant to safeguard the future.

Any change that aims to prevent any future government from destroying the country politically and socially, including bankrupting the country's reserves, deserves very serious debate.

Better perspectives to strengthen the presidency (elected or otherwise) will surely be good for the future of Singapore.

Ruling and opposition parties must work together and have Singapore's and Singaporeans' best interests at heart.

In all fairness, the ruling party seems to have shown willingness to propose serious and genuine changes. The opposition must now reciprocate to show that it, too, has what it takes to change.

It can start by moving away from the previous combative style of parliamentary debate. Perhaps it may even score higher political mileage if it can show graciousness and humility.

Tony Lim Thiam Poh