Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Something Good about the SDP

Just in case you're wondering, I am not really a supporter of the SDP. However, for opposite week, I will take on the role of the Devil's Advocate to highlight some bright spots about the SDP. Basically, rather than looking at the individual candidates, I will focus on some of the policies suggested by the SDP in their Manifesto. This is because I wish to focus exclusively on the strongest points of the SDP (admittedly, their candidates are not their strongest point).

Yawning Bread wrote that the SDP mainfesto 'is strongest in its section "Establishing a free and democratic political system"'. I will have to agree. Some of the policies recommended by the SDP are :

Establish an independent election commission
Introduce the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Respect freedom of speech, assembly and association

These three points I would gladly support. In fact, I believe that these three policies are strong enough on merit that they can, and should, be implemented immediately. Also, it is unlikely that there will be any major negative repercussions (such as social instabilty) in implementing them.

The SDP also had some other noteworthy ideas, such as :

Abolishing the GRC system
Ending the Nominated MP system
Abolish the Internal Security Act

Now, this batch of ideas are noteworthy not because they should be immediately implemented, but because they suggest changes to the present system which is flawed in some ways. For example, abolishing the GRC system right now would be foolish. However, I think that it would be a good goal to attain in, say 20 years. On the way, we will come up with ways to change the people's mindset such that the reasons for GRCs will no longer exist ( such as when people will no longer consider race as a criterion during elections). The GRCs will stay for now, but it must go when it is no longer needed.

Meanwhile, I do not agree with the ideas to end the NMP system or to abolish the ISA. However, I think the SDP should be given partial credit in saying that these should not remain as they are now. A right step would be to have greater transparency in both the NMP system and the ISA, and to tighten the controls on both systems such that they cannot be abused by the Government ( I'm not saying it is being abused, though) for their own purposes.

That basically ends my post on the SDP's ideas. In summary, I think that the SDP has identified some problem areas with today's system, but their plans to plug these problems tend to be extreme. They should realise that politics is often about compromise and is more of slow, evolutionary improvements rather than explosive and revolutionary change. That said, the rest of their ideas are, in my opinion, rather unsound. But I cannot be the sole judge on this. I would recommend everyone to visit their website to judge for themselves.

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