It’s actually not THAT unusual for MPs from different parties to be nice to one another

By October 12, 2017Current

TL;DR – And eat bak kut teh together. 

A lot of people have been talking about a recent photo of Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin seen having lunch with Workers’ Party leader Low Thia Khiang.

Tan didn’t reveal what was discussed during that lunch. But, given that both men are quite busy, we’re guessing that they probably didn’t get together for lunch just to talk about trivial things. Whatever they spoke about, it bodes well that the PAP and the WP can set aside the partisan differences to sit down, have lunch, and discuss issues in a civil manner.

In general, people praised both politicians but some were surprised. Doesn’t PAP want to destroy WP completely? Yes, there are times when things get heated in Parliament. Yes, the PAP and the opposition parties disagree quite strongly on many things.

But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be nice to one another.

Here are three other incidents when that has happened.

1. Vivian Balakrishnan supporting Chiam See Tong

When Mr Chiam See Tong went to pay his last respects to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, he wasn’t able to stand by himself. By his side, holding him, were his wife and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

2. Sweating it out together for a good cause

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and several MPs played on the same team in a charity futsal that raised $125,250. The team included Mr Pritam Singh and Dr Daniel Goh from the WP.

We don’t know whether the team won the match though – after all, the opposing team had players like Fandi Ahmad and Aleksander Duric.

3. Representing Singapore together

In 2012, Workers’ Party Chairman Sylvia Lim and a number of PAP MPs represented Singapore at the 3rd ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly First Plenary Session in Lombok, Indonesia.

Singaporeans first, then politicians

Yes, we believe that a strong, and robust opposition in parliament is good for Singapore’s development. But what’s more important is that our politicians, regardless of what party they are from, are first and foremost Singaporeans. They should be able to set aside their partisan interests, and work together to advance the interests of Singapore.

That’s why seeing Speaker Tan having lunch with Mr Low gives us much to be hopeful of.

Either that, or the bak kut teh must have been really good.


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Jake Koh

Author Jake Koh

Recovering sushi addict, I'm a man of mystery and power, whose power is exceeded only by his mystery.

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