Is the opposition capable of epoch-making? The answer has to be a definite yes. The ground for the opposition is favourable and improving and the prognosis for making inroads into PAP domain can be said to be sanguine. Provided the opposition is united and avoid feuding one another in the hustings. There is already quite a steady flow of talented candidates with excellent tertiary qualifications into some of the more credible opposition parties and they are going to give the much-vaunted PAP election contestants a run for their money. The opposition should continue to woo more of the high-calibre candidates to join their parties in the time available before general election is called.
The to be applauded combination of the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) and the Reform Party (RP) in firing the first salvo in their quest in breaking the pernicious PAP stranglehold on Singapore with a combined walkabout in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC last Sunday is an encouraging beginning of what is to follow. That Mr. Chiam See Tong who heads the SDA and Mr. Kenneth Jeyaratnam, chief of RP, had chosen Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC to test the ground is significant. This GRC is the political stronghold of DPM Wong Kan Seng which he has helmed and has been uncontested since it was formed in 1997. Another GRC which the opposition is going to zero in on is the Tampines GRC which is helmed by the Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan. MM Lee Kuan Yew has tried to frighten Tampines voters that they would see their HDB flats go down in value if they did not vote PAP in Tampines GRC.
That the SPH-controlled mainstream media, especially the Straits Times, has given luke-warm publicity to the SDA-RP walkabout is not something unexpected. The opposition will be naive to expect adequate ardent coverage of their election campaigns during the hustings by the mainstream media. Their political masters, the PAP, will have the first call on them. All is not lost, maybe just a bit deficient, for the opposition parties as they will be strongly supported by the new media.
Where the new media stand vis-a-vis the PAP government and its leaders is not a mystery. They have been consistent in their vitriolic criticisms on the PAP government and its leaders for their unpopular and undemocratic policies. The netizens are mostly young voters and they have called on other voters, especially young voters, not to vote for PAP in the general election. It will be foolhardy for the PAP leadership to ignore this wave of anti-PAP sentiments by the netizens and their possible impact on the outcome of the general election. PM Lee Hsien Loong has tried to pooh-pooh these online criticisms as "astroturfing".
Well, PM Lee and his cabinet colleagues may feel confident PAP will be returned to power at the next General Election, but the capture of at least two GRCs and some single seats by the combined oppostions is a distinct possibility. PM Lee is welcome to continue to live in his fool's paradise.