Friday, December 28, 2012

An unwholesome display of opposition disunity

The unwholesome display of opposition disunity in the Punggol East by-election, if it is held, does not augur well for opposition politics. The ground has been working well for the opposition, if it
is united, to decimate the PAP not only in Punggol East by election but also in GE 2016. The unfortunate emergence of four opposition parties to want to contest the possible Punggol East by-election throws pro-opposition voters' confidence to the winds.

The latest to declare its intention to contest the by-election is the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP). The others are the Workers' party (WP), the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) and the Reform Party (RP). The National Solidarity Party (NSP) has shown remarkable spirit of opposition unity in declaring its intention not to contest. If the SDP, SDA and RP could follow the selfless example of NSP and withdraw their intention to contest, it will be a good omen and a great day for opposition unity. WP is the natural choice to contest the by-election by virtue of the fact that it contested in the Punggol East SMC in GE 2011 as the main opposition party. Desmond Lim who contested in the ward as a SDA candidate was just a spoiler. In any case, he only managed to secure 4.5 per cent of the votes cast and lost his deposit.

Dr Chee Soon Juan, Secretary-General of SDP, tried glibly to explain, when asked if SDP's move would dilute the opposition vote, that it was targeting citizens who normally vote for the PAP but have since "lost their trust in it". "Our target is to win over from the people who are fed up", he added. Dr Chee cannot be so naive as to believe that people who are fed up with the PAP  would cast their votes for the SDP and not the other opposition parties also contesting. If anything, by virtue of its standing in GE 2011, WP is likely to be the party to attract these disaffected PAP votes. By no stretch of imagination can SDP claim to be more attractive than the WP to the pro-opposition voters.WP already has eight MPs (six elected) in Parliament.

Punggol East by-election is the touchstone of the waning influence of the PAP in Singapore politics and is likely to be the precursor of the decimation of the PAP's apparently impregnable position in Parliament and in the government in GE 2016. Of course, the ultimate aim of the opposition is the dislodgement of the PAP Government but that may be beyond realisation in GE 2016. So it is of utmost importance for the opposition parties to close ranks and show unassailable unity in denying victory to the PAP in the Punggol East by-election so that it cannot claim that opposition unity is a myth. Also a PAP victory will show the opposition's and discerning Singaporeans' claim that the PAP Government has lost the people's confidence because of its undemocratic policies, especially on immigration, foreign workers and foreign talents, is without foundation.

And how can this be achieved with four opposition parties vying each other for the Punggol East ward. As has been mentioned, WP is the natural choice for the contest and the other three opposition parties (the SDP, SDA and RP) should transcend self-interest and show expemplary unity in the public interest, especially voters who want to see a complete absence of political arrogance of PAP leaders. On the other hand, Singaporeans will view with abhorence any intransigence in the stand of opposition parties towards opposition unity.  In view of the apparent reluctance of PM Lee Hsien Loong to call a by-election in Punggol East, it will be some time before we will be able to see a by-election there. There is plenty of time for the opposition parties to carry out an introspection of their erroneous stand, As one commentator puts it:"a six-cornered fight will only hand Punggol East to the PAP on a silver platter".

Remember the authoritative saying : Unity is strength.

6 comments:

look4kc said...

No worry, the smaller opponents will fall off leaving behind 2 for horse trading in order to have 1 to 1 shiopak.

Now just wayang a little which they learned from the 1st world bullies.

A pre-nomination straw poll should be taken from PE residents to see which opponent most favoured to enter the arena.

Opponent alliance is of utmost importance in order to win over the giant.

Alan Wan said...

The other opposition parties should really rally behind WP to show that they have the PE voters's interests at heart.

Isn't it kind of shameful for those candidates who have lost their deposits in the last GE to even declare their interest in this by-election ? Frankly, what is it they possess that they think they can so easily win the voters trust since the last GE?

Frankly the other opposition parties has still not yet reached the same level of trust as voters have in the WP, so what is their real intention in splitting the opposition vote ?

Voters will not be forgiveable if these opposition parties (other than WP) decide that their respective parties' own interests is more important that those of the voters.

Tan Ah Kow said...

You said: "The unwholesome display of opposition disunity in the Punggol East by-election, if it is held, does not augur well for opposition politics."

So your idea of unity is opposition for opposition sake? Er do you think a pathetic opposition like Workers Party augur well for opposition politics?

You said: "WP is the natural choice to contest the by-election by virtue of the fact that it contested in the Punggol East SMC in GE 2011 as the main opposition party."

An election is man made. So why is it "natural" for only Workers Party to stand and no one else. if "natural" is your criteria, then would it not be "natural" for the PAP to continue to supply the MP because they won it and no one should challenge that position.

You also said: "Dr Chee cannot be so naive as to believe that people who are fed up with the PAP would cast their votes for the SDP and not the other opposition parties also contesting. If anything, by virtue of its standing in GE 2011",

In that case, why should Workers Party be afraid of SDP standing? After all as you said disaffected PAP votes would cast their votes for Workers Party. If the Workers Party is so attractive, why be afraid of the SDP standing. I mean let the SDP fight with the other -- in your words -- non natural parties for the spoil of the remaining 4%. Let SDP be the laughing stock.

WmuleW said...

I find it amazing that you guys consider it shameful and bad that the other opposition is giving PE more choices. How is giving voters more choices a bad thing. It is this kind of mentality that will forever prevent SG from becoming a true democracy. Let the opposition contest and let the voters decide

patriot said...

Voters lack confidence in the Alternative Parties as there is no unity in them and some are simply too small to effect any political change.

Me suggest voters reject all those Alternative Parties that contested in less than 30 constituencies in the Last General Election.

All the small alternative parties caused confusion to the voters and fragmention within themselves.

Ultimately, it is the voters that have to make things right by not allowing themselves to be distracted by some shenanigans and nimcompoops.

So far, Workers Party and NSP have shown potential.

patriot

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