Monday, September 21, 2015

The immortality of the fortunes of the Workers' Party

It will not be a surprise if this impudent title raises the eyebrow of Singaporeans after the near devastation of the Workers' Party following the electoral tsunami in the recent General Election. It is a major setback for the political future of the WP after all the tangible signs showed that they were on the political ascendency before GE. The adverse election results came like a lightning bolt out of the blue sky which left them completely stunned. Even PM Lee Hsien Loong and his colleagues were not sure of their political fortunes and the stunning landslide victory was something like a godsend beyond their expectations. As a credit to him, PM Lee reacted with quite uncharacteristic humility to the incredible PAP victory.

It has preoccupied the minds of political pundits the perplexing phenomenon of the WP electoral fiasco when they were seen to be on the upper hand in their vigorous and even aggressive campaigns with incredibly mammoth crowds at their election rallies. Their walkabouts were very well received and the pitch of their arguments were so intense that even the PAP rivals were overawed. The talk around town was that the WP would capture East Coast GRC, Marine Parade GRC and Fengshan SMC in addition to retaining their incumbent GRC and SMCs. On Election Day itself the betting by bookies was so heavily in favour of WP winning the two additional GRCs and one SMC that it was expected to be a foregone conclusion.

So what could have happened for the results to be so cruelly humiliating to the WP. Some school of thought attributed it to the fear of a silent majority to the so-called overly aggressive election campaigns of the WP which  will cripple a PAP administration if the WP captured more seats than what they were having. So they switched their votes to the PAP. Another school of thought believed that the new citizens who comprise about 14 per cent of the electorate tilted the results in PAP's favour. They have everything to lose if the PAP were defeated. It would however be safe to say that a combination of these two factors contributed to the PAP's stunning victory.

Some who had voted the PAP out of fear of WP's dominance are now regretting their hasty decisions. In an article "one session of democratic lesson" (一堂民主課) in the Sunday Zaobao, there were the following reactions: Facing with this result, not only those voters who did not cast their votes for the PAP were unhappy, even those voters who voted for the PAP were also unhappy. One friend pointedly exhibited his dissatisfaction: "I want PAP to win but do not want them to win so numerously." There were others more agitated who angrily said:"This is the regression of democracy". It will be interesting to find out how widespread this dissatisfaction is.

The setback encountered by the WP can be considered only temporary, at most till the next GE. They must not lose faith and they are doing the right thing by picking up the pieces and starting afresh.They have some very good leaders who will no doubt be able to regain the confidence of the voters, especially those who had cast their votes for the PAP out of fear, in time for the next GE. There is no such thing as a perpetual loser and WP MPs' performances in Parliament and in their constituencies will be keenly watched by the electorate. Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang and Chairman Sylvia Lim have gone through their baptism of fire and are capable of leading the WP back into prominence. The immortality of the fortunes of the Workers' Party is never in doubt.

2 comments:

oldhorse42 said...

Where got Chengsa SMC?

YY said...

Sir, just one correction.

The new citizens do not comprise 14% of the electorate.

A viral online calculation that put it at 14% did not take into account the increase in voters this time due to every constituency being contested unlike last time when Tanjong Pagar was a walkover.

A more credible calculation put it at 2% at most: http://mothership.sg/2015/09/institute-of-policy-studies-new-citizens-account-for-2-of-ge2015-votes-at-most/

Thanks! :-)