By now we should all know the poorer performance of the opposition this time round in GE2015 so I shall not harp on it already. I wrote a pro-PAP essay in an NUS module one year back just to go against the grain and my tutor even sent a personal message to say I did very well. I never actually expected how true my entire essay turned out to be. Anyway, I would like say here my hopes for the PAP government and the opposition parties. This is also the first election I’m voting in.
With this huge mandate, with the past as a guide, we will start seeing less favourable policies being rammed through during the first few years only tapering off or reversing course as the next GE nears. I just hope the PAP does not take this as a blank cheque to do whatever it wants. There is a limit to voters’ appetite for more of the past and another watershed election may just happen again.
With the WP barely holding on to Aljunied, the PAP can claim their opposition mandate is weak at best. I fear the PAP will now have greater arrogance and not listen as hard to the WP MPs as they did since GE2011. Opinions and issues raised by a party other than your own helps to prevent group think and brings multiple points of view to the table. If the PAP truly has Singaporean interests at heart, I hope they will not dismiss the WP MPs outright.
Although the WP did worse this time round, many seemed to have forgotten the silver lining. WP will now increase its seats in Parliament this time if we include NCMPs to 9. Lina Chiam will lose her NCMP position since she did so much worse and her seat will be given to another best loser from WP. With this silver lining, the WP has actually more “talk-time” in parliament. Although this is at expense of another opposition party, I hope the WP will use this extra seat wisely to raise more meaningful issues in Parliament.
I was thankful that the WP did not lose Aljuined if not we would have slide back to the days of only a single opposition MP ala Anson by-election. Considering that they barely won Aljunied in the first place in GE2011, I would say they did quite well already in spite of the large national swing. If they really did lose Aljunied, it would have been a huge setback for them. Not to mention with the history of gerrymandering, we may not even see an Aljunied in the next election. PAP would pump lots of resources into the area and put a heavyweight minister and there will be little chance the WP will get it back anytime soon. I will also not be surprised if Punggol East ceases to be an SMC or even exist at all next time.
I feel the SDP with a long running history though not as long as WP is also something to look forward to in future. I have read some of the proposed SDP policies and regardless of what you think about their efficacy, I have to give them marks for effort. I may be partial to them though as in terms of views, the electionaire website puts my views as closer to the SDP than the WP. Based on speeches alone, Chee Soon Juan is second to none. If not for the multiple lawsuits and his bankruptcy, the opposition landscape would have been much different today. I hope the PAP will not resort to such underhanded tactics anymore. I wish to see improvement and hear what Dr Chee has to offer in Parliament after subsequent elections.
As to all the other opposition parties, please disband yourselves and join WP or SDP. Your fly-by-night nature means even a traditional pro-opposition supporter like I am is reluctant to see you in power. Then go back to a by-election strategy by contesting less than half the seats. Only when the day comes when an opposition partly can claim it is ready to form the government, then start contesting more and the people may have confidence to vote for you. Sadly, with so many people wanting to be Indian chiefs, this is unlikely to happen.
Just a few days ago, I wrote a satire piece on how to punish wards that fall to the opposition if I’m the PAP government. I hope those will never actually happen.
For the next 4-5 years at least, I hope the mandate given to the PAP does not come at a steep price for the future of Singapore.