A few days before the elections, PAP’s Member of Parliament Josephine Teo visited our home in Bishan as part of the campaign. I was not at home then, but she connected with my wife.
I had a chance meeting with Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen as well.
All opposition candidates were content addressing rallies, imagining that the crowds they attracted and all the online ranting from Singaporeans were enough to give them a decent electoral performance.
The electorate proved what kind of a fool’s paradise the opposition parties have been living in by giving the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) a thumping victory.
Online Noise Just That: All the noise Singaporeans make, hiding under the anonymity privilege portals offer, is just a pastime for them.
All new Singaporeans may have cast their votes for the PAP as they are here thanks to the ruling party’s focus on boosting the country’s population by importing foreigners.
But that alone will not have enabled the kind of win the PAP eventually had. The timing of the elections appears to have done all the magic.
In any case, the PAP’s win will serve the country well if they listen to people and do not take the mandate to mean that Singaporeans:
- love to lose their jobs and university places to foreigners as what has been happening all these years
- enjoy seeing the population grow mindlessly and the quality of life here take a dip
It will have been a disaster for Singapore if the Workers’ Party had been able to make further inroads into Parliament. They can hardly be an alternative to the PAP. The other opposition parties had high-calibre leaders but strangely Singaporeans did not take well to them.
Reasons Behind PAP’s Thumping Win
- Timing of elections with 2015 being the year the country lost its founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and celebrated its Golden Jubilee
- So the SG50 feel-good factor and Singaporeans’ love and respect for the late leader apparently worked to the advantage of the PAP.
- Votes from new Singaporeans will have gone to the PAP towards foreigners
- Fragmented Opposition
- No courage or hunger for power among the Opposition — the leader of the main opposition party (Workers’ Party), Low Thia Khiang, had even said during the campaign that they were not ready to capture power. He perhaps just wanted to be in Parliament so he can toe the Government’s line.
- While other opposition leaders such as Dr Chee Soon Juan of the Singapore Democratic Party had sacrificed their hard-earned wealth fighting defamation cases and becoming bankrupt, the Workers’ Party was just street-smart seeking individual glory.
Dr Chee was even considered the best of the speakers in the poll campaign, followed by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, widely considered the most brilliant of the PAP’s Cabinet Ministers. Dr Tharman’s academic credentials are impressive — an alumni of the London School of Economics, Cambridge University and Harvard University.
- Kenneth Andrew Jeyaretnam, Secretary-General of the Reform Party, is also a political victim – his father late JB Jeyaratnam had lost all his money through the defamation suits he had to fight all his life.
- But intelligent opposition leaders hardly get the support they need from the electorate in most countries. Singapore is no exception.
I will have liked to see people like Dr Chee and Mr Jeyaratnam in Parliament. My wish now is that the PAP Government pays attention to trimming the country’s population as in a technology-driven smart nation more people will spell more trouble for the country.
G Joslin Vethakumar