Tuesday, November 24, 2015

HDB ISSUE~ Unfinished Business

I was having coffee with a couple of friends and they started to talk about HDB issues. One of them is actually a property agent.

As usual, most of the time Singaporeans will just complain. But these friends are slightly better because they somehow have some ideas what are the root problems.

When they started to say that PAP won big because they have solved most of the problems raised in 2011 GE. I laugh. What about HDB prices?

They know the prices are sticky upwards. It is a concept in economics which is less well known. Well, why sticky upwards?

I told them the reasons and how it could be solved. And I told them I didn't bring this up since 2011 because people have this free rider mentality, be it voters, political parties or otherwise.

2015 GE results are not that unexpected to some party in retrospect. It is because there are too many opportunistic free riders waiting to ride on the waves of issues created by others. Contrary to popular belief, PAP has not solved the fundamental problem of HDB as basic public housing. But no one knows how to pin point the problem straight.

I didn't want to do it because I have to focus on the Minister I am tackling. I also think that for any opposition who is worth his salt, should show his own strength and should not be opportunistic in being mere wave riders.

Well, HDB issue is definitely an ongoing problem which cannot be solved by the current PAP methodology of merely increasing supply and policy tweaks.

Let PAP cracks their heads over it or young Singaporeans continue to suffer from their incompetency. It will come to a day of reckoning when the system collapses. It is a painful lesson needed to wake PAP up.

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, November 23, 2015

Post Mortem Fever~ Free Rider & Failed Internet Outreach

After two months, people are still talking about the results of GE2015.

I have made my views known earlier on, written on my FB and blog but there are new inputs by some keen political observers.

A substantial number of people raise the anger on internet blaming Workers Party for the mediocre performance in parliament (which they have defended themselves with statistics on the total number of questions they have raised in parliament) and the AHPETC saga (despite of Sylvia Lim denial of the vast impact on the Election results) as the key issues which made the Middle ground lost their confidence in opposition as a whole.

Although I think these are important issues but may not be the only main issues that caused the overall fall in opposition support.

I have raised the Fear of PAP losing power as the main issue which somehow orchestrated partly by PAP as well as some fence sitting Middle ground. I was told that some people have circulated a "Vote Wisely" Whatsapp message right before polling day. I do believe that created a major impart.

On the other hand, I think despite of WP trying to defend their performance in parliament, it is undeniable that it is a public perception and Consensus that it has not been effective nor competent in parliamentary debates, regardless of how many questions they have raised.

If you observe carefully, the only issue which WP made noise OUTSIDE parliament is about the AHPETC saga! And this is done as a defensive posture instead of offensive stance against any important current issues!

Thus it is no wonder that voters, Rightfully or wrongfully, had the impression that the only things happening is WP AHPETC problems! WP has never spoke up on any other ex-parliamentary issues like speaking up for the activists who were charged for the heckling saga nor Amos Yee nor any human rights issues.

Neither has it raised its voice timely on current issues in support of any cause of justice or Democracy.

It is contended to its sole platform in parliament and none of its MPs has participated in any protest or activism outside parliament or its constituency activities.

WP was lucky in 2011 that a huge wave was created by other people, be it netizens, activists, other political parties or otherwise prior to elections. It took the opportunistic approach of not making any noise but rode on the waves of anti PAP policies, in particularly the most unlikely HDB issue which it has never objected before, to win Aljunied GRC.

It came in at the very last minute to capitalize on the waves of public sentiments but what it eventually presented in parliament on its views on various issues from ministerial salary to HDB suddenly differed greatly of what it has said during Election rallies or written in its own Manifesto.

This is the result of being Free Riders. As Free Riders, you are forced to ride on the same waves and sing the same tune without being the opinion leaders to craft or manage how the waves pound on PAP. But after Elections, when you are in parliament, you sing different tunes which sometimes contradicted badly with what you have said during Elections. Thus the Perception of mediocre performance was formed by such flip flopping.

In GE201, the new media was very influential, though they have internal competition among them. TRS, TRE or Temasek Review, TOC etc, have more diverse reporting on different opposition parties.

Unfortunately for GE2015, the most influential TRS was forced to close down while TOC and TRE acted like WP mouth piece! (Most likely they thought it is wise to focus on the best horse WP so that it will win more seats but it has definitely backfired.) Thus, they lost so much credibility and people tend to compare them to MSM like ST and ZB which are regarded as PAP mouth piece.

Thus opposition as a whole, lost the New Media war. This is one crucial reason why IPS survey reflected that Middle ground trusted MSM more, instead of other New Media which sound more like WP or SDP mouth piece.

There are many lessons to be learned from these post mortem. But I guess people will definitely get sore and angry at people like me who just have the courage to go against all adversary to point out the simple Truth. It hurts, of course.

Goh Meng Seng

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Singapore Sidelined by Historic Meeting between Ma and Xi

Some people (political commentator cum scholar?) has said that Singapore is great in getting both Ma and Xi to meet in Singpaore. This gives an impression that this meeting is an initiative carried out by Singapore PAP government. This is FAR FROM THE TRUTH.

First of all, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs has clearly stated in its press statement that they were "requested" by both China and Taiwan to facilitate this meeting. Xi's visit to Singapore is important to PAP government (after so long, Xi has visited so any other countries including some ASEAN countries) and such meeting between Xi and Ma will undermine and overshadow Xi's visit to Singapore. It will be unwise for PAP to do that but it has no choice but to accede to the requests.

This also explains why the news were first broken by Taiwan instead of Singapore and it was a reluctant response from Singapore MFA to confirm the arrangement when asked. This will steal the limelight of Xi's visit to Singapore. This is also why there is a premature release of information on what deals Singapore will sign with China when Xi comes, as this is a desperate attempt to regain media (both local and international) attention and limelight.

Secondly, according to news reported in Hong Kong, the idea of meeting was mooted in casual talk between two high level officials from China and Taiwan. Taiwan has suggested Philippines when both leaders will attend APEC in mid November this year (this was somehow Taiwan's FIRST CHOICE). But China has turned down that suggestion but counter-propose Singapore while Xi is having his visit! This is to avoid international media to view the meeting as "Equals" between two sovereign states!

At the same time, Xi will have an upper hand as to show that it is Ma who is willing to take the trouble to fly all the way from Taiwan to Singapore just to meet Xi while he is on official visit! Ma is indeed desperate enough to take the bait, to lower his status a bit, basically "gatecrashing" Singapore PAP government's party with Xi!

The sad part is, although Ma does look bad and desperate enough to do that, but Singapore is as desperate as well, to accede to such a request or risk agitating Xi... This is the sad part of diplomacy: small country like ours will be pushed around by the bigger boys.

The irony is this. There is really nothing to be proud of but there are fools and jesters who will try to play this up as something GREAT and Glorious when in fact, people are just treating us like calefei (part time actor)!

Goh Meng Seng

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Misguided Belief: By-Elections Strategy

There has been a lot of talk about "By-Elections Strategy" right after 2015 General Elections and it seems that people are trying to push the blame to the complete contests opposition parties have put up for this GE.

They opined that the National Swing of votes against opposition was the result of the FEAR of PAP losing power. While this may be true but I do not think we should be quick to conclude that it is the fault of other smaller opposition parties for contesting all other seats in this GE.

The By-Elections Strategy is a baseless misguided strategic thinking. From past GE results, there is absolutely no Correlations found in By-Elections Strategy (i.e. contesting less than 50% of the seats) that really helped opposition parties gaining more results or seats.

For GEs held in 1991, 1997 and 2001, less than 50% of seats were contested but only for GE 1991, we saw a more successful campaign whereby SDP and WP together, won 4 seats. Ironically, in GE 2001 which opposition contested the LEAST seats since 1980s, opposition parties as a whole had the WORST results! Thus, there is absolutely no correlation whatsoever between By-Elections Strategy and good opposition results.

For GEs held in 2006, 2011 and 2015, more than half of the seats were contested. But for these GEs, we saw a steady increase of opposition support for 2006 and 2011. In fact, for GE 2011, we contested nearly all seats other than the 6 seats in Tg Pagar which was disqualified on technicality, but we achieved the BEST RESULTS for opposition as a whole, since 1991.

Thus, there is absolutely no basis to claim that By-Elections strategy is vital for opposition electoral success. It is NEITHER the necessary nor sufficient conditions for opposition parties to perform well in elections.

Thus, we should not just believe blindly that we should have By-Elections strategy. In fact,I do not believe in By-election strategy at all. It is a misguided defeatist strategic thinking. It effectively secedes Power to PAP even without a fight and it means giving PAP a BLANK CHEQUE right before GE! How can that be good for Singapore?

The only thing that could possibly keep PAP up on its toes, to keep Singaporeans as its priority and to get it to take care of Singaporeans, is the FEAR of losing power during GE! If we were to submit to By-election strategy, it would mean that we would have taken off that sword over PAP's head right now and PAP would do whatever benefits itself and its cronies without the need to be bothered about Singaporeans' well being!

This is the reason why I am against the By-election strategy. From past statistical results, there is absolutely no basis to think that it could help opposition to win more seats. But at the same time, we are just selling out our only means to keep PAP up on its toes for such misguided myth and belief.

The problem lies with Voters' perception of FEAR. 2001, opposition parties lost badly due to FEAR; right after 911 terrorist attack in US. Similarly, for GE 2015, it was FEAR again, that resulted in a dismay showing overall for opposition. The FEAR of uncertainty if PAP lost power.

But small parties should not be blamed for that FEAR because only bigger opposition parties could effect that FEAR.

Some people say opposition suffered a bad swing because of small parties and we contested all seats. This is because people fear PAP losing power.

One must first look at simple facts of comparison. In 2011, all but 6 seats were contested. You mean to say that PAP won't face the same risk of losing power in 2011 if we simply look at the total number of seats contested?

There must be something more to make voters to fear PAP losing power. There are combined factors:

1. The show of an over confident of WP and SDP winning. This can only be effected when majority of media focus has been put on them, showing the huge crowd size of their rallies and suggestive reporting of potential GREAT victory. This also means that other small parties did not hog the news space and didn't project any negativity to voters as a whole. (The only BAD thing or NEGATIVITY that comes from opposition was the APHETC saga! This has NATIONAL EFFECT on voters' perception but this is not the doing of smaller parties like PPP.)

2. However, the number seats of WP and SDP added up will not Cross the 50% mark. It would be irrational for voters to conclude that PAP will lose power if Both WP and SDP win all the seats they contested. Thus, it also means that in voters' mind, other smaller parties may also win seats! If that was so, it must be the case that voters also think smaller parties have good credible candidates who could potentially win seats as well .

Now, how can people start to say that other smaller parties do not have credible candidates if that was the case?

Thus, please don't put blame on other smaller parties. Opposition as a whole has put up a TOO STRONG showing which Ironically backfired. It was too strong overall to make people frighten of the unthinkable, PAP LOSING POWER.

Contrary to those naysayers, opposition wasn't weak at all and it was Precisely due to this perceived strength, voters begin to worry about PAP losing power.

We need to analyze the factors behind opposition's dismay showing in GE2015 with a balanced mind and not to believe blindly in some illogical and baseless claims or accusations or blame pushing masked behind some "comments".

To address the FEAR of PAP losing power, voters must be told that PAP will still be the dominant party tasked to form the government even if it lost over 50% of the seats. It is so far, the only party that could contest ALL seats alone.

It would most probably look for a COALITION partner and that would be REAL CHECKS and BALANCES kick in. Having a few opposition MPs in parliament may be good but they could not really effect policy direction change but a coalition partner with PAP would be able to do that.

Most likely WP will become PAP's coalition partner. I do not think other parties would want to be PAP's coalition partner other than WP. WP has said that it is open to become coalition partner, most probably a slip of tongue during a political forum. It has also said that it will not form coalition government with other opposition parties.

Thus, as far as I can see, there is really no problem even if PAP lost absolute Power and we should educate voters about that.

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, October 19, 2015

GE2015: Stop Pushing Blame on Smaller Parties!

I cannot help but wonder why people cannot see through the plain attempt of some political leaders of shifting away blame when they come up with some totally illogical and even contradicting statements.

Half truth is thrown up to mask their flaw argument.

For example, people say opposition suffered a bad swing because of small parties and we contested all seats. This is because people fear PAP losing power.

One must first look at simple facts of comparison. In 2011, all but 6 seats were contested. You mean to say that PAP won't face the same risk of losing power in 2011 if we simply look at the total number of seats contested?

There must be something more to make voters to fear PAP losing power. There are combined factors:

1. The show of an over confident of WP and SDP winning. This can only be effected when majority of media focus has been put on them, showing the huge crowd size of their rallies and suggestive reporting of potential GREAT victory. This also means that other small parties did not hog the news space and didn't project any negativity to voters as a whole. (The only negativity projected by opposition which has NATIONAL influence and implications, is only the doubts thrown on the AHPETC saga but this has nothing to do with the small parties at all!)

2. However, the number seats of WP and SDP added up will not Cross the 50% mark. It would be irrational for voters to conclude that PAP will lose power if Both WP and SDP win all the seats they contested. Thus, it also means that in voters' mind, other smaller parties may also win seats! If that was so, it must be the case that voters also think smaller parties have good credible candidates who could potentially win seats as well .

Now, how can people start to say that other smaller parties do not have credible candidates if that was the case?

Thus, please don't put blame on other smaller parties. Opposition as a whole has put up a TOO STRONG showing which Ironically backfired. It was too strong overall to make people frighten of the unthinkable, PAP LOSING POWER.

Contrary to those naysayers, opposition wasn't weak at all and it was Precisely due to this perceived strength, voters begin to worry about PAP losing power. Period.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Reflection on earlier predictions of GE2015

Reflection of GE 2015

A couple of months before GE2015, I was sharing with quite a number of people, including editors from TR Emeritus​ on what I thought would be the outcome of GE2015.

In retrospect, I did make some accurate predictions but also bad judgement as well.

I told them that most probably WP would retain Hougang but lose Punggol East while Aljunied GRC was going to be a 50-50 fight. I was hoping that WP could win East Coast GRC (at that time, the formation of Fengsan SMC was not made public yet.)

The reasons I gave was that those residents who have changed from PAP to WP management (aka Punggol East and Aljunied) would have experienced first hand the vast differences and changes in the management of their town. Particularly for Punggol East which I have quite a number of friends and relatives who stayed there had complained profusely against the drastic drop of cleanliness in their neighbourhood.

Linking this situation to the AHPETC saga would naturally create negativity among the swing voters. Punggol East was thus expected to lose. As for Aljunied GRC, the adverse swing would mainly come from the negativity derived from the FMSS saga.

As for East Coast GRC, I would expect WP to win because I thought that those voters there would not have the bad first hand experience as those voters in Punggol East had. It would just follow the expected upward trending of increasing opposition support nation wide.

I also expected other opposition parties would fair better and we might see non-WP MPs in parliament this time round.

I was proven half right. WP did lose Punggol East and Aljunied GRC did have an extremely close fight. WP nearly lost, only won by a razor thin margin. But I was proven wrong about the isolated effect of the AHPETC saga and the upward trending of opposition support. I have underestimated the combined effect of Pioneer Package and the lost of middle ground voters' confidence.

Of course, some of the people I have spoken to, were practically laughing my predictions of WP losing Punggol East and Aljunied GRC having a close fight. Especially for the editors from TR Emeritus. They thought that it was due to my bias against WP which made me to come up with such predictions of loss of WP in Punggol East.

Some even thought that WP would win Aljunied GRC with INCREASED margin, citing reports that survey done on the ground has shown that very few voters regard AHPETC as important. I told them that it just needed a mere 5% of SWING voters to regard that as important, that will already be a killer.

Well, apart from WP's results, I guess if I have known that there would be a great National swing against opposition, I would have given this GE a big miss and save a lot of money!

Nevertheless, I will learn from this GE2015 that no matter how people want to isolate themselves from other "opposition" parties, all Non-PAP parties will always be viewed as one by Singaporeans.; those middle ground swing voters. It will be a wishful thinking that we could effect a clear differentiation between the different opposition parties.

All for one, one for all? Some of us may not want to think that way, but that's what the middle ground voters think.

Goh Meng Seng

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Press Statement on SGH Hepatitis C Mass Infections

Date: 11 Oct 2015

For Immediate Release

Press Statement on SGH Hepatitis C Mass Infections

SGH and MOH Should Take Full Responsibility and Do the Right Things

First and foremost, our deepest condolences to the families of the patients who were dead due to the outbreak of Hepatitis C mass infections in SGH. We also empathize with those families of frustrated patients who are infected and suffered from Hepatitis C infections which may have long term impact and implications on their health.

We are angry with Ministry of Health’s (MOH) and the Health Minister’s, Mr. Gan Kim Yong, obfuscation over this serious incident. MOH and Mr. Gan should take full responsibility for the failure of making public the information on the incident immediately when SGH informed them in late August.

PPP noted SDP commented about the issue. But we would like to look at the issue beyond the political angle --- this issue is so serious and it should be beyond politics. We share the point made by Singapore Democratic Party that there are reasons to believe that such deliberate delay of release of information in late August was based on political consideration of the impending General Elections. We condemn such act as it puts PAP’s party interests on top of public health interests. Such decision is totally irresponsible as it puts public health at risk.

PPP noted that Mr. Gan said he wanted to maintain “transparency” but such 'transparency" of delaying of information release is undesirable as it put patients to SGH in health risk directly, and Singaporeans indirectly. If this is the kind of “transparency” Mr. Gan is trying to maintain, we would be utterly disappointed. We urge Mr. Gan to make a public apology and step down for failing to inform the public in a timely manner. Such low standard of “transparency” would put even more Singaporeans at health risk if there were to be other major mass outbreaks of infectious diseases in the future.

PPP noted that MOH has stated in response to criticism that hospitals are to report on Hepatitis infections only for acute cases. We wish to point out that MOH’s standing order and protocol are totally outdated and show that it has learned nothing from the SARS outbreak in 2003. Any mass outbreak of infectious diseases should be reported and made public as soon as possible regardless of its nature. If there isn’t any standing protocol for immediate reporting of the cluster outbreak of such infectious diseases like Hepatitis C, which may result in serious complications as well as liver cancer, then we question MOH’s competency in its regulatory role.

MOH should review its standing protocols to include mandatory report by hospitals within a stipulated time if there is any suspicion of outbreak of any infectious disease. Such information should be made public immediately to keep patients alert while investigations are carried out concurrently. This is the level of professional standard of transparency we expect from MOH and all hospitals.

The information released by MOH and SGH so far seems to suggest that they are free from any forms of human errors or negligence. We find the report incredible and we hope this is not the standard of “ownself check ownself” logic which was promoted by PAP during the General Elections. 8 lives had been lost, and that has to be investigated by police as they are coroner cases, before one can rule out foul play or negligence.

The report by SGH suggested that the infections were most probably caused by multi-dose vials. As pointed out by SDP, all renal patients would have been screened for hepatitis before their kidney transplant. Thus there must be human error involved either the screening were not done properly, SGH staff has contracted Hepatitis and infected the patients or that there are lapses in the administration of injections of insulin into the patients.

It is incredible for SGH’s report to blame only the outbreak on the use of multi-dose vials without mention of human errors and lapses. We understand that such mention would have implications on SGH’s legal liabilities towards the patients and the families of those who died of the infections but it is important to be upfront and forthcoming on such matters and review its staffs on the safety of their current practices.

Regardless of whether it is due to human negligence or inappropriate protocol set for the administration of injection from multi-dose vials, we feel that it is totally inadequate for SGH to only be responsible of the treatment of Hepatitis C of the patients without mention of any compensation made to those who were affected. Hepatitis C is not just an ordinary infectious disease which can be easily cured. Some may be affected for the rest of their life. Although no amount of money could compensate the grieve of losing one’s love one but at the very least, the government and SGH should demonstrate their sincerity in making amends of their mistakes which have caused death and sufferings to the patients.

What was done cannot be undone and it is totally unfortunate for this outbreak to happen. The very least MOH and SGH could do is to be open and transparent in their handling the aftermath with the aim of reviewing the inadequacy of current protocols and administration so to improve public health safety in future. At the same time, we hope that SGH and MOH would assume all responsibilities of this outbreak and make appropriate compensations to the patients and the families of the dead.

Goh Meng Seng

Secretary General
For Pro-Tem Committee
People’s Power Party.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Press Statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

For Immediate Release
Press Statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

1) The conclusion of the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) has been announced by the President of United States as well as our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 5 Oct 2015. However the negotiation was done in total darkness of a black box operation in which, up till now, there is no formal public revelation of the details of all the 33 Chapters embedded in this agreement.

2) While the Minister of Trade and Industry Mr. Lim Hng Khiang has painted a rosy picture for Singapore SMEs to benefit from this TPPA, but we know that for every Free Trade Agreement, there will always be tradeoffs for every country.

3) It is inadequate for our Prime Minister and Minister to only talk about the potential benefits of TPPA without telling Singaporeans the tradeoffs we are going to make in return.

4) We urge the PAP government to make public all information with regards to TPPA as early as possible so that debate on this extremely important FTA could be carried out rigorously. We note that the government is obliged to make public the details of this agreement within 30 days from the signing. We would expect PAP government to fulfill this obligation.

5) It would be more helpful if an independent panel of academia, economists and experts could be set up to explain the potential implications of all the 33 Chapters.

6) We are particularly concerned over the impact on the income growth as well as job prospects of all Singaporeans, medicine cost, cost of living and population growth.

7) We are also concerned on the social and national impact of TPPA. In particularly, will TPPA give overwhelming powers to big corporations and MNCs to dictate our local legislation based on compliance clauses stated in it?

8) People’s Power Party is against black box operations for any legislation or ratification of any Free Trade Agreement without much transparency, open debate and scrutiny. If TPPA was proven to be overly controversial, we would want a referendum over its final approval.

9) We hope that PAP is more forthcoming and transparent with all the information of TPPA and do not shy away from public debate over this agreement.

Goh Meng Seng
Secretary General
For Pro-tem Committee People’s Power Party

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

GE2015 Reflections - The Pendulum Swing

There are prominent people who have talked about the unfairness of the electoral system and blame this as the main reason for bad result of opposition in GE2015.

A letter has been sent to UN and a petition has been raised by Gilbert Goh while Dr Chee Soon Chuan has raised the point of the need to revamp the whole electoral system before we could have any meaningful contest.

While I agree that there are a lot of unfair practices within the current system, like PAP was given prior advanced knowledge of where the polling stations would be situated while opposition parties were made to wait. ... etc. , but the fundamental question is, 70% of Singaporeans allowed this to carry on. They didn't view these unfairness as a BIG DEAL.

In fact I think that this is a wakeup call to opposition parties that internet which has been viewed as the important tool for Democratic development is really over rated in Singapore's context.

The Myth that progressive increment of support for opposition from 2006 to 2011 is due to post-65 voters which will peak at 2017 and that will bring about political change for Singapore should be discarded. Even young voters, first time voters might have switched their votes to PAP.

The brutal truth derived from this year's GE is that majority of Singaporeans do not have a strong belief of the need of Democracy or Democratic development for our country. This is the fundamental reason why PAP can go on gerrymandering and vote buying using government funding but yet get away with all these nonsense; because Singaporeans allow it to do all these without repercussion from the poll.

This is why I concluded earlier that for my party, we may have to put in more effort in promoting our belief of Separation of Five Powers as the tenets of Real Democracy. When political education on Democracy is lacking, we will never have enough Singaporeans who really believe in Democracy to help us evolve and develop Democracy for Singapore.

Having said all these, PAP should not be too happy. The reason is that they will be facing an electorate who has no loyalty or political belief of any sort, except of self interests. The swing voters could swing as they like or dislike. They will become more demanding and policies will naturally have to become more populist.

Such a big swing signifies a bigger variance and may become a source of instability for PAP. It will become a big pendulum swinging to and fro. This may just become the biggest source of uncertainty and instability for us all.

Goh Meng Seng

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Loss of Middle Ground's Confidence

Did opposition as a whole lose the confidence and trust of the middle ground voters? If so, what makes them lose confidence?

Following my previous posting on GE2015 reflections, the next pertinent question we need to ask ourselves is why would the middle ground voters abandon opposition parties altogether with that fear of PAP losing power?

Many opposition supporters took potshots at the front page report of PM Lee making the remark that if opposition party took power, Liao Lah (we are finished ) but I find that expression struck the core fear of the middle ground voters.

Whether we like it or not, the AHPETC saga has instilled doubts and even fear into middle ground voters' mind. While those supporters in WP wards were struggling on whether to keep opposition MPs in parliament or not, other middle ground voters were frighten with the prospect of having opposition parties forming the government with the lingering doubts over AHPETC saga.

AHPETC saga at best, will be viewed as an issue of competency. But even at this optimistic level, it is unacceptable to the middle ground voters.

Serangoon Gardens and Kovan area used to be WP strong ground even since GE 2006 and the swing towards a losing ward for WP is really alarming. By right Town Council management only affects HDB dwellers and these private house owners should not be affected at all. However these voters have swung against WP and this can only be explained by the erosion of confidence in WP's Corporate management of AHPETC.

Thus it is a gross understatement to say that AHPETC has little or no impact on GE2015. I believe that the AHPETC saga has in fact created fear and loss of confidence of most middle ground voters throughout Singapore.

Linking this AHPETC saga with the perceived prospect of PAP losing powerdue to reasons as explained in my previous posting, it created a massive swing of votes from the middle ground which leave us with only the base support of hardcore opposition supporters.

In GE2011, the entry of Chen Show Mao has instilled confidence in the middle ground voters and the whole opposition enjoyed a vote swing towards it. But this time round, unfortunately the reverse happened.

It may take us years or even more than a decade before we could restore such confidence again, unless we take pro active measures to win back their confidence during these few years.

Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Post- GE2015 reflections

I have been going through my thoughts over the GE results, the implications and what lies ahead for Singapore and opposition parties for these few days.

It is interesting to note a couple of important observations and contradictions:

While many people agree that the FEAR of PAP not forming the government made the middle ground swing their votes towards PAP, but we know PAP has been playing this card for past GEs as well. The most important comment made by Goh Chok Tong was "Freak Elections Result" in 1997.

Strange enough, instead of having that "cry wolf" effect, this time round this "cry wolf" tactic really worked. Was it because of LKY passing and this really made people scared? Was it because there was a coordinated effort by the Mainstream media which really projected that perception of "opposition gonna to win big" and this was echoed by the new media and opposition supporters themselves, coupled with huge turnout for WP and SDP rallies that made this "make belief" really turn out well?

The second strange thing is where everybody talks about the need to have "opposition unity" in terms of merger or alliance... whatever, orr even have shadow cabinet, just to show that opposition ready to take over the government, BUT won't this enhance the FEAR of PAP will lose power in the face of stronger opposition front?

Now, if this "freak election result" was the result of the middle ground voters being frighten off by the thought of PAP losing power, how would the projection of an even BIGGER and STRONGER unified opposition front help to convince them that PAP will not lose power? Can putting up a shadow cabinet help to assure and address these middle ground voters' Fear?

The other reasoning says that we should go back to "by election" strategy. That is a bit absurd. Comparing to GE2011, the only difference now is that Tg Pagar has been contested! But yet in GE2011, opposition as a whole fair pretty well!

Besides, I have said that it is important that we have all seats contested so that all Singaporeans can exercise their voting rights. It is an important process because no matter how the votes turn out to be, everyone will go through the process that empowers them and makes them think hard of the Nation's future. This process alone will enhance our citizenry (especially when we are having a lot of New Citizens since 2000) and make them realize that they have a stake in this country. It is part of building up National Identity. Thus I do not agree to compromise on that in return for "better chance of winning".

Some people opined that opposition must put up strong candidates etc so that we can win. But I believe it is precisely that opposition has spread their talents all over Singapore, creating the perception that there is REAL possibility of opposition parties winning in various wards so much so that it frighten off the middle ground. eg Singfirst Tan Jee Say in Tg Pagar, SDP CSJ and Paul T in Holland Bukit Timah along with the 28 seats of WP and if we add in Mountbatten, Bishan TPY, Tampines and CCK which has decent scores in GE2011, the total number of seats add up will be more than half of the seats.

Although we know that apart from having well known individual politicians in these teams, the overall team formation may not be "fantastic" but I guess it really creates an irrational fear in the middle ground voters. Only this can explain why this "Cry Wolf" tactic has become more "credible" and the fear was really invoked this time round.

My view is that this election is FREAK in every sense because the results were based on irrationality and fear rather than realistic expectation.

The fact that last GE has created quite a number of well known opposition individuals like Tan Jee Say, Dr Ang YG, Jeannette Chong, Gerald Giam, Yee JJ, Lee LL, in addition to Dr Chee and Prof Paul T etc joining the contest, the overwhelming combined effects along with the powerful over-population issues and the over-zealous of political parties and supporters rallying "VICTORY" all over the internet, all these have really helped PAP to create fear successfully into the middle ground voters' mind. In Chinese terminology, 物极必反. When something goes to the extreme, it will reverse and bounce back, backfire totally.

My take for this GE result is, chill. It is an unintended freak election results which were caused by multiple factors. We just have to see clearly that the strategy of putting up "sure win" political posturing will backfire on us. We just need to rethink on the strategy and messaging. Some of the things are out of our control but some of the things we could do better.

Last but not least, one important observation made. PAP has never wanted to debate about THEIR policies because they know they will be cornered into a defensive position. They have avoided all challenge of policy debates but at the same time, they attacked those parties which put up too detailed policy options (i.e. SDP and Singfirst).

I was careful not to put up POLICY manifesto and when the reporters keep asking for it, I felt extremely fishy! I will only put up "Election Manifesto" just like what PAP did (not that PPP does not have any policy stance) but will challenge PAP for policy debates.

In short, winning policy debates is really different from winning elections. PAP has been using this strategy of avoiding policy debates while cherry pick on opposition parties' policy views and attack them ferociously. Just have to fight smart against them.

Goh Meng Seng

Sunday, September 20, 2015

End of Journey Start from Fresh

End of Journey Start from Fresh

I believe many opposition politicians from my generation feel the same way, we might have come to the end of our political journey in the sense that, in view of the current electoral results, we may not be walking into parliament during our lifetime.

However it doesn't mean we should end here. It would be overly pessimistic that opposition politics will have no more hope. Politics is a long drawn battle.

We may have come to our end of journey but we have to lay the Foundation for the future generations of politicians and activists to take over the baton. We just have to pass it on.

So hang on there my fellow opposition politicians. We still have unfinished business to do a proper handover.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Campaign Trail - The Final Count Down

Campaign Trail - The Final Count Down

Needless to say, it is an exciting day as this is it, the Nomination Day.

I have mixed feelings for this Third Electoral Battle of mine.

Frankly speaking, I was a bit hesitant to form a new party in May because we expected GE to be held before end of the year. Likely date was 12 Sept and it was expected to be so.

Nevertheless, the dice was cast and the decision was made. Here we are, People's Power Party - PPP.

Within two months, we scrambled to get things done and we are proud to say that we are doing pretty alright. From flags, flyers to posters, we get it done.

It is not an easy journey and I believe not many would want to go through it again unnecessary without good reasons. It is really a little miracle that we have come so far.

My team may be small but they are passionate in what they are doing. They are passionate to get this contest going, regardless of what it takes. And yes, fortunately, our team is growing.

Nobody believes we can make it this far, but we did. And it seems that we will continue to fight and the momentum is growing.

I was asked by some reporters what do I expect the result would be, I say it out loud here, We Fight To Win.... and Win Shall We!

Many thanks to volunteers and supporters out there. It would have not been possible without your passion and selfless contributions towards our effort. We owe you for our little miracle here and we shall repay you by putting up a good fight!

Goh Meng Seng

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Campaign Trail - Foreign Labour and Population Policy

Campaign Trail - Foreign Labour and Population Policy

Foreign Labour and Population Policy (FLPP) still remains as the SUPER HOT TOPIC on the ground when we went around CCK.

Interesting enough, I have met FIVE different groups of people so far, putting up their grievances about this FLPP.

1) The first group of people is of course Singaporeans who are EXTREMELY Angry of Singaporeans being displaced by cheaper foreign labour and forced to drive taxi or suffers "underemployment". These people will not show up in government statistics as "unemployed" but the truth is, these PMETs are UNDEREMPLOYED.

2) This group of Singaporeans are angry about the crowding effect of overpopulation and the cultural conflicts caused by excessive foreign population growth. This is a big potential time bomb and it has become BIGGER than a mere problem of "integration".

3) This group of Singaporeans are those with foreign spouses. PAP government has refused citizenship/PRs to their foreign spouses or give long term visit passes to their foreign parents to come to Singapore so that they could take care of their children. This is due to the "low income" criteria that ICA set for such cases. The irony is that while PAP government discriminated against lower income earners in marrying foreign spouses but to the lower income earners, the only option for them to get married is to marry foreign brides!

4) This group of Singaporeans were born in Singapore but they have siblings who are born elsewhere (eg. Malaysia). They wanted to get their siblings to come and live with them, even willing to be their sponsors but ICA has ruled against it! This is basically inhumane!

5) This group consists of SMEs owners who are "victims" of people pressuring PAP government to tighten FLPP. They seems to blame "opposition parties" for it but I have to explain to them that it is PAP's mismanagement of the FLPP and quota system that created their problems.

I also explain to them that they should take active steps to review their company or factories' processes to increase productivity while cutting down dependency on extensive labour. MOM should coordinate and monitor such improvement made to SMEs. SMEs may lack access to technology or expertise which are used in other countries and MOM or SPRING should be playing a more active role in consultancy work to help them to further improve processes. Productivity growth continues to be low because PAP government only throw money after tons of paper work and bureaucracy. If a SME has really reached a high level of automation but still have difficulties in employing local operators, then MOM should allow them to increase their quota. This should be done case by case basis.

MNCs and GLCs hardly have any problems in employing Foreign Labour and some have extremely favourable quota to start with. The irony is that these jobs are mainly PMET jobs which Singaporeans desire and want to do but PAP government has allowed them to be displaced by loose quota.

Ironically, PAP government has set very high workers' levies on jobs which Singaporeans shun away (eg. Construction)

I also find it extremely CRUEL and Inhumanely inconsiderate for ICA to make it extremely difficult for middle-lower income Singaporeans to get PRs or citizenship for their foreign spouses. It is ironic that some of them whom are from lower income household, could not get citizenship for their foreign spouses and ended up paying more for everything just because their PRs or just long term visiting pass status.

I am not entirely against FLPP but I believe, we should do it responsibly and with a right direction. I would want to GROW ORGANIC local families with foreign spouses and would not mind giving citizenship to these foreigners who are married to Singaporeans.

It would be totally ironic to see foreign labour from India or PRCs allowed to bring their whole family to Singapore to reside and getting PRs so easily just because they earn higher income or subject to the liberal FTAs signed with their home countries while our local Singaporeans' foreign spouses were discriminated against, due to the lower earning power.

Foreign spouses of Singaporeans will integrate into our society much easier than those foreign labour who bring in their whole family from foreign land. I really cannot understand the rationale behind such discrimination against our own Singaporeans at all.

Last but not least, we should set up a "Recovery from Underemployment" mechanism to help those who are really underemployed (eg PMETs turn taxi drivers) to get back to work in the field of their expertise again.

Goh Meng Seng