Saturday, March 12, 2011
Singapore Cannot Lose 新加坡输不起
There are a lot of comments on my previous post on Friendship and Politics. Terrence from New Nation has even written a pretty critical article on my blog post. I have made a comment on his article as well.
How opposition parties contest is an important National issue because at this stage, it involves the critical development of the Nation's political landscape for Post-LKY era.
There are a few points I would like to put forward which I believe represent the aspiration and expectation of Singapore voters at large:
1) Singaporeans want to have credible opposition MPs in parliament
2) Singaporeans want opposition to win at least 1 GRC so to put pressures on PAP
3) Singaporeans do not wish to see 3 corner fights especially for GRCs.
4) Singaporeans want to vote, wish to see as many seats contested as possible.
Many people have mistakenly perceived my previous blog post as "attacking" fellow opposition party WP. Those who have met me during my ground work would know very well, whenever I meet people staying in Aljunied or East Coast GRCs, I would naturally encourage them to vote WP. How would I be attacking a party which I promote?
As I have explained to Terrence of New Nation, when I wrote that blog post, I was writing as a normal person, not a politician. It was true feelings that I have expressed which includes my frustrations of how things went wrong.
As I have mentioned, I regard Mr. Low Thia Khiang very highly as my political mentor while I was still with WP. Even till now, I would still respect him as my political mentor. I believe he too has the soft spot for his ex-student like me when he said he has given up WP's "first choice" because he knows I am going to contest there. Thus, WP chose Moulmein Kallang as the target for its expansion plan.
However that is really the crux of the problem.
I think most people really think too much of my blog post. The Zaobao reporter actually thinks that I am hinting WP is trying to block NSP because NSP is becoming a "threat" to its position. That is just that bit too far off. The truth is, when the space within the eastern corridor is so packed, two opposition parties enjoying growth will definitely face each other in a situation of 3 corner fight if they don't want to move towards the "untested" territory in the WEST.
NSP has done its part. Although NSP has generally been contesting and working the ground in the eastern corridors like Tampines and Jalan Besar (which is now split into Moulmein Kallang and Whampao), in order to avoid clashes with WP, we have started our expansion plan in the wild wild west, Jurong GRC which was not contested in 2006. We have tried to avoid WP's traditional ground like Aljunied and East Coast.
The clash of 3 corner fight is inevitable because unfortunately WP has taken up a totally different strategic approach from NSP. WP chose to stay put and expand in the eastern corridors which inevitably step into "traditional turfs" like NSP's Jalan Besar. Mr. Low Thia Khiang has even indicated that WP's first choice was Tampines.
That is why I say I would understand why it is inevitable that both WP and NSP will end up with 3 corner fights, in the eastern corridor.
In both NSP's and WP's perspectives, the mid-eastern part of Singapore would have more "fertile political land" basically because most parts in this area has been contested in past GEs. Consistent GE contests would naturally improve political awareness and consciousness of voters.
When good people like Tony Tan and Hazel have shown interests to join NSP and contest in the coming General Elections, as the co-leader of NSP, it is my duty to make sure that they will get a reasonably good fertile ground to work on.
In order to protect Tony and Hazel's team from 3 corner fight in Moulmein Kallang, I have even offered their team to stand in Tampines but both of them have declined the offer immediately citing the reason that I have worked so hard on the minister-specific strategy on Minister Mah for so long and I should stay put there. They decided to contest Moulmein Kallang instead, which is the other ground which NSP has worked on consistently for the past decade.
I believe that both WP and NSP are responsible and credible opposition parties which would make due considerations in terms of national interests to avoid 3 corner fight in Moulmein Kallang GRC in the spirit of trying to enhance Singapore's political landscape by trying to send good and credible people into parliament. This could only happen if and only if we could provide them a reasonable good fertile ground to work on.
It would be sad if both WP and NSP have two teams of good people clashing in a 3 corner fight. This is especially so when there are other constituencies like Sembawang GRC which will go uncontested for the coming GE. NSP has done its part in deciding that the team which is supposed to contest in Nee Soon GRC would be withdrawn from there to be deployed somewhere else.
Any opposition parties, including NSP, could afford to lose elections, but Singapore cannot afford to lose, to lose the opportunity to send in good and credible people into parliament. I just hope that in the coming days, the negotiation will have fruitful outcome that will serve the Nation's interests as a whole.
Goh Meng Seng