Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The People's Action Party lost its first battle after 15 years of monopoly of power since independence in 1981 Anson by-election. Mr. JB Jeyaratnam has dented PAP's strong hold of power back then. In 1984 General Elections, PAP lost two seats in total: Mr. JBJ retained his Anson seat while Mr. Chiam See Tong won Potong Pasir beating Mah Bow Tan hands down with a respectable 60% of valid votes.

Ever since then, PAP was worried about losing more seats in the years to come. They squeezed every drops of brain juice they have, from suggesting some people may have two votes instead of one to tweaking the electoral system. Eventually, they came up with this BRILLIANT idea of GRC. Basically, the GRC system literally up the stakes for every electoral contest.

They have succeeded in preventing losing more seats in 1988 GE with a close shave of winning Eunos GRC with Workers Party's Team losing by merely 1%. Predictably, they are so dependent and addicted to the GRC system that they subsequently increased the size from 3 to 4 and eventually created the giant 6 man GRCs. It basically up the stake further just like a gambler who thinks he will sure win all.

Of course, PAP has very thick skin to ignore all logical criticism of its "kiasuism" (mentality of being afraid to lose). At one point of time, the Prime Minister even proudly joke openly about Singaporeans being "Kiasu" (afraid to lose), "Kiasi" (afraid to die) "Kiabo" (afraid of wife). However, ironically PAP has become like a gambling addict who keep increasing its stake in electoral contests.

It is indeed a paradox. While PAP is afraid to lose, it thought that it could prevent losing by increasing the stake for all. The most ironic argument I heard during this GE 2011 is that PAP has actually accuse Workers Party of making things difficult for Aljunied voters by "forcing them to make difficult choice". It could even be interpreted that WP is "holding voters at ransom" by fielding Mr. Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim together in Aljunied GRC.

It is PAP who is trying to hold Singaporeans at ransom by setting up the GRC system. Not only did it try to use HDB upgrading as the carrot ransom, it also uses subtle threats of depriving voters funding for various services. The ultimate ransom is the argument that the Nation will lose two ministers plus one Speaker of Parliament along with one potential ministerial candidate.

But wait, isn't this PAP's own doing? It tries to gamble big by putting TWO ministers in Aljunied GRC. In fact, it is gambling away its "ministerial talents" by putting ministers in each and every GRCs! It just thinks that Singaporeans will not "sacrifice" its ministers and thus those who contest along with these ministers will have a safe passage way to parliament.

PAP's high stake gambling habits has cost it dearly. If you think the cost of this gambling is merely two or three ministers, think again. The implications of this lost in Aljunied GRC is much wider and deeper.

First of all, which PAP minister would be willing to risk their million dollar pay to contest in Aljunied GRC next round in the bid to win it back? Even George Yeo and Lim Hwee Hwa have bowed out of the game! Would it mean that once a GRC is lost, PAP will never be able to win it back again?

Secondly, after this defeat, how could PAP convince "high flyers" to quit their jobs like BG or superscale civil service positions to join them and promise them a safe passage way to become ministers? There is no longer SAFE Passage to parliament. BG Tan should understand this very well!

Thirdly, even the recruitment of backbenchers for PAP will face problem! No more hiding behind heavy weights so to walk into parliament safely!

Last but not least, there are several GRCs in "danger zones" which opposition parties have achieved more than 40%. These include East Coast GRC, Bishan Toa Payoh GRC, Marine Parade GRC, Tampines GRC, Moulmein Kallang GRC and Nee Soon GRC. There are two GRCs which are near 40%: Holland Bukit Timah GRC and Choa Chu Kang GRC.

It basically means that PAP will be fire fighting in all these places next round and I do not think it has enough ministers to have two ministers fielded in each of these GRCs. If PAP is not careful enough, it may face the possibility of losing more ministers.

It will be double whammy for PAP. On one hand, it will not be able to attract and convince talents to join its rank while on the other hand, it will keep losing ministerial talents.

PAP will do the same thing they did in the mid-1980s: think of some genius way to prevent the tide of losing more. They may try to raise the stake again (well, maybe turn Singapore into only 5 GRCs, North South East West and Central GRCs) or implement the one man two votes system for people who reach certain age. Else the only option is to go for some kind proportional representation.

Implementing proportional representation system may see PAP's percentage of seats dropping in parliament but it will help to prevent any further loss of ministers.

It seems that the implementation of proportional representation system would benefit Singapore. It will make sure that our parliament will maintain diversity of views for better debates on policy issues and at the same time, secure enough ministerial candidates to serve the nation.

The PAP has lost big time for GE 2011 and I hope that it will wake up in time to carry out the necessary electoral reforms to embrace diversity and cater to Singaporeans' urge of having more opposition voices in parliament.

Goh Meng Seng


Anonymous said...

you forgot about one thing:

by taking on the whole island, PAP had to spread its resources thinner.

Also, when it change the boundaries, if it changes the boundary to suit one team and ensure that teams win safely, there will be one side that will be risky. the joo chiat smc is one case.

So, it means, besides solving economic problems, it has more electoral problems to solve.

And it cannot avoid seeing another nicole seah that plays in opposition favor since the pap is really the bad guys these days.

so, it is a good idea that all vote and the opposition wins one constituency by 1 constituency.

Anonymous said...

Sound like a sour grape post. Of all things you said, bottom line remains that PAP won all except 1 GRC. Lost big? Nah, opposition lost big, as usual.

I think there are a good portion of Singaporeans still prefer to stick to PAP because they recognise what they've done, which is a fair judgement.

I don't buy the theory that more opposition means policies will be more diversed because policies are debated hotly in parliament anyway, it doesn't arrive without debates and ministers are not stupid, their views are diversed to start with. One example is the casino issue which split the cabinet.

I do not think strong opposition is good for singapore because else a lot of time and effort will be done fighting for positions instead of thinking for better policies for Singapore. To me, that is a waste of resourceful. Dont u want a government who spend more time in thinking how to move the country forward? Do I think current happiness is necessarily to be sacrificed for prosperity? Absolutely. I think we can't have the cake and eat it too. I believe in postponement of enjoyment can be a good thing at times.

Amused said...

Not only did PAP lose a SMC and a GRC, it also lost a SM and a MM.

Further, if you compare only the vote swing in wards that were contested in both 2006 and 2011 elections, it is probably closer to 10% than the overall swing of 6.5%.

Anonymous said...

PAPs only vote for PAP bills in paliament. There is a condition that they would not vote against PAP bills. However hot the debates between them, when come to voting, they are still 'united'. Too many of us are still being fooled by PAPs.

Anonymous said...

Why do you want to do a post-morten for PAP ?

Anonymous said...

1) Which minister dare to contest in Aljunied GRC in GE2016? Good point. But if the PAP is crazy enough, they put LKY and GCT to contest...

2) No safe passage into parliament for civil servants high flyer. This is also a good point.

All oppositions must start working the ground NOW and "attack" on all fronts come GE2016 or else PAP may have the breathing space to re-org. Make sure they got no "tiger-force" to go around reinforcing the battle grounds.

One worry is the western part of Singapore. i believe the demographics there you will find many more newly minted PRC citizens! But i have friends who know of new citizens (formerly PRCs) whom voted for the oppositions! Strange but have :-) See if you can recruit new PRC citizens to run as candidates, because i am damn sure the PAP will!

All Singaporeans, the fight is not over! PAP was and still is more interested in Sinagpore, the state (empty shell) than Singapore, the people. If they can, they will dump the 4 million of us true blue singaporeans into the south china sea and balak start Singapore, the state, all over again. Because there is only 4 million of us but there are 6 billion people in the world! This is how i feel about them!