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