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


Anonymous said...

I agree with you that whether opposition use by election strategy or contesting 100% seats, PAP will still win big.(at least 90% seats)

Simply because majority (aka 70%) Sinkies see no point in voting for parties which are not ready to be govt!

Hougang and Aljunied are exceptions only because of the "Low Thia Khiang sympathy effect".

And this basically means it is more of a sympathy factor for longest serving opposition MP Low, as it may "pained"(or "very sayang") for many to see even him or Hougang also lost, and with that, a 100% PAP Parliament, which is also not desirable. But even then, WP also nearly lost Aljunied too.

So my advice to Goh Meng Seng, since he is no Low Thia Khiang, is that if he seriously wants to be in politics to win, he must first be able to lead a party which can contest 100% seats as one party and ready to be govt!

So Goh Meng Seng, are you able to do that? If not, you will continue to lose if you continue to do like what you have been doing.

Anonymous said...

People were receiving messages on their mobile during the 2015 GE that there might be a new PM after midnight. "tonight midnight we will have a new PM and his name is change to AM". People got scared.