Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Responses to Media Enquiry on Mr Lee Hsien Loong's Criticisms of Opposition

My responses as follow:

Do you agree that the PAP should set the standard and the opposition held accountable to it?

Why should PAP be the player, the organizer who set the rules and standards as well as the referee or judge at the same time? Let the Voters be the judge and I believe they have their own standards set out for opposition parties as well as PAP. As the ruling party, whether it likes it or not, voters' expectation and standards will be set at very much higher level. Rightfully so because PAP has the power and resources to do what it is supposed to do as a ruling party.

2. Has the role of the opposition evolved post-2011? Is it perhaps too old to use the "check and balance" function as a platform to run a campaign on?

Whether the role of opposition has evolved in post-2011 depends very much on voters' expectation. But one interesting sign I have observed is the rising of civil activism which is non-partisan in nature. The non-partisan social-political activists have been leading the charge on social-political issues like the 6.9m Population White Paper issue as well the Return-Our-CPF protests. These activism may have unintentionally put pressure on political parties to step up to reclaim their rightful role as political opinion leader in articulating more coherent policy views rather than sitting on the sideline as passive political free-riders. If they fail to do so, they would be seen as ineffective even as an agent for effecting the "check and balance" function and it will be very unconvincing for them to sell this idea of "check and balance" function as their front running campaigning theme.

My view is that, "check and balance" is the inherent rightful role of any opposition party all around the world in any democracy. In Singapore's context, it is still a relevant campaigning theme as the result of the GRC system, the highly disproportionate number of opposition MPs in parliament vs the total percentage of votes opposition has garnered will always be a critical imbalance which Singaporeans need to address. This will inevitably falls on the urgent need to correct this insufficient and inadequacy of check and balance function in our system. However, the contrast cast by non-partisan social-political players have put serious doubts on opposition parties' effectiveness as a player to provide such function. If opposition parties don't buck up to show that they could lead the charge at the front of check and balance function, they might lose their legitimacy as the important component or element to effect the function of check and balance. Voters will be disillusioned by their passiveness in comparison.

3. As a check, how well do you think the major opposition in Parliament, the WP, has done?

No comment. I will leave it to voters to make the judgment. But as I have expressed in my answer to your previous question, all opposition parties including WP will have to buck up to play a more pro-active role as a check to the PAP government if they do not want to be considered irrelevant by voters.

4. What challenges do you see besetting a centrist party like the WP in the upcoming election?

IMHO, there are three challenges WP has to address in order to convince voters that it is still the BEST Choice of opposition parties to be voted into parliament:

a) WP has to address and provide immediate remedy to the erosion of its most important CORE COMPETENCY aka Political Capital in Town Council management.

b) WP has to demonstrate its ability to keep its promise to achieve its last GE aim of "First World Parliament". Up till now, the mediocre parliamentary performance of WP's MPs will inevitably make its past GE Manifesto of "First World Parliament" to come back and bite it. This is made worst by the contrast provided by those non-partisan social political activists.

c) Economics is always WP's weakest link in its policy deliberation but in Singapore's context, Economics precedes every other policy matters. WP will have to find ways to improve its economics learning and articulate its economic policy views more coherently and effectively.

5. Opposition parties like the SDP have responded by saying they do have alternative visions. Do you think the SDP's manifesto in particular is workable? Can all parties say they have alternative visions?

I do believe most political parties have their own alternative Visions, whether it is based on Democratic Values, Economics logic, Social Welfare perspective or otherwise. Apparently, PAP is more focused in its attack on opposition parties' Economic Visions.

On the surface, opposition parties may express their own Visions based on their core beliefs and values. However, it would not be fair for PAP to attack opposition parties' inability to deliberate on the finer details on such vision because they do not have the privilege of the ruling party in getting vital information as well as civil servants to help them in researching and formulating their full policy details.

I reserve my comments on SDP or any other opposition parties' manifesto as it will take a long debate to articulate the plausibility of their plans.

6. Mr Lee is framing the upcoming general election as a national one, not just a local one, and one that will be a "deadly serious fight." How do you think this message will wash with voters?

I would say that with due respect, Mr Lee is already a LATE COMER in realizing that past GE2011 as well as the two by-elections we had since 2011 were already fought on National issues instead of local ones. eg. HDB and transport issue in GE2011. I believe voters will not only vote according to what they feel about National issues but will also consider who are the candidates put forward by the various parties. I do not believe PAP will lose power totally, even though it may lose more seats.

Even if PAP is to lose over 50% of seats, it will still remain as the dominant party with the most seats because at this moment, all opposition parties won't be able to contest more than half of the seats alone, least all the seats. The Constitution will require the President to call upon the Dominant party to form the government, be it a coalition or a minority government.

Thus, I do not think voters in this era, with more knowledge of how politics work, would be intimidated by such exaggeration by Mr. Lee.

Goh Meng Seng


Anonymous said...

Thus, I do not think voters in this era, with more knowledge of how politics work, would be intimidated by such exaggeration by Mr. Lee.
Goh Meng Seng

But 60% are intimidated by the prospect of an opposition being voted in as govt and not being ready for it.

Bumiputra said...

If the alternative government is made up of people like Sylvia Lim, then the fear is just find.

This Singapore Workers Party rally video clearly demonstrates their lack of integrity.