Wednesday, January 08, 2020
Party Interests vs National Interests
Party Interests vs National Interests
It is kind of strange that there are people who actually “blame” the planned alliance for causing “credible parties” to lose votes. It is even more strange when the very people would claim that the planned alliance is just too insignificant, alliance of “mosquito parties”, alliance of “fringe parties”....
People who know me would know that I hate and dislike hypocrisy.
I decided to work for an alliance not because I can “make credible parties” to lose votes. Right after GE2015, I did a deep reflection to understand why opposition as a whole, lost the elections with such great margin.
Voters were afraid to have PAP losing power while the opposition as a whole, did not have a coherent agenda or common policy platform to replace PAP as a ruling party. The messaging among opposition parties were disorganized, confusing, sometimes even contradictory and lack clarity. Most importantly, opposition as a whole has not put up a coherent and convincing showcase of good economic policies and strategies since 1965.
Singaporeans have voted PAP as ruling government with great mandate for past 6 decades despite of the injustice done to political opponents, increasing cost of living, sometimes annoying unfair practices etc basically because they have shown that they were able to bring food to the table, roof over the heads and relative prosperity to the masses while the opposition didn’t even have a credible ability to scrutinize some of the bad PAP policies like Asset Enhancement Scheme!
The only time voters gave opposition a good decent support was when PAP or rather LKY had made a grave mistake in its graduate mother priority policy back in 1984. Subsequently, Chiam See Tong challenged PAP on HDB pricing in 1988 and 1991... etc.
Some people ignorantly, mistakenly or deliberately misinterpreted the result of GE2015 to only focus on the first part of the reason, voters are afraid of PAP losing power but failed to recognize the second part of the problem.... the lack of common policy platform and disarray policy messages.
In contrast, in 2011, opposition performed much better because after I started the debate and fire on HDB issues, it became the KEY issue of the whole campaign. All opposition parties attack MBT and his mismanaged HDB policies and WP became the biggest beneficiary of such unintended coherent attacks on HDB.
Of course in 2015 GE there were other factors like AHTC saga and death of LKY which both directly influenced and enhanced the fear of PAP losing power and ended up with incompetent opposition running the country.
My conclusion of the GE2015 reflections includes two important points. The whole opposition as a whole, must unite and give confidence to voters that we have a common policy platform, not merely an alliance. This is especially so for Economic policies.
We still face a BIGGER impact of AHTC saga in the coming GE when the verdict is out and expecting more actions to be taken by the authorities. All these, we really do not have any control over the state of affairs with regards to AHTC saga. We just need to minimize its impact on all other opposition parties.
The only thing we can do is to unite and present a coherent force with a common policy platform and Manifesto. The best option is to form a grand alliance which can put up a credible economic policy platform. This will address the fear of PAP losing power with no viable option for better transition to change of power due to the disarray of opposition parties.
I repeatedly say that as a whole, opposition is not lack of talents. With regards to economics, the planned alliance has 3 individuals with good Economic and Finance knowledge. We can handle all economic policy issues quite competently. In fact, from my various engagements, I find that it is really easier to discuss economic policy issues with Tan Jee Say and KJ Jeyaratnam, as compared to other opposition leaders or candidates. Their grasp of economics is superb and I do not need to explain any economic terms theories to them at all, unlike my other experiences.
Thus, I always hold the view that many opposition leaders and candidates are actually grossly undervalued when we do not unite. People may sneer, smear and mock at our current planned alliance as an alliance of “mosquito parties”, but do remember, even mosquitoes can kill as well.
I believe this is a good healthy development for opposition as well as the Nation. A good government can only be sustained when you have effective opposition with competent knowledge and skill sets to scrutinize and debate important policies, especially economics policies in parliament.
Just like the HDB issues. Even though I am not elected into parliament, but my complete views on HDB has made PAP Lawrence Wong to take serious considerations and come up with subsequent policy changes and initiatives based on the problems and solutions raised by me. Although these policy changes and initiatives are not qute complete, but it is a good start as I have performed an effective role as opposition which effect good governance that benefits the country.
Thus, I cannot understand why these people are skeptical about the planned alliance. It is ok if they do not like it or support. But to further accuse the alliance will reduce the votes and support of their so call “credible opposition parties”, that’s a great insult and deliberate blame game.
We are acting on what voters expect us to do and the past GE has shown this is key point which resulted in our unsatisfactory results.
In fact, it is in the Nation’s interests for the opposition to regroup and reorganize ourselves in unity.
But it seems that most of these people are only concerned about individual “party interests” instead of looking at the big picture.
I do not like blame game and definitely not hypocrisy. When opposition parties as a whole failed to form alliance, the very same people would accuse us, the “mosquito parties” of having ego problems and reluctant to unite. The truth is, it is never so. We have started discussing about alliance way back in 2015 and we were excited when SDP invited Dr Tan to meet over opposition unity in July 2018. We waited patiently since then, even seek to meet the only existing alliance platform, SDA. We waited for months for SDA to agree to meet up but no reply.
So what else can we possibly do?
We invited Dr Tan PSP to join the alliance and lead us. But no reply.
Thus, we decided to build the platform first and would still welcome others to join later.
If all these will make other parties to lose support and votes, that’s really not our fault at all. It is hypocritical and unethical to put blame on us for other people’s problem due to their own decisions.
You either believe in Opposition Unity or you do not. That’s just extremely simple.
For people to comment that I don’t like this guy, so do not want to play with him, I say that’s pretty amateurish.
For the record, there was mutual dislike among PAP pioneer leaders. But as true politicians and statesman, they still chose to work as a core team because what they only care about is whether the other person could bring value to the governance of the Nation. Personal emotions of likes and dislikes were put aside. They weren’t going to get married to each other and live their lives together forever anyway!
That’s true meritocracy that had worked for PAP as well as SINGAPORE in the pioneer years. Look at strength, weaknesses and facts to make the best decisions for the country.
It is only when political players in Opposition start to change their extremely narrow mindset to think like a statesman, instead of thinking like a petty lot, then we can see some light in the development of opposition politics.
I respect other people’s decision not to join the planned alliance but ultimately we will have to live with consequences of our own decisions, instead of putting blame on others. We must always learn to be responsible for our own decisions and actions.
Goh Meng Seng