Category Archives: FB Notes

Opposition blah blah…but where is the VOTER?

Reading this article [http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC110307-0000163/Deep-fissures-behind-Opposition-bravado] is interesting. It attempts an analysis of the opposition parties. But it might be flawed. Even for a law professor.

 

 

At a time when the parties should be resolutely covering the ground in the areas they are contesting, they are still undecided as to who would carry the flag for the non-PAP camp in 11 out of 27 electoral wards.

Any seat with more than one Opposition contestant is a sure recipe for splitting the non-PAP vote bank and, subsequently, defeat. Yet, some parties seem to be holding out for as long as they can for the turf they are eyeing.

 

An explanation which most people could reasonably accept. Granted the author might be analysing from the opposition’s perspective, but it’s disappointing he didn’t even raise a point on the voter’s interest. What’s the impact on voters? Good or ill? And their reactions to these potential three-cornered fights?

 

 

In part, the disarray reflects the fact that more parties are likely to contest this GE than in 2006. Quite a few parties are either very new or very small, or non-existent between elections. They lack resources to mount an effective campaign but they want to contest. The other part of the matter is, even as the electoral battle against the ruling party looms, egos, ambition and boardroom politics are getting in the way of any concerted strategy.

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because there are more worms on the other side! Again, the article missed an important point on why ‘very new or very small’ opposition parties have come out to contest the elections. There must be a reason. Sadly, the author did not try to explain, even briefly.

 

Certainly, raising the stakes for Opposition contestants is the fact that the next Parliament will have to up to nine Non-Constituency MP seats for the best-performing Opposition losers. So it is no surprise that of the 12 SMCs – seen as easier routes to the NCMP seats, with the ruling party less likely to field a ministerial heavyweight there – the parties have reached agreement on only Potong Pasir and Hougang, both now Opposition-held, and two other SMCs.

The implication is that an opposition candidate factors in a NCMP seat for his consideration in where he chooses to contest. Perhaps. But unlikely, because from electoral trends, the NCMPs have consistently come from GRCs, where the margin of victory by the PAP was narrow. In contrast, in Potong Pasir and Hougang, the opposition MPs have won convincingly elections after elections, due to their hard work and personal popularity. Single-seat wards attract more contests, because they are easier for opposition candidates to become FULLY-elected MPs, rather than GRCs, because of their sheer size and homogenizing effects which are difficult (but not impossible) for opposition parties to overcome.

 

Instead of spewing nonsense here on FB, for my first and probably last time I thought of responding to the article, and I was surprised when Today published it, albeit edited [http://www.todayonline.com/Voices/EDC110309-0000152/Three-way-fights-good-for-voters].

 

I REFER to the commentary “Deep fissures behind Opposition bravado”, (March 7). Assistant Professor Eugene Tan argued that three-cornered fights in some constituencies reflect fragmentation among the Opposition parties. He believes only the People’s Action Party would benefit from such fights.

However, the voter’s interest is not mentioned. In a ward contested by three or four parties, the voter has a wider range of choices such that he can cast his ballot for the party (and its ideology) he most prefers. A straight duel between two parties denies him this wider choice.

Also the voter’s interest in an election can only increase where there is greater political competition, and three- or four-cornered fights should not be discouraged purely for misconceived notions of “Opposition unity”.

Asst Prof Tan also noted that “very new or very small” parties contribute to the current state of Opposition disunity. Perhaps one reason for their emergence from nowhere is opportunism, and if it were true, that could mean they think sufficient Singaporeans are discontented with the Government and are eager to capitalise on it.

Lastly, Asst Prof Tan suggested that Single-Member Constituencies (SMCs) are “easier routes to the NCMP seats”.

History shows, however, that only one NCMP (Mr Steve Chia in 2001) had fought in a SMC, while the others, like Ms Sylvia Lim in 2006, had battled in GRCs anchored by ministers. So, it is more accurate to say that SMCs are an easier route for Opposition candidates to become fully-elected MPs, thus attracting three-cornered fights.

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Bukit Batok

Recently I’ve been interested in psephology, the statistical study of elections. It is an imprecise science, but economics is also dismally inaccurate at times, so I’m not deterred by its lack of predictability power. As I’ve lived in Bukit Batok most of my life, and for many of my family (grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts etc, which makes CNY visits so convenient) even decades, I was curious about the voting trends of Bukit Batok residents.

Bukit Batok as a distinct ward appeared on the map in 1972. From my understanding, Bukit Batok was once a collection of slums, shops and factories which was developed into a town in the late 1970s (when my grandparents shifted from their kampong into their current HDB flats). Luckily the scenic Guilin quarry and Bukit Batok Nature Park were preserved. Anyway, these are the results of elections since 1972:

1972 – PAP vs. UNF: 73.78 to 26.22 percent

1976 – PAP vs. SJP: 84.57 to 15.43 percent

1980 – Uncontested

1984 – PAP vs. UPF: 78.27 to 21.73 percent

1988 – PAP vs. SDP: 55.94 to 44.06 percent

1991 – PAP vs. SDP: 51.82 to 48.18 percent

1997…Bo liao lor! Magicked into Bukit Timah GRC, walkover

2001…Apparated into Jurong GRC, contested by SDP: 79.75 to 20.25 percent

2006 – Walkover

From 1972 to 1984, the PAP MP Chai Chong Yii fended off attacks from three different parties, scoring more than 70 percent of votes each time. He also happened to be a junior minister. Considering that Bukit Batok was a relatively new town in the 70s and 80s, residents probably voted for PAP so that they would receive attention and resources for development. Hence in 1988, when Bukit Batok was more developed, and Chai was replaced by a fresh PAP candidate, Dr Ong Chit Chung, more residents might have been willing to vote for an opposition candidate, especially for one whose leader was already in Parliament (Chiam See Tong). However, the 1980s and 1991 elections saw a nationwide drop in support for the PAP, so Bukit Batok was falling in line with national trends.

In 1991, four single-seat constituencies were lost to the opposition with a concomitant fall in popular votes for the PAP. They were Potong Pasir (69.64), Hougang (52.82), Bukit Gombak (51.4) and Nee Soon Central (50.33). As we all know, the former two are now considered opposition strongholds tied to their respective MPs’ personalities, while Bukit Gombak and Nee Soon Central were subsequently retaken by the PAP in the next elections. Furthermore in the 1991 elections, a few PAP wards came perilously close to falling into opposition hands. They were Braddell Heights (52.27), Bukit Batok (51.82), Changi (53), Eunos (52.38; 3-men GRC) and Nee Soon South (52.76). All of them went into the Vanishing Cabinet in the 1997 elections. Hmm.

To put the fight in Bukit Batok into a more micro perspective, the total number of invalid votes AND number of people who did not turn up (voting is compulsory in S’pore hor) were larger than the PAP’s narrow margin of victory. History might have changed.

So I nearly live in a would-be opposition ward, lol. But anyway, Bukit Batok, as part of Bukit Timah GRC and then Jurong GRC, saw only one contest in 14 years. Not even my MP’s death in 2008 led to by-elections. Later, two Nominated MPs tried to move a motion for the govt to ensure by-elections would be called once a MP resigns or passes away. One might think it is commonsensical, but it is fully the PM’s discretion to call or NOT call elections, even if the seat remains unfilled. This is despite a straw poll taken, where more people agree than those who disagree that by-elections should be held. But PM Lee responded vaguely, and so Dr Ong’s seat remains vacant to this day.

Actually ah, with or without him, life still goes on in Bukit Batok. Maybe it’s very developed now, so most amenities are up-to-date. I’ve an uncle who is a RC chairman, and from him it seems the other four MPs in Jurong GRC have no problems taking over Dr Ong’s Meet-the-People Session duties as well as other routine matters. As for a voice in Parliament, we’ve other MPs to speak up. I don’t really know how to make of this. So is my MP important in municipal issues and in Parliament? PM Lee’s refusal to call by-elections seems to suggest that the whole team can still work without one MP.

As I argued before, voting establishes a citizen’s connection to S’pore. By picking our leaders, we’re putting our stakes in this country, creating a bond which cannot be replaced by what ‘sharper distinctions’ between citizens and PRs (like raising school fees for all, but hey, PRs have to pay more than citizens!). Furthermore, the GRC team was elected as one package, and if one or more of them is gone, it seems fair for them to go back to the voters to decide whether they should continue. Even if residents in Jurong GRC voted for this team because of PAP reputation and policies, so the loss of one member does not affect how the PAP would lead the country, it also seems reasonable that by-elections should be held to gauge the support of the govt in its mid-term. Unless the govt afraid…

Malaysia has been suffering from by-elections fatigue, while S’pore has no by-elections, even with the deaths of two MPs. Strange huh, S’pore likes to see itself being superior to Malaysia, but in this area we seem to be lagging. Fortunately in this elections, Jurong GRC is likely to be contested by NSP and perhaps RP. Wow, suddenly got so many choices. But I’m not voting :S

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More than 70/87 seats to be contested

Channel NewsAsia has reported that ALL seats would be contested by the opposition [http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1114574/1/.html]. I hope their report is accurate, because to me, it seems to be ‘most seats’, not ‘all seats’. ‘All’ is an absolute term which is quantifiable i.e. 87/87. I don’t know who is the reporter who wrote the article, but he or she should be more careful of using such an absolute term lol.

 

As I’m curious, I compiled a list of which party is going to contest where, based on Channel NewsAsia reports. Electoral wards which are in bold means there might be more than one opposition party contesting them.

 

WP:

– Aljunied (5)

– East Coast (5)

– Moulmein-Kallang (4)

– Hougang (1)

– Joo Chiat (1)

Punggol East (1)

Sengkang West (1)

– Whampoa (1)

 

Total: 19

 

Reform Party:

– West Coast (5)

– Chua Chu Kang (5)

Radin Mas (1)

– Pioneer (1)

Hong Kah North (1)

 

Total: 13

 

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP):

– Tanjong Pagar (5)

– Marine Parade (5)

 

Total: 10

 

NSP:

– Tampines (5)

– Jurong (5)

 

Total: 10

 

SDA:

– Pasir Ris-Punggol (6)

Punngol East (1)

Radin Mas (1)

Seng Kang West (1)

 

Total: 9

 

SPP:

– Bishan-Toa Payoh (5)

– Potong Pasir (1)

Hong Kah North (1)

 

Total: 7

 

SDP:

– Bukit Panjang (1)

– Holland-Bukit Timah (4)

 

Total: 5

 

Constituencies which have not been openly staked: Ang Mo Kio (6), Nee Soon (5), Mountbatten (1), Yuhua (1), Sembawang (5). However, according to previous reports, it is likely Yuhua will be contested by NSP, SDP or RP (or together). SDA has previously identified Mountbatten too. Sembawang was contested by SDP in the last elections, so it might return there again. As for Nee Soon, WP’s Organising Secretary Yaw Shin Leong through his blog has implied that WP might be contesting there. SDP might enter the fray, as part of Nee Soon was drawn from Sembawang.

 

So it seems only Ang Mo Kio GRC, anchored by PM Lee, remains competition-free. Lol, Channel NewsAsia, who is going there? Assuming that one party has the guts to challenge PM Lee, that means every eligible S’porean would have the chance to vote!

 

The last time every single constituency was fought over was in…1963! Back then Parliament was known as the Legislative Assembly, and Singapore was still a state in Malaysia.

 

One might be puzzled why there are so many opposition parties in S’pore. Strangely enough, the DPP, which emerged from its ten-year-long nap, wants to take on MM Lee and SM Goh. Obviously they can’t win, because both of them are sufficiently popular. To expose its (new) candidates to electoral fights? Or to give voters a choice? What is their ideology, what are they going to do? No one knows…yet.

 

The opposition parties are not all the same. Of course, common to them runs the theme of political reform i.e. less restrictive rules on public demonstrations. Other than that, most S’poreans do not know about their ideologies or policies. It is during the campaigning period, or even now, that we can expect them to publicise about their stuff. This is good for S’poreans, because in a competitive market, with a wider range of choices, consumer welfare ultimately improves, even if the quality of some products is dubious. But to each to his taste, and having a choice is better than no choice at all.

 

Having said so much, I’m glad my ward (Jurong) will be contested, though I can’t vote. Oh well, at least I can attend the election rallies.

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Budget III: GST and Special Employment Credit

[FB should do something about the Notes features here. I can’t set up hyperlinks :(]

 

Anyway, Finance Minister Tarzan, I mean, Tharman Shanmugaratnam has responded to various questions which MPs have posted about the Budget. Despite calls to cut GST to control inflation (at best a temporary measure), he reaffirmed the govt’s position on this issue: that indirect taxation will gradually replace direct taxation. He also emphasized the importance of productivity as a key driver of income growth (like, duh?), and on the topic of social mobility or income inequality, he flashed out many examples to illustrate the govt’s priorities regarding it.

 

Both the Finance Minister and Workers’ Party MP Low Thia Kiang have valid reasons on GST. It is true GST is a regressive tax, it hurts the poorer than the rich because the former has a larger marginal propensity to consume. He is right in saying the poor (and during the debate, he said ‘middle-class’ too) is disproportionately affected by GST. On the other hand, Tharman has statistics to back himself up – that the lion share of GST comes from the top 40 percentile of households and foreigners (I’m assuming he includes tourists, but I thought they got duty-free shopping i.e. GST rebates?). It makes sense, since the rich consume expensive, big-ticket items which will then send more GST revenue to govt coffers.

 

Actually ah, most S’poreans don’t pay direct taxes. And it’s good, because then we can choose what to do with our income (I guess most of us spend it…which goes into GST lol). So indirect taxes are one of the ways to fund govt revenue, or who’s gonna pay?

 

While I agree multi-rated GST for different items, or essential vs. luxury goods, is administratively burdensome, I don’t see why it can’t be reduced AT ALL. Personally, I think stuff like food should be cheap. Yes, the govt might show that food is a small component of total household expenditure, but when prices of food increase, people feel the pinch in the first few months before resigning themselves to it. I can’t think of the right words to phrase it. Maybe I should call it psychologically damaging for basic food like your zi char or char siew rice or whatever to have higher prices. The psychologist Maslow has a pyramid of needs which I think is quite enlightening. People need food to survive, and while S’pore isn’t starving, making food cheap eliminates the anxiety of some households who have to worry about meals.

 

If I were the Finance Minister, I would abolish the GST on common vegetables and rice. If the supermarket chains or market stalls try to gay siao and do not reduce prices to pre-GST levels, I’d set the dogs on them.

 

As I mentioned, cutting GST is no solution to inflation. Ensuring that income growth increases more than inflation IS the correct way, as the Budget has done correctly. The GST is a scapegoat for inflation problems 😦

 

Secondly, Tharman talked about ‘inclusive society’ and ‘opportunities’ etc. Generally I agree with the govt’s direction. Raising productivity will increase income growth, and everyone will be happy. But I’m disappointed that he did not address one particular group’s problems: the trinity of ‘low-income’ (according to Workfare, it’s below $1700), ‘low-skilled’ (hmm, secondary education and below?) and ‘old’ (a little tricky, after late 40s?).

 

I’ve been having my lunch at the cheapest place one can find in Raffles Place for the past three weeks, and when the cleaners come to clear my plates, I always wonder how much they earn. It’s a tough and dirty job, and I doubt they are paid alot. How much? $600 per month? Furthermore, the cleaners I see are usually white-haired uncles or aunties. Hence they fit into my category of the trinity.

 

The govt always talk about retraining, job redesigning or raising productivity. But seriously, how much productivity and retraining a cleaner can achieve in a hawker centre? Uniform, checked. Gloves and boots, checked. Best soap, checked. Maybe smile. Checked.

 

Or not just the cleaner, but a recently retrenched production factory worker in his late forties, low-skilled. He is retraining under the Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) to be a security guard. He earns $1600 a month for his family of four. Under the WSQ, he can obtain a license, followed by a supervisor’s certificate, then finally a diploma. If he’s good, he might become a security manager and he can earn more than $2500 a month. Well, does that happen to EVERYONE?

 

There’s nothing wrong with being a cleaner or security guard or technician or storeman or dunno what. The pay might be low, the conditions might be bad, and there’s little room for improvement. Having a JOB is more important than being unemployed, with nothing (except for the bohemians and ascetics lah). Some people think a minimum wage is the best solution – EVERYONE will have a minimum salary of $1200.

 

I disagree, because it 1) raises cost for business and eventually for consumers, 2) it doesn’t solve the trinity situation, because a minimum wage might force some companies to close shop, resulting in fewer jobs, and 3) it is usually a political solution to a very economic problem.

 

Hence there is the Workfare to ‘supplement’ income – but I think it is too little. However, the Special Employment Credit is a hint of what is to come. The scheme pays half of employers’ CPF contribution to older workers (actually ah, older workers have lower employer CPF contributions, so it doesn’t cost THAT much to the govt), if the employers continue to hire these workers. Effectively a job subsidy i.e. govt pays companies to continue hiring older and presumably low-income/low-skilled workers. Some improvements might even be the govt paying up to 90 percent of employer CPF contribution, or paying 20 percent of wages a la Jobs Credit 2009.

 

This is where I think the Special Employment Credit should be made permanent into the Permanent Employment Credit. The trinity workers will continue to have employment, and with Workfare payments (should be higher in my opinion), I think they will have better lives in one of the costliest cities in the world.

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Voting and national identity

Yesterday night I watched Channel Newsasia’s Talking Points, where opposition party figures and PAP MPs were invited to a talkshow hosted by two Mediacorp journalists. Unlike Taiwanese talkshows, this Channel Newsasia talkshow was milder, shorter and perhaps less interesting. But within the brief 30 minutes or so, the politicians managed to press their points succinctly.

 

I was amused when NSP secretary-general Goh Meng Seng set a small trap for Michael Palmer, an Eurasian PAP MP. If he were to win the election as a minority candidate in a single-member constituency, Goh pointed out, then the objective of the GRC system to ensure minority representation seems redundant, because minority candidates can (and do) win based on their virtues. Palmer was only saved by the host, Debra Soon, who urged her participants to focus on the topic (election strategy). Hmm.

 

Last year I mentioned before in a note (I’m too lazy to find the link) that the govt’s attempts to sharpen the distinction between citizens and PRs doesn’t go a long way in boosting a sense of belonging to the country. Right, PRs and foreigners have to pay more for education, healthcare, housing etc, but what forges a true sense of national identity lies in the political realm i.e. the right to vote.

 

News reports carry stories of S’poreans in their fifties voting once or twice only! Let’s assume that an ordinary S’porean’s lifespan is 80 years. Between the legal voting age of 21 years and his death at 80 years, and also assuming that Parliament is dissolved every 5 years, he should be able to vote 11 times for the general elections, and 9 times for the presidential elections (held every 6 years). If a S’porean who is 50-year-old and has voted twice only, that means he or she has not voted for nearly two decades. Granted that he might have all the rights and privileges of citizenship, Growth Dividend handouts, the power of the Red Passport etc, the fact that he has hardly exercised his right of choosing his representatives is THE missing link between a sojourner and a native with a deep sense of belonging to the country.

 

I was once told that if I can’t defend my home, I don’t own it. Similarly, if people can’t choose whom to represent them, they won’t be interested in the affairs of the country.

 

It’d be too easy to blame the opposition parties for being unable to produce candidates to contest every constituency. There is some evidence that since the implementation of the GRC system, fewer S’poreans have the opportunities to vote. It is shocking that some constituencies like Tanjong Pagar GRC have THREE consecutive walkovers – residents there have not voted for more than 15 years. No one is sure if any opposition party would contest that GRC. Maybe it’s because of the logistics challenges. Or that MM Lee is the team leader. Or because of first-past-the-post system i.e. win by 50.01 percent can secure an entire GRC of 5 seats, that makes it so hard for the opposition to capture a GRC.

 

The GRC system, for good or ill, will stay in S’pore for as long as the PAP remains in power. But it as an impediment to S’poreans exercising their rights to vote, it is somewhat accurate.

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Electoral Boundaries

Electoral boundaries are out, and one analyst on Channel 8 news suggested that as the ASEAN Summit takes place in May, it is likely elections have to be before then. The ASEAN Summit will be followed by a series of meetings like the ASEAN + 3, ASEAN Regional Forum etc, and all heads of states will usually attend, so PM Lee would be too busy in May. Of course, elections could be after May, but I’m betting the final date will be sometime in April.

 

Singapore is a democracy. Yeah, many will object to me saying this, but ironically, despite Singapore’s reputation as a one-party state, authoritarian regime etc, Singapore is the ONLY country in Southeast Asia to hold regular elections since independence. Singapore has never experienced military coups (Indonesia, Thailand), martial law (Philippines), suspension of Parliament or emergency rule (Malaysia) or disallowed multi-party elections (Vietnam, Laos).

 

Enough of the history lesson. Returning to the topic of electoral boundaries, in a democracy, all constituencies should ideally have an equal number of voters. This is to ensure fair representation, so one ward doesn’t have more voters, resulting in a greater amount of political influence. However, in reality geographical divisions play a huge role in the drawing of boundaries. For example, the coastal states in the US are more populous than that of the mountainous ones, so states like California have more say in choosing the President.

 

In Singapore, we don’t have rural-urban, mountain-lowland, jungle-grassland dunno what you can think of divisions. We are a city-state, highly urbanized and fairly distributed (i.e. no mass congregation in any part of the island). Most of us live in public flats. On the surface, Singapore can be easily split into 100 seats with equal number of voters.

 

However, the recent electoral boundaries are as always puzzling. All of a sudden the single-member seat of Yuhua pops out in the middle of Jurong East. I understand the need for Punggol East or Seng Kang West, because they are growing towns. But Yuhua, Pioneer, Hong Kah North, Radin Mas etc are matured neighbourhoods. These wards are also small in population size, and peanuts compared to the GRC mammoths.

 

With vast differences in sizes, the SMCs and GRCs exercise disproportionate influences in elections. For example, ABC ward has 20,000 voters, and two parties are in a close fight. 5000 are fence-sitters, and these 5000 will hold the fate of the outcome in this ward. On the other hand, there is a XYZ 5-member GRC of 100,000 voters with fierce competition as well. 5000 are fence sitters too. For the former, 25 percent of voters hold the fate of 1 MP; for the latter, 5 percent of voters hold the fate of 5 MPs. The principle of fair representation is eroded here, with a huge percentage of voters in small wards having the chance to decide electoral outcomes, while a small percentage of voters in large wards might cause heart attacks.

 

The govt has argued strongly for the past twenty years that GRCs legalize the election of minority candidates. But in the first place there are easier ways to ensure a minimum percentage of minority candidates to be fielded.

 

Furthermore, the govt might be playing politics in the drawing of boundaries. Districts from Aljunied GRC have been carved out and absorbed by Ang Mo Kio GRC – and Aljunied was the previous election’s ‘battleground’ GRC, creating suspicions that districts which rooted for the opposition were deliberated added to ‘safer’ wards. The argument of ‘population change’ is really bland.

 

Oh well, not as if I’m a newcomer in Singapore.

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Self-destruct

The Straits Times today roared with the headlines “Nine members leave Reform Party”. Not just your ordinary members, but five of them were from the party’s highest decision-making body, the Central Executive Committee; and some of them had been introduced to the public as election candidates. Whether the resignations will affect the party’s electoral performance is uncertain. But the damage has been done: in Singapore where the dominant rule of the PAP is partly due to its internal strength, fragmentation in any opposition party will dent the overall reputation of the movement. Singaporeans are used to stability and firmness in politics, and impressions of disunity and chaos are the opposition’s worst nightmares.

 

I’ve read the Reform Party’s online press release and the response to it by its ex-members. Apparently they had some undisclosed disagreements, followed by a leadership tussle in which one faction decided to quit. Incredibly, this party had held a ‘pre-election rally’ at Hong Lim Park in January, and some who had spoken on stage then are no longer with the party just a month later. The series of events which is unfolding now is as complicated as it is dramatic.

 

What should the ordinary S’porean take note of this? It’s unlikely the Reform Party would fight a vigorous campaign with the departure of some potential candidates just a few months before elections might be called. Kenneth Jeyaretnam, the secretary-general of the party, declared before in a press interview that his party aims to contest in places where there have not been electoral fights for a long time, such as West Coast GRC. Though it might be too soon to pronounce failure, for now Jeyaretnam has to ensure he can carry out his promise. With the exodus of the party’s election-calibre candidates, the party also has to deal with a double whammy of reasserting its credibility, that it is here to stay for the long-term. If it fails to do so, then S’poreans will be denied an alternative political choice, leaving the PAP to continue its dominance, for good or ill.

 

The biggest gainers from this latest opposition fall-out is, of course, the PAP. From last year to now, the few hot-button issues have been largely neutralised – 1) the govt has intervened in the markets of private property and HDB flats, 2) PRs and new citizenships have been halved, 3) and inflation, while threatening to erode purchasing power, has been temporarily resolved with the recent Budget handouts. Lastly, however, is MM Lee’s remarks on Malay/Muslim integration – I don’t know if this would be a key issue if Malay-Muslims are not satisfied with the ‘official’ response. But all in all, the ground is sweet for the PAP to maintain status quo or even seize one opposition seat, which looks extremely unpredictable.

 

The Reform Party’s self-destruction just made it easier for the PAP. Oh well.

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