Yesterday night, Channel NewsAsia aired a Political Forum, which the PAP, SDA, SPP and WP attended. I’m not sure why the NSP and RP were not invited to the English version. Perhaps too many parties and no time.
Anyway, this is a summary of the televised forum, and I agree with it.
The representative from the SDA, Assistant S-G Mohd Nazem Suki, was difficult to listen. He couldn’t string up a complete sentence, and looked nervous throughout the show. Maybe he wasn’t used to such a context. But nervousness and inexperience are excusable; the points which he squeaked hardly make sense. He talked about mixing “commercial” and “public” issues, and while I know where he is getting to, I still don’t have a clear picture of where the SDA stands. Oh, and I predicted the SDA’s obliteration at the polls.
For SPP’s Lina Chiam, it is obvious she did not have a complete grasp of policy issues etc. Similar to the SDA, SPP has not much to offer. Lina Chiam is contesting in Potong Pasir, and this is the interesting part: how are the residents there voting? Based on personalities, or the party’s platform? It seems Potong Pasir is an opposition ward only because of Chiam See Tong’s personal popularity. Their party, at least from yesterday’s forum, is severely short of details what they would offer in Parliament.
I think there is a huge chance Potong Pasir might revert to PAP control. Once Chiam See Tong leaves, residents might decide to give THEMSELVES a chance to enjoy the upgrading etc, which a PAP MP can perhaps better provide. And once Potong Pasir votes white, it is likely to be wiped off the electoral map. Sad huh. Would Lina Chiam win on her own? Maybe, maybe not, that’s why Potong Pasir is going to be a battlefield SMC.
The best performers from the opposition side are SDP’s Dr Vincent Wijeysingha and WP’s Gerald Giam. The former is sharp and articulate. His arguments are good, but he can’t resist scoring political points like bringing up ministerial pay and Mas Selemat’s escape. Well, expected of politics. The PAP side did not really whack the opposition (and they had MANY opportunities), and Finance Minister Tharman was gentlemanly in his manners. He even lent support to the opposition, by saying that more of them is good in Parliament. This is the PAP at its finest.
Gerald Giam was consistent – that opposition MPs (specifically only the WP’s, I guess) are in Parliament as an insurance for Singapore. This is the basic message of the WP – them as an insurance. And from their position as the strongest opposition party, this message might be hammered on the swing voters.
However, I disagree with the New Nation’s article that the SDP’s electoral performance might improve. One is that they seem to be contesting Yuhua, Bukit Panjang and Holland-Bukit Timah – a puny total of 6 seats, compared to 20 candidates as declared by WP. Of course the SDP might win one seat or the entire GRC, or end up as one of the top losers, but I’m doubtful if voters will take to them in the first place. Hmm.
I’m disappointed NSP wasn’t on the show, because I think they might perform well in the elections. Oh well, watch the Mandarin version tonight.