This GE will be the most interesting in years and the Opposition seems poised to make heavy inroads into Parliament. But before that, Opposition parties need to first sort out the friendly-fire and now all parties are going through difficult but crucial horsetrading talks. However, the aftermath of the confidential meetings do not paint a rosy picture and the Worker’s Party’s rigidity on their area of contest is now a thorny issue to settle. I feel all parties should take a step back and WP in particular should show Singaporeans the grace of a true leader.
Based on reports, WP will not budge on its decision to send a team to contest Marine Parade GRC, where the NSP had lost narrowly to the PAP in the 2011 General Election after garnering 43.4 per cent of the votes. This led to serious tensions with NSP and at one point, one NSP member allegedly even threatened to challenge the WP in Aljunied GRC.
Looking at these developments, it is disappointing that Opposition Unity is just a fantasy that is unlikely to happen anytime soon. First, NSP is super rigid in its claim for Marine Parade just because it competed there previously and had worked the ground ever since. Even when WP offered them MacPherson in exchange for Marine Parade, they refused. Second, just because WP competed in Joo Chiat SMC which was subsumed by Marine Parade GRC, they now declare ownership over Marine Parade and refuse to give way to their smaller allies.
People like me who vote religiously against the unawakened 60.1%, we slam the PAP for being an arrogant dictator that shuts his ears to the cries of the people. Just because the PAP is the biggest and most powerful authority in Singapore now, they have no time for lowly peasants and throw aside our concerns as trivial and continue to suck us dry despite our pitiful cries for help. This is why we Singaporeans are crying out for a benevolent and humble leader to govern us, that even when in power, they will stay in touch with the people and listen to the feedback of the “weak”.
Likewise, WP is the biggest most established Opposition on the block and from their surprise claim over Marine Parade GRC, they don’t seem to take in the feedback of other smaller parties, especially those that already have claims there. This is a worrying behaviour. I thought WP would concentrate on Jalan Besar or East Coast but they end up eating into NSP’s “‘territory’ too. This just doesn’t feel like a gentlemanly act towards others.
With everyone’s limited resources, shouldn’t it be wiser for WP to focus their resources in East Coast and Jalan Besar rather than stretch themselves into Marine Parade and alienate other Opposition parties? Afterall, it is how we act when we hold immense power that shows the true mettle of a person. For now, WP holds this power and the hopes of all Opposition supporters and it would be wise to think long term and gain the support of all other Opposition parties in future General Elections to come. If WP were to give way in Marine Parade GRC this round, WP will show Singaporeans its grace and demonstrate what true Opposition Unity is and it is not lip service. Otherwise, some will think WP bully kecil and breed distrust within the Opposition ranks.
Singaporeans want to see Opposition rise but more importantly wish to see benevolent Opposition rise and not a party that is going to end up acting like the bullying arrogant and dictatorial PAP. Hoping for a last minute resolution to our conflicts and for everyone to think long term for Singapore and not be too eager to score goals at the expense of stepping on others.