The recent news of National Solidarity Party’s (NSP) secretary general Hazel Poa resignation plastered with her downcast facial expression this morning, came to my sight as I flipped through my Straits Time newspapers. It was a smart move by the mainstream media to use the situation to PAP’s advantage. Moving the focus past that, I was more curious about what made NSP gave up both areas when they could have fought for at least one, even if it meant a three-cornered fight.
And if NSP had taken up the initial offer by WP, it would not have even led to the sudden resignation by Ms Poa. However, I can empathize that it was most likely because NSP did not want to give up Marine Parade GRC which they had won in 2011(by such a close margin of 43%). Workers Party (WP) could also have chosen to not contest in Marine Parade since they very well know it was rightly NSP territory.
The outcome of this entangled mess was 1) MS Poa’s resignation who “strongly disagreed” with NSP decision to re-contest in MacPherson SMC and 2) NSP’s return to MacPherson SMC due to support and appeal by the residents from the constituency which very well means a three-party fight which could result in the increase of PAP’s chance of winning.
To give a fair picture, WP did contest in Joo Chiat SMC (in 2011 which they nearly won), and the area has now been absorbed into Marine Parade. This could be the reason why they wanted to contest in Marine Parade GRC this year. Still, NSP were the ones that rightfully contested in Marine Parade in 2011, and WP is already contesting in so many seats. Why not give way to other parties who gave way to you before?
Having said that, if NSP had taken up WP offer, there would not be 3 parties fighting, and furthermore, if WP had not snatched stepped into NSP territory, NSP may even do better this year than their 2011 43% Marine Parade constituency performance.
What does all this show? WP may feel they can easily win Marine Parade GRC this year since NSP were on the verge of winning in 2011. Since we are the most established opposition party and have prominent supporters, the smaller parties will most likely give way to us. To give some insight, NSP had also similarly given up Moulmein-Kallang GRC to WP in 2011.
WP are very smart in a sense where they stick to their plans and play the waiting game, letting the action and drama play out in NSP which affects only NSP’s image, not theirs. Lesson 1, the one who strategize in the long-term, instead of making quick decisions rashly, only gains to win. Bigger shark eating smaller fish. Lesson 2, more power = more control over the playing field = less prominent parties will give way to us. Does this mean more parties will have to give way to WP in the future?
Another reason for the three-cornered fight in MacPherson SMC could also be the oppositions thinking they can win MacPherson because of Ms Tin Pei Ling’s presence. Yes, Ms Tin Pei Ling may have faced negative backlash 4 years back, but it seems like her image has matured, and she has become more level-headed.
Furthermore, she just-so-happen to give birth during the pre-election period – which could be an X-factor to draw in more voters, since she is a new mother; and is active even during this post-partum period which usually, is set aside as a resting period for a mother’s recovery.
“We have five years. If after five years, Tin Pei Ling remains what she is, then of course, she would still be a factor at the next election. But at this stage, looking at her action, in three years time, she would be a different Tin Pei Ling.” It seems like what Mr Goh Chok Tong said in 2011 did came true, and Ms Tin Pei Ling did persevere to stay on in the political scene. Let’s see if she her effort will pay off and prove her haters wrong worth in September 🙂
It’ is quite uncanny isn’t it that this saga involved 3 prominent women figures? 🙂
And lastly, the burning question – is there opposition unity in Singapore? On one hand, separate parties contest when they could have a higher chance of winning if they actually decided to combine forces or stop creating newer ones. On the other hand, the opposition parties meeting and the fact that most parties gave way to each other to prevent three-cornered fight, do show the mutual respect and amity, majority have for each other.