Some realities of the ground for the opposition:

1. They lack capital. This should be the most apparent, but the PAP is vastly wealthy and have a lot of formal and informal networks of power and leverage that they can employ.

2. They lack volunteers. The PAP has two main systems that they employ. The first and less important one is their various PAP branches around Singapore. The second is the PA and their GROs. They are the ones who work the ground and keep the MP/grassroots advisors (PAP Members) responsive and able to respond to complaints.

3. Partisan government agencies. Firstly, there was the transfer of 26 public sites by the HDB from Aljunied-Hougang TC to PA. This again impedes the ability for WP to organise community events and to be more visible on the ground. The transfer also thwarts any attempts at doing events outside the aegis of the PA. Of course, these public sites still belong to the PA to this day. Another example was when Hougang tried to organise a trade fair – documents were submitted, but they lacked a letter of approval from the CCC, which is the top managing grassroots body in a constituency under the PA. Refer to number 2 as to why this is problematic.

4. Difficulty of operating outside of election time. Given the top 3 points, its hard for any opposition party to do something beyond walkabouts, ad hoc/short-term relief programs as they don’t have the permission to operate.

Essentially, the opposition faces the obstacle of regulatory capture: when different government agencies and statutory boards circumscribe the ability of the opposition to, in short, walk the ground. At the same time, these agencies advance the interests of the PAP, to the extent of ignoring the mandate that was given electorally to the opposition parties.

So for all those posts who complain that all the opposition does is talk, please allow me this PAP-ism and ask for constructive criticism: what can they do, given all the obstacles they face?

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