Dear The Workers’ Party, thank you for fighting so hard in parliament yesterday to protect Singapore and Singaporeans. My heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation.
Your efforts are sometimes not appreciated. For some Singaporeans, some might feel that the Worker’s Party had underperformed and decided to punish the Worker’s Party at the general election last year, and therefore did not vote for the Worker’s Party.
But do you know that it was because the Worker’s Party asked the important questions in the last few parliaments, which was why we can know today how the government has been taking our Medisave and MediShield to profit? Do you know that Low Thia Kiang had asked the government whether the government took the CPF to invest in GIC? Do you know that the Worker’s Party asked why the government was only spending 30% on healthcare and asked why the government did not spend 60% – which was the standard that other developed countries follow?
Do you know that the Worker’s Party also proposed unemployment benefits to protect the low-income and unemployed, and even proposed alternative solutions for healthcare, for education, etc?
Some might only receive information from mainstream media and questioned what the Worker’s Party had done, but have we gone to the Worker’s Party’s website to look at their parliamentary speeches or to read their election manifesto?
Some may feel that the Worker’s Party does not fight hard enough but for those who criticise the Worker’s Party, how many of us actually stood up and joined them, or to fight alongside them? If the Worker’s Party were to push harder, some might feel that it is too radical and might not support them. Yet, if they take the more conservative route, some might feel that they do not fight hard enough.
It is not an easy job for the Worker’s Party. Singaporeans have higher expectations for the opposition yet they also have a smaller bandwidth for what they expect the opposition should do. It leaves the opposition in a very tight spot.
Moreover, if the Worker’s Party fights harder, the People’s Action Party (PAP) ruling government would be more likely to act against the Worker’s Party as they did with past politicians, to possibly even sue or charge them. And if the PAP does so, will Singaporeans speak up for the Worker’s Party? The Worker’s Party tries hard to fight for Singaporeans but it has a very narrow zone to do so. To go too strongly will invite more criticism from Singaporeans and the wrath of PAP, yet to not do enough will also invite criticism.
As much as Singaporeans want others to fight for them, Singaporeans must also be willing to fight for those who fight for them. We cannot expect the Worker’s Party to fight for us when we do not dare to fight with them. Otherwise, isn’t it too easy to just point fingers?
Sometimes I ask myself the same question – I sometimes hope that the Worker’s Party will speak up more for me, the persecutions that I go through and that of the other activists. But I also understand why they do not. They do not associate themselves with people whom the government has framed as “troublemakers” because again, it is a very fine line that they have to thread – their supporters might not want the Worker’s Party to be seen with the perceived “troublemakers”. So, I understand the Worker’s Party, and the strategy they have to operate on, and I respect that they need to be careful. But even then, the Worker’s Party still spoke up for Soh Lung and I in parliament yesterday. Thank you.
The Worker’s Party spoke up hard for Singaporeans yesterday. They fought really hard to protect us. But there are only 9 of them in parliament. They fought damn hard – and I have never seen them fight so hard before – but there was nothing they could do.
When some people might feel that they could punish the Worker’s Party at the last election, we did not realise that we were actually punishing ourselves. Now that there are not enough people in parliament, who will fight for us now? The Worker’s Party tried very hard yesterday. But still, the PAP ran them over – there simply wasn’t enough opposition members in parliament.
Some warned that if we do not vote into parliament enough opposition, the PAP will turn against Singaporeans. Indeed, the PAP passed a law yesterday that makes it illegal for Singaporeans to speak up on ongoing court cases. This means that the PAP government can now unfairly persecute against those who speak up against it, and if anyone speaks up for these people, the government can now also persecute them as well.
So my question is, why did you allow the PAP to turn against you?
Yesterday, the Worker’s Party spoke up so strongly, because they believe that the new law will hurt Singapore and Singaporeans. It will also hurt the Worker’s Party. Can you imagine that if the PAP decides to create trouble for the Worker’s Party and take them to court again, the Worker’s Party will not be able to speak up for themselves? It is now illegal. You will not be able to speak up for them. It is now illegal.
The Worker’s Party fought so hard, but why did Singaporeans not care enough? Even Lee Wei Ling – former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew’s daughter and sister of current prime minister Lee Hsien Loong – asked why Singaporeans did not protest.
I am very grateful to the Worker’s Party for fighting so hard yesterday. They knew it was going to be hard but they stuck their neck out and fought. And I appreciate them for what they did.
For those of you who have always stood by the Worker’s Party, I am late in this. For the rest of you, please find you own way to thank the Worker’s Party.
Also, please look at the larger picture, and understand why the Worker’s Party does what it does, and their constraints. Singaporeans cannot expect the Worker’s Party to do more but will not stand up and join them. Singaporeans cannot also expect the Worker’s Party to fight harder but becomes apprehensive when the Worker’s Party does. We cannot have our cake and eat it.
Some people prefer the Singapore Democratic Party. Me too, my support goes out to both the Worker’s Party and the Singapore Democratic Party. They are two parties I deeply respect and I hope with my sincerest wishes and my wholeheartedness that they will win a lot more seats at the next general election, so that Singaporeans can be protected.
it is up to you now, Singaporeans. You have to decide if it is alright to live under an authoritarian government, as Lee Wei Ling spoke about, and lose your rights. Would you be willing to compromise on your rights and to keep quiet, when you know something is wrong, but still lose your voice and allow yourself to slowly lose your bearings and ethics? It is already happening.
There are people who fight for you – the Worker’s Party, the Singapore Democratic Party and activists etc. Depending on how the new law is used, many of them will be attacked. You might think that it does not affect you but when they are taken out, and you lose the people who fight for you, there will be no more people who will fight for you.
The CPF changes you saw over the last year, however slight, did not happen because the PAP suddenly became enlightened. The changes happened because some people spoke up on the CPF and some people sacrificed themselves in the process. The people in the Worker’s Party and the Singapore Democratic Party are sacrificing themselves in their own ways. We cannot expect them to sacrifice while we do not even dare to let one inch of our hair be sacrificed.
If we do not dare to take risks, do we deserve others to take risks for us?
Anyway, I wrote this to thank the Worker’s Party, and I am truly grateful to what they did yesterday. I am disappointed that the new law has been passed. But the Worker’s Party fought a good fight. If anything, you deserve our greatest respect, at least you have mine and many others. Thank you for fighting for Singapore and Singaporeans.
Thank you so much, Mr Low Thia Kiang, Ms Sylvia Lim, Mr Chen Show Mao, Mr Muhamad Faisal, Mr Pritam Singh, Mr Png Eng Huat, Mr Daniel Goh, Mr Dennis Tan, Mr Leon Perera, Ms Lee Li Lian, Mr Gerald Giam and Mr Yee Jenn Jong.
Thank you, the Worker’s Party, for fighting so hard to protect Singapore and Singaporeans.