This election year, Singapore is seeing a surge of credible and capable alternative candidates. They are caring and authentic. Many have impressive qualities and qualifications. But what matters even more is their preparedness to speak out fearlessly for the needs of their fellow Singaporeans.
Standing for the opposition needs character and courage in a way that standing on a PAP ticket does not. It demonstrates a willingness to sacrifice for our country. Alternative candidates have often been victims of unfair treatment, character assassination, and dissuasion from frightened family and friends. These candidates step forward to seek justice and equality for all. They have chosen to speak out because they are concerned for the future of our country.
Contrast this to the monochrome of PAP candidates. For many, entering the political arena appears like a career step. They are supported by a huge machinery, have the benefits of makeovers and the prospect of a parachute into Parliament on the coat-tails of a Minister.
Do we really want Parliament to be a mere stepping stone from a senior position in the SAF or civil service or some government-related body to higher office? Have paper qualifications and years of “grooming” created better or stronger leaders? Has the PAP system enhanced the performance of our 4G leaders? Do we want to perpetuate the PAP’s “natural aristocracy”?
PAP MPs can generally expect smooth careers, some into Cabinet and other very highly paid political positions, others with directorships and various other positions. Given party expectations and obligations, and the party whip, they rarely speak up in Parliament to question issues of importance and they predictably vote as the party directs. For them, entering politics looks like a calculated career move rather than a sacrifice or service.
Not for them the path of Dr Tan Cheng Bock, who has always been his own man, and that rare MP who exercised independence of mind. Unlike him, even moderate PAP MPs can become part of the group-think.
Opposition MPs will question unpopular policies. They will fight any attempt by the PAP to raise GST. They can question outrageous ministerial salaries and conflicts of interest at Temasek and elsewhere. They will continue to question oppressive laws that silence rights to free speech and public assembly. Speaking their minds and tenacious questioning is how they will protect us from abuse of power and help create transparency and accountability. “Ownself check ownself” does not work.
The Workers Party MPs ferreted out how $22 billion of stimulus spending for the Covid-19 pandemic is actually loan capital. They challenged the Constitution amendments on how we elect our President. The list of issues they have spoken up on is extensive: the government’s population white paper, corruption in GLCs, HDB leases, MRT breakdowns, our CPF, spending on foreign students, the Administration of Justice Act, the Prevention of Harassment Act and POFMA.
For accountability, we need our elected representatives in Parliament to be willing to speak up and uncover the truth behind the PAP’s claims. We need them to be our voices and our vote in Parliament.
Have your voices actually heard in Parliament.
Vote for the opposition.