5 fatal mistakes Opposition parties must avoid …

if they want to have bona fide wards in the next Parliament and not just be given the consolation prizes of NCMP seats.

Opposition parties must not

  • Fall into the PAP trap of contesting all the 15 Group Representation Constituencies and 12 Single Member Constituencies. Sure, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said he welcomed such a scenario but there’s no need to do his bidding, surely? To do so would be tantamount to sitting at roulette trying to ensure a win by putting chips on all the numbers. The punter (for which read Opposition) will win — on one number but lose on all the other 36, giving rise to the scenario put so congently by Yawning Bread here.
  • Have three or heavens forbid even four corner fights because there will be only one sure winner in this: the PAP.
  • Let Mr Chiam See Tong contest in a GRC. While most of us admire Mr Chiam for all the right and wrong reasons, admiration for the elderly politician may not be enough to garner him sufficient practical support and faith based on which residents hand over the running of their homes and lives for the next five years to him, especially when he doesn’t appear to be in the best of health and hasn’t similar machinery like that of the PAP should anything adverse happen. Better to convince him to stay put in Potong Pasir where he and his devoted wife Lina are well-known to residents and well loved. Best for the Chiam See Tong legacy to come out of his last election (assuming he will retire from politics at the election after next?)  a winner, than a loser.
  • Let Mr Low Thia Kiang contest a GRC either. He is younger than Mr Chiam; he appears healthier too. But it is in Hougang that he can depend on the embedded loyalty he’s built up over the elections with the residents. As the leader of the Workers Party, he may feel he should lead a GRC team, rather than be stuck in a SMC. However doing that is to buy into the bait that the PAP is dangling and could lead him ending up as an NCMP. Opposition big wigs tempted to leave the security of their roots should pause and ponder: why haven’t MM Lee Kuan Yew and SM Goh ever wanted to leave Tanjong Pagar and Marine Parade to try their luck elsewhere? Because, silly, that’s their home base! That’s a lesson Messrs Chiam and Low should take to heart.
  • Take what my internet pal Petunia Lee calls “the streams of internet invective sloshed all over public internet forums and in blogosphere” as the real thing straight from the heart of the Singaporean electorate that will translate into landslide voter support come polling day. Alas, alas, the overwhelming majority who are going to vote will either never have touched a computer or no longer have time or interest in the continuous stream of poison against the PAP, because the accusations and complaints have become so predictable and same-old same-old that their creators could possibly regain their passe appeal only if they sang a different tune — which they can’t!

So, dear Opp members and leaders, don’t say Auntie L didn’t warn you! Like all Singaporeans, I want some Opposition voice in Parliament: because that chamber’s made for dialogue, not soliloquy. 🙄

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8 thoughts on “5 fatal mistakes Opposition parties must avoid …

  1. The only point I agree with you is item (2) which is never have a 3 or more corner fights 🙂 Clearly, the ability to hold contest in all GRC cannot be that bad for the opposition provided they have the bandwidth. In the last GE, WP sent a team to AMK GRC and did not loose their deposits despite very little efforts. This is a gambit which works well with little effort, yet PM Lee had to do the basic SOP since the GRC is contested, thereby holding down some resources which could otherwise been deployed out to the other GRC/SMCs

    I am openly not an “opposition” supporter but surely with ex-scholars and 1st class dual honors calibre on the opposition side, they are a better credible challenge this time round than before. Mr. Chiam See Tong is aiming for his last term and it is not a sure loose for his team if he is part of a GRC attempt. The fear is not that he don’t try but the fear is that he wins a GRC and Singapore loose a good Minister. Similarly, Mr Loh may try for a GRC too. In life, there is no gain if there is no risk.

    I feel this coming GE will be an exciting one. Exciting because, there are unknowns and we do not know the undercurrents. Let’s not underestimate the importance of the Internet in influencing the “swing voters” who are in the Y and Z generation. You might be surprised that uncles do know how to go Internet for stuff nowadays. Still the internet is not to swing the “majority” over. There are different channels of communication suited for different generation group. For one, internet provides an alternate perspective for voters who do not have time to go watch an opposition rally. Unlike the past, influence is not there unless we are physically there. In current context, internet savvy voters can always view the telecast off youtube at their own leisure.

    It’s anyone guess who will win. I will not be too far off if I predict that PAP will return to power at the end of the GE. I can always try to be “smarter” by suggesting at least a GRC will fall to the opposition. And if it comes true, I will be like you in guessing more MPs are needed in parliament 🙂 I only hope that the competition is gentlemanly and any voter will side the underdog when they feel that there is unfairness in the way the GE is conducted or reported. No incumbent party anywhere in the world will hand over office to the opposition. The key is to have a balance. An overzealous press or party member might unconciously tip the balance to the favour of the underdog. Let’s win, like in snooker, because we are skilled and not because the opponent makes mistakes.

  2. I beg to differ on your view that MM Lee Kuan Yew and SM Goh have strong support in Tanjong Pagar and Marine Parade judging from the feedback I received from friends and relatives staying in these 2 areas.
    For example in Henderson Road under Tanjong Pagar GRC, HDB only agreed to make compensation to the yet to be demolished block shop house owners 30 year leases when these shop houses have 60 years lease of self life left. To add salt to their injury, the new shop houses are so much smaller in size per square feet as compared to the current one and the lease is only 30 years!!

    IMHO, these 2 GRCs are liked M&M chocolate; appear to be strong on the outside but very weak within. Not to forget that SM and MM will redeploy their best assets to defence their home turfs hencing weaken PAP defence in other hotly contested GRC sites. PAP can afford to lose other GRCs if worst come to worst but definitely not these 2 GRCs to opposition parties due to face issue.

  3. Hi Uncle Keng: Wah yr comments are usually longer than my posts. Am sure u respond to other blogs too, so hope you got yr own online repository somewhere for interested parties to ref?

    Let me start with your last sentence first: think yours n others’ encouragement to Uncles Chiam and Low to move out of their home ground to try a GRC could in fact lead to them making fatal mistakes. By all means, get their lieutenants to go for a GRC or two: Ms Sylvia Lim could be one such team leader. If she loses, no skin off Uncle L’s nose; if she wins, it doesn’t mean she will take over from him as WP leader. Where in any book that says a national leader must lead a GRC? A national leader cld be MP of SMC; to think otherwise is to continue to follow the PAP logic, lah, when Opp shld truly and really think out of the box.

    “An overzealous press or party member might unconciously tip the balance to the favour of the underdog” — Uncle I am neither. As I said, I want an Opp voice in Parliament just like the majority of my fellow citizens but since I live in the Tg Pagar, I clearly hope the Opp will sprout elsewhere. Replicate this “not in my own backyard syndrome” and guess where the Opp will end up: as NCMPs lor, which will be a pity! But which may be the reality in this uncertain world. We can’t avoid an accident but we can make the effort to decide who looks after our small backyard.

    Opp leaders may be credible individually but as a team to run my GRC? Well, you try it first, OK? 😆

  4. Good Akbony! By your line of reasoning, the Opp should all be rushing to the other GRCs even as TgP and MP are being defended tooth and nail? But who will be the brave kamakazi Opp teams to distract the PAP in those two strongholds? Perhaps those dreaming of a reprise of Anson?

    My view is Opp should act rationally and calculatively. Not be swayed by wild hopes of an electoral revolution just becaause the loudest voices on the Internet n Social Media say that’s the way to go.

    Opp shld use all the chips they have wisely and meaningfully. After all, they can roll the dice only once in five years. Make sure that the wins are worth their effort!

  5. IMHO, the Opps parties should unit and form a team of people with clean records and of average calibre to contest these 2 GRCs. Never fight fire with more fire. Just pour some water to tone down the fire will do the magic.

    The Opps parties strategy is to lay a strong seige on these 2 GRCs and if possible also include the AMK GRC to tied up the PAP’s resources to shore up the defences but not to attack them.

    Remember our SM, MM and PM cannot afford to lose or win these GRCs with a low margin. This will be a great insult to their huge ego.

  6. Akbony, this a free country and u r free to suggest strategies to the Opp.

    MM, SM n PM won’t lose their GRCs! So what if the % vote goes down? After all, this is a 1st passed the post Parliament.

    Think wot we should fret more is if no Opp wins a contested seat, even if MM, SM n PM’s GRC vote count goes down to 51%. That is one possible scenario if the so-called frens of the Opp keep encouraging their leaders to do a David vs Goliath act!

  7. There will be a strong pressure or calls for MM and/or SM to step down in the event they received less than 55% vote from these 2 GRCs. Why on earth one need a MM or SM to handfold the PM if the latter is as capable or smart as what MM claimed to be? Not to forget that MM or SM are very expensive to maintain.

    As for PM, he may have to step down within the PAP to make way for more capable leader within to take over the helm of the party. A situation that MM and PM cannot afford to have.

    IMHO, one has to get into the mindset of the PAP before one can beat them hand down in the upcomng GE. One of the objective for redrawing the election boundaries are to create infighting among the Opps parties and project a negative or disunity image of them to all Singaporeans.

    To counter that, I suggest all the Opposition parties put aside their great differences and form a Joint Team to break the impasses e.g. 2 from NSP and 2 from WP to contest a 4 members GRC.

    United Opps parties stand while Disunited Opps parties fall!! A 3 or 4 corner fight will definitely return PAP to power.

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