Tag Archive | GRC

Opposition goes for lousy odds

we doing right?

taking on George Yeo

Call it their death wish? Or the way irrational eternal optimists do things?

I’m shocked but not surprised entirely that Mr Low Thia Khiang has upped from Hougang and gone to head a “dream team” to compete in Aljunied Group Representation Constituency.

Yet going by the look on Workers Party chairman Sylvia Lim’s face at the apres Nomination Day press conf, I don’t think she’s entirely pleased by this strategic move.

While I’ve never been enamoured of George Yeo, the incumbent lead at Aljunied GRC, it’s hard to imagine that Mr Low and Ms Lim, together with corporate legal big wig Chen Show Mao (who incidentally looks and speaks uncannily like corporate big wig Ho Kwon Ping) and two others, could actually unseat Mr Yeo and his team.

Ditto for Mr Chiam See Tong and his team tilting to represent Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC. Ditto ditto for his wife, Lina Chiam, to whom he’s “bequeathed” his long held ward of Potong Pasir.

Of course Mr Chiam is much respected by many Sgaporeans and Mrs Chiam is much-loved by the people of Potong Pasir.

But would the people of Bishan-Toa Payoh want to swap two ministers — unpopular tho both might be among some Sgaporeans — for a leader who is visibly unwell and newcomers like Benjamin Pwee, though he might be a government scholar and articulate?

People may out of sympathy want to wish Mr Chiam and his team well but vote for them? That may be another story.

And it’s the same story from West Coast to Marine Parade. Some may prefer Nicole Seah to Tin Pei Ling but would you swap Chokie for what else besides Nicole on the other side?

Like Mr Low said, possibly prophetically, at today’s WP press conf: “This is a watershed election. We may end up with no elected opposition MP!”

He probably meant that for the WP but it could well apply across the board.

I hope I am wrong. I want to be wrong. But unless voting Sgaporeans are willing to make a leap of faith into the unknown, the outcome will be — alas — completely predictable!


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. 🙄