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3- cornered fight is a scorched earth policy that will backfire

Ng E-Jay

In his hotly debated article “Low Thia Khiang’s job is to lead the Workers’ Party” (20 Mar), Alex Au argues that the Worker’s Party (WP) is justified in challenging the National Solidarity Party (NSP) to a 3 cornered fight at Moulmein-Kallang GRC.

Alex’s opinion is that if WP’s long term goal is to become the leading opposition party in Parliament, then it must take steps to ensure that its own members have the best chances of entering Parliament, even if it means taking steps to dilute the chances of another opposition party.

Alex also argues that in the “realistically pessimistic” scenario that no opposition party manages to score an outright victory in a GRC, WP would need to be “ruthless” in ensuring that that its candidates are the “best losers” in the contested constituencies, so that they would be the ones filling up the NCMP positions. Being ruthless can include sending in “spoiler candidates” to engage in 3-cornered fights with another opposition party, and in so doing, dilute the other party’s share of votes and prevent its candidates from becoming NCMPs.

It would then be up to the voters to decide which party to reward and which to punish.

Alex’s scotched earth policy on engaging in 3-cornered fights as a strategy of deciding which opposition party will eventually gain Parliamentary dominance would work if we were operating in a true democracy where elections are free and fair, where we have an independent press, and where diverse voices are allowed to articulate their views freely without any fear of persecution. This is not the case in Singapore. A recent blog post by film-maker Martyn See, “1994 – 2011: A Chronology of Authoritarian Rule in Singapore” (21 Mar), makes this clear.

Read the full article on TOC’s GE website.