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Vote for the future

Constance Singam /

I was worried and I couldn’t sleep last night. I worried that we would miss this opportunity to support and help build the capacity of alternative political parties. So I sat up to write this piece.

What is of an enormous concern for me and to others, I am sure – beyond the immediate – is that we the citizens and the state of Singapore have failed our nation and future generations in not building the capacity of other political parties and alternative voices, capable of running the country. There are many intelligent, capable, passionate and well-qualified people in Singapore beyond those in the PAP.  But political activism has been so demonised that people keep away from politics.

I hold the PAP responsible for this state of affairs – for demonising citizens who challenge them and their values, and for the environment of fear they have created over the last 40 years.

Can MM Lee, SM Goh, PM Lee guarantee that the PAP can continue to provide clean and capable government in say 10, 20 or 30 years?  History has shown us that when a political party hold on to power for too many years the party becomes elitist, arrogant, smug and patronising – all characteristics which can lead to their downfall. The elitism that the PAP has fostered is damaging to the long-term well-being of Singapore, especially since this elitism was fostered by actively suppressing alternative voices.

A dangerous situation for a country to find itself in is not to have other political parties able to form an alternative government.  Mr. George Yeo, many years ago said that nothing can grow under the shade of a Banyan tree. He said, “The banyan tree has a huge canopy and long hanging air roots. Beneath it, nothing much can grow because there is little sunlight”.

We need to trim the Banyan tree. When we vote in opposition parties we are giving these parties opportunities to grow and develop their capacity to form a government with well-qualified people who care for the country.

Yes, MM Lee is right when he said that the Workers’ Party’s ambition is to form a government. That is how it should be. Otherwise their political participation would be seen as frivolous.

The PAP is fighting a hard fight in this General Election. The opposition parties have fielded many good and strong candidates and are also working hard. The Electorate sees the need for alternative voices in Parliament to give voice to their concerns and values.  This election is an opportunity not to be missed for giving voice to our concerns.