Saturday, 23 September 2023

We are shifting our daily news to Gutzy.Asia Support us there!

The PAP and the WP: An Ongoing Journey of Political Power

By Ghui

The momentum in Singapore’s political scene has been hotting up for some time now. From the WP’s quantum leap into Parliament to the presidential elections to the by-elections, it is perhaps fair to say that the political landscape has irrevocably changed. The Internet has certainly contributed to this seismic shift but more than that, the mindset of Singaporeans have also changed. More and more, Singaporeans have realised that it is okay to speak up and politicians on both sides of the electoral divide have also thrown down the gauntlet.

Immediately post GE 2011, the PAP had appeared shocked and ill equipped to deal with the new challenges raised by the newly politicised Singapore. The bureaucratic machine seemed unwieldy and unable to effectively deal with questions and criticisms. Ministers and MPs alike, not having had prior experience, reacted unsatisfactorily, veering between childish or naïve and displayed a lack of grasp for the issues that were frustrating the very people they were governing.

After a few hiccups however, they seem to be slowly back on track. The latest test comes in the form of certain cleaning contracts in relation to various hawker centres (link). While the point of contention is, to put bluntly, rather tedious, the PAP seems more prepared to address these concerns than they have done likewise before. Instead of heaping cringe-worthy low blows as they have done so often in the past, Balakrishnan seems to display a new savvy. He was to the point and appeared to have done his research – notwithstanding that some might dispute the content of his research. This approach signifies a departure from the old and tired top heavy imperious approach that has become a hallmark of the PAP’s style over the years. Balakrishnan was trying to persuade his fellow MPs through analysis and evidence as opposed to employing the “because I say so” approach. While I would withhold judgement until I see further examples of a genuine change, this new methodology is refreshing (link).

WP deserves some slack too. For as long as most young to middle aged people remember, the WP has always been the underdog that we quietly championed. Even if we weren’t WP supporters, we wanted them to take on the PAP if only to give them a run for their money and force more accountability. Now that they have entered Parliament with much fanfare, the drudgery of running the state has begun. Being new to power, it is of course expected that there would be some teething problems. The PAP needed to adjust to sharing power and the WP needed to make its presence known and felt within the hallowed walls of power. That equilibrium needed to be reached and while getting there, both parties have made their share of boo boos – i.e. Michael Palmer and Yaw Shing Leong.

Overall, I would still say that the WP has discharged its duties far better. Being smaller, having less funds and general administration support, they still rose to each obstacle with great courage. In particular, Sylvia Lim who has by all accounts remained indefatigable and unruffled. In our local David versus Goliath struggle, David has triumphed. But, in our example, Goliath isn’t dead and Goliath seems to be learning.

David on his part will also need to chalk up more experiences under his belt. As he prepares himself for the marathon journey ahead, he will need far more than a small smooth stone to take on Goliath’s might.

The WP will learn over time and I sincerely hope they go from strength to strength and become a source of inspiration to other political parties. As for the PAP, I think they are finally accepting that their modus operandi from the past is no longer working. They need to put that acceptance into practice and seek consensus through vigorous debate as opposed to censure. They need to understand that Singaporeans are increasingly more critical, and simple dismissals of valid concerns will no longer work. To that end, eradicating the new MDA reforms for online media would be more constructive in encouraging such open conversations. 

For Singaporeans, the lessons that both parties learnt is surely a boon. By becoming more vocal, we are finally seeing some results. The PAP needs to work harder and seem to be starting to finally accept that the longevity of their political might is not an entitlement. The WP is now given the well earned chance to learn and experience governmental power. As our political parties shape up and hone their skills, Singaporeans will get a far better quality of choice come GE 2016. This is a good result for Singaporeans but we must never take it for granted. A functioning democracy is a journey and in that voyage, we must always evaluate and analyse.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Latest posts

Election surprises and certainties: Dissecting Tharman’s presidential win

In the 2023 Presidential Election, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam secured a stunning 70.4% landslide victory, surprising many, including himself. Despite expectations that TKL would win the opposition votes, voters from both camps showed a preference for Tharman's charisma and perceived competency. As Singapore reflects on the outcome, questions arise about the election's fairness and the real implications of Tharman's dominant win.

Volunteer as a Polling and Counting Agent for Singapore’s 2023 Presidential Election

For the upcoming Singapore Presidential Election on 1st September, members of the civil society have spearheaded an initiative to strengthen our democratic fabric. We invite committed individuals to join us as Polling and Counting Agents, standing together for a transparent, fair, and just election. This vote counting exercise, organized by members of civil society, is not specifically in support of Mr Tan Kin Lian, a candidate in the upcoming Presidential Election. It's an exercise in active citizenry. Nonetheless, Mr Tan endorses this initiative, which hinges on his candidacy, championing transparency, and has given permission for the results to be shared publicly.

Reflections from the Centenary: The Legacy of LKY and Singapore’s Future

Gilbert Goh reflects on the LKY centenary event: an inspiring showcase of a leader's global legacy juxtaposed against current challenges, urging Singapore to continue its path of progress.

Lim Tean advocates for Tan Kin Lian: A visionary leader for Singapore’s Presidency

In his speech at Mr Tan Kin Lian's launch of his presidential bid, Mr Lim Tean passionately championed the need for a truly Independent President. Highlighting Mr Tan Kin Lian's unique credentials and genuine concern for the wellbeing of Singaporeans, the Peoples Voice leader emphasized the pressing challenges of rising living costs and job insecurities faced by the public. Mr Lim depicted Mr Tan Kin Lian as a beacon of hope for the nation, advocating for a leader who genuinely understands and represents the people’s aspirations.

Tan Jee Say endorses Tan Kin Lian for President: A courageous, genuine, and humble...

In advocating for a truly representative leader, Tan Jee Say underscored Tan Kin Lian's humility, courage, and genuine dedication. Highlighting the pressing need for restored public trust and effective independence, Tan Jee Say emphasized that Tan Kin Lian, as the 'People's President', would bring back hope to Singaporeans and champion true democracy

Tan Kin Lian’s pledge: Rekindling unity and charting a vigorous future for Singapore

In the press conference to announce his bid for the Singapore presidency, Tan Kin Lian emphasizes safeguarding Singapore's reserves and strengthening public service integrity. Drawing on his 30-year leadership at NTUC Income, he envisions a future with affordable living, accessible housing, and job stability, pledging collaboration with the government for a united nation.

Strengthening Singapore’s political foundations: A call to action by Leong Mun Wai on Singapore’s...

Leong Mun Wai urges Singaporeans to strengthen political checks and balances, emphasizing, 'The best is yet to be for Singapore if we dare to make the right decision in upcoming elections.

Trending posts