By Sharon Ng
Opposition parties pledge to stand united on the “Vote for Change” platform to engage voters in the coming election on key issues faced by Singaporeans due the implementation of government policies by the People’s Action Party.
The Vote for Change platform was launched as a symbol of unity of opposition parties in a press conference held on Wednesday evening which was attended by representatives from the People’s Power Party (PPP), SingFirst Party (SFP), Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and the Reform Party (RP).
However, several other opposition parties did not turn up. The Workers’ Party (WP), National Solidarity Party (NSP) and Singapore People’s Party (SPP) did not respond to the invitation to join the platform while the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) was absent due to a press conference held around the same time but have sent their best wishes.
“This is a show of strength and unity, after we observed the voters want a united front for all opposition parties,” said Goh Meng Seng, Secretary-General of the PPP
He went on to say, “When we walk the ground, people are angry. Not just because of jobs, but cultural differences between the locals and foreigners. They are actually imposing their cultural behavior on us. Things like – they don’t like curry. Curry is Singapore’s national dish. When they complain, we have to make a point. We are the host. We are not a third-class citizen in Singapore. The problems are not caused by us,”
The platform would serve as an uniform platform for the opposition parties to come together and talk about hot button issues faced by residents and to implement improvement to help solve the issues.
Suppposedly, when a resident tells SingFirst what are the issues in Tanjong Pagar GRC, this information will be shared with fellow opposition parties so that a policy response can be crafted.
This will allow opposition parties to base their campaigns on a battlefield of policies.
Making a comment in regards to Steve Chia’s withdrawal from contesting in MacPherson, Goh says that the personal attacks on Steve Chia are unreasonable and unacceptable.
Tan Jee Say, Secretary-General of SFP joins in the condemnation of such actions, and says that despite the turmoil within NSP, opposition parties remain united and the morale is high.
To date, none of the opposition parties have taken advantage of the situation, and the agreement is honoured by the parties to let NSP contest in MacPherson. However, Reform Party had earlier issued a press statement to declare the party’s interest in Pioneer SMC after Steve Chia announced that he would not be contesting in the upcoming election but said that the party will not enter a three-cornered fight.
Not to be confused with Obama’s “Vote for Change” campaign, the Singapore’s version is a united platform for oppositions to present policy changes to resolve key issues faced by Singaporeans in the areas of immigration, CPF withdrawal age, HDB prices, education and transport.
Regarding the recent candidate advisory issued by the Elections Department that no sharing of rallies nor rally sites is allowed amongst different contesting political parties or independent candidates, Goh Meng Seng says that this is a new condition imposed in election meeting permits. He will challenge the legality of this condition, as it robs the rights of politicians to speak freely in rallies held by other parties.
The opposition parties will sell the badges during rallies and their walkabouts. This will help towards fund-raising, and improving awareness of the need to vote for opposition into the parliament.
The Vote for Change FB page can be found at here.