On Wednesday (8 May), at around 10.20pm, the controversial Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill (POFMA) was passed in Parliament after a heated debate that took place over the span of two days.
A total of 72 Members of Parliament (MPs) voted for the Bill, while all nine Workers’ Party (WP) MPs and Non-Constituency MPs (NCMPs) voted against it. However, three Nominated MPs (NMPs) – Anthea Ong, Walter Theseira and Irene Quay – abstained from voting on the Bill after Parliament had rejected their proposed amendments.
Following the passing of the Bill, NCMP Daniel Goh of WP took to Facebook on Wednesday evening to write about WP’s voting against POFMA, highlighting that they all spoke up regarding the Bill.
Upon reading his post, many netizens praised him and WP for their effort to speak up and stand against POFMA. They thanked him and his party for giving Singaporeans a voice in the Parliament.
Other online users urged the party to have more candidates contesting in different areas for the upcoming election. By doing so, they will then be able to have a bigger number in Parliament so their voices will be heard. James Tan Tiang Peng hopes that with more representatives from the opposition party in the Parliament, it will eradicate “absolute power which can be susceptible to the ‘play God’ syndrome”.
Following the push from online users to get more representatives to contest in different areas, WP’s Chief MP Pritam Singh took to his Facebook yesterday (9 May) to announce that his party will bring in news candidates for the next election. However, he did acknowledge that it is going to be a tough journey, but if the team is willing to put in the work and be focus in growing Singapore to be a better nation, then it will indeed bring in success.
We will field new candidates in the upcoming General Elections. Each candidate will have to carry themselves and their team. We will reap what we sow. There are no shortcuts and easy seats. In fact, given the unique political system and structures in Singapore, it goes without saying that it is going to be an uphill journey. But if the team is prepared to knock each door, sweat for one another and retain a laser-like focus of building a better Singapore, the comparative advantage of a cohesive team will be an important ingredient of success.
Regardless of the results, Mr Singh did say that the nine Opposition members in the Parliament are “a family” and “a team of equals”, and he is extremely proud to be a part of it.