People’s Voice Party (PVP) chief Lim Tean, alongside PVP’s “Shadow Cabinet” members Leong Sze Hian and Nassir Ismail, paid what he has dubbed a “courtesy visit” to Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) Maria Chin Abdullah yesterday afternoon (26 Aug) in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.
Ms Chin, who is well-known for her significant role in the Bersih protests that called for free and fair elections in Malaysia, took the Singaporean politicians on a tour around the Parliament complex “even though Parliament is not presently in session”, and had engaged in “useful and productive” discussions with them, according to Mr Lim in a Facebook post on Mon.
Noting that Ms Chin was arrested and detained by police in Nov 2016 during the Najib Razak administration for organising the last Bersih protest in Aug the year prior, Mr Lim said that she went on to be a member of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). PKR is a constituent party under the current ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition and is led by Anwar Ibrahim.
“She is the MP for the largest constituency in the whole of Malaysia. Petaling Jaya has 140,000 voters, the size of a GRC in Singapore!” said Mr Lim.
The veteran opposition politicians were accompanied by Tan Wah Piow, a Singaporean former lawyer who is currently a civil rights activist and a political exile.
The meeting with Ms Chin took place a day after the politicians and Mr Tan held a panel discussion titled Will the Singapore Opposition make a breakthrough in the coming GE? at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on Sun (25 Aug), during which they addressed issues such as socioeconomic inequality – namely the shrinking middle class and the worsening plight of low-income groups in Singapore, as well as problems faced by the Malay community in Singapore.
Mr Lim said that while it is not feasible to strive for one single opposition coalition unlike what the parties in Malaysia’s Pakatan Harapan have done, he argued that “coalition politics could be made workable, based on the experiences of countries” such as Israel and Germany.
Mr Tan, in a Facebook post on Sun, said that the discussion is “a breath of fresh air”, adding that it is heartening “to hear Singapore opposition politicians speaking with confidence”.
“[T]hey are able to offer the electorate more than just a critical voice in Parliament. Their confidence is boosted each time the PAP politicians shoot themselves in the foot, and when a certain politician’s spouse opened her mouth,” said Mr Tan.
“It’s time to return Singapore to Singaporeans,” he added.